March 30, 2001

UC collaboration founds Edward Teller Education Center

The University of California, Davis, in collaboration with the UC Office of the President, UC Merced and the Laboratory, has established the Edward Teller Education Center adjacent to the UC Davis Department of Applied Science at LLNL.

The center, funded by UCOP and LLNL, will provide opportunities for professional development for K-12 teachers working with participating school districts within the greater Livermore Tri-Valley area and the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys. In addition to UC Davis, UC Merced and LLNL, community colleges, state universities, industry and local school districts will be supporting and participating in center activities.

"I’m delighted to work with our partners at the UC Office of the President, UC Merced, K-12 school districts and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in this novel educational concept," said Rick Freeman, Edward Teller Professor and chair of the Department of Applied Science at UC Davis.

The center is named after physicist and Director Emeritus Edward Teller, co-founder of the Laboratory and founding chair of the Department of Applied Science at UC Davis.

"We’re pleased to be able to participate in this partnership with UC Davis and UC Merced," said Jeffrey Wadsworth, the Lab’s deputy director for Science & Technology. "The center will provide a place for teachers to build on science and technology teaching strategies for grades K-12."

The center is expected to provide learning opportunities supporting professional development throughout a teacher’s career.

"The UC Office of the President is enormously pleased to provide funding for this important academic outreach initiative, " said UC Assistant Vice President Robert Polkinghorn. " I am optimistic that the center will serve as a model for other academic collaborations involving UC, community colleges and K-12."
For those K-12 teachers who can’t make the trek to Livermore, facilities at the Tri-College Center located at Merced Community College in the San Joaquin Valley will serve as a satellite campus.

"The center is a fantastic resource to help teachers from various disciplines develop their teaching skills and acquire content knowledge," said Richard Farnsworth, LLNL Science & Technology Education Program (STEP) manager for K-12 education and outreach and interim director of the center. "It will be able to address the needs of beginning teachers and help experienced teachers enhance their technical base and leadership skills."

The consortium will initially focus on science and technology instruction. Center officials will assess the member districts to determine the faculty needs in science and technology and provide developmental opportunities. The science and technology focus will combine the existing professional development outreach programs available from STEP and the teaching resources of UC Davis’ Department of Applied Science to leverage the scientific resources of the Laboratory.

The consortium will collaborate with the UC Davis School/University Partnerships, which works with the California subject matter projects to provide professional development opportunities to 24 Sacramento-area K-12 schools.

"One of the unique features of the center is its close proximity to the research facilities and staff of the Laboratory," said Don Correll, director of STEP. "The initial focus will be on science education that is aligned with the new California science content standards. The activities will help California in its goal to use the content standards as a commitment to helping teachers identify what students actually need to know."

Center officials said the new building, which will be approximately 3,400 square feet, will include a wet laboratory classroom and a computer technology and lecture classroom. Both classrooms are equipped with high-speed computer network connections and overhead projection systems to model the latest teaching tools and instruction methods. The facility is scheduled to open Sept. 1, though classes for K-12 teachers are expected to begin in the summer in the Department of Applied Sciences building.

Farnsworth said that the center may also offer advanced placement science classes for students who otherwise would not have access to them.