MUNCIE, Ind. - A group of Ball State University faculty have garnered national recognition for a program that gives aspiring teachers training in urban schools.

A faculty team overseeing the university's Urban Semester Program is the 2002 recipient of the Award for Excellence in Integrating Science and Mathematics from the School Science and Mathematics Association (SSMA).

Faculty members include Annette Leitze, mathematical sciences; Melissa A. Mitchell, biology and science education; Nancy Armstrong Melser, elementary education; and Carol A. Godsoe, history.

The presentation will be made at the organization's annual meeting Oct. 3-5 in Rochester, N.Y.

The program places Ball State education majors in the T.C. Steele Elementary School in Indianapolis. Students receive hands-on teaching experience for a semester during their junior year.

Students are paired with a teacher and spend from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday assisting with various classroom tasks. The students also are given teaching assignments, which include developing learning activities integrating science, mathematics and social studies.

The program, which began in 1997, is a collaborative effort by Ball State's Teachers College and the College of Sciences and Humanities.

Roy Weaver, Teachers College dean, said the collaboration is having a strong effect on education.

"The quality of this program, its impact on children's perception of integration and use of content presented in this fashion, the shared expertise that comes from collaborative planning and delivery are reasons that I believe one could find no better program for recognition," he said.

The School Science and Mathematics Association, founded in 1901, is dedicated to improving instruction at all levels in and between science and mathematics by providing leadership in the field. The organization's primary work and publications address the needs of individuals involved in the science and mathematics teaching and learning processes.

By Marc Ransford, Media Relations Manager