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Dr. A. Wade Boykin

Dr. Marilyn M. Irving
August 2005

Dr. Marilyn M. Irving, recipient of the Faculty Senate’s “Inspirational Interdisciplinary Project Award,” is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education. For years she has assisted science teachers in upgrading both their content knowledge and pedagogical skills. Well regarded for her achievements in both the classroom and the professional arena, she has earned words of praise from her students: “Her background education in science and science instruction gives her a uniqueness unmatched by other professors in the department,” says one student. Meanwhile, another student recalls, “Her teaching style as a professor and her commitment toward the professional development of future teachers are just a few of her many assets that exhibit her commitment to the education system.”

Such praise, however, does not come without a struggle. Says Dr. Irving, “the greatest challenge is to get young people interested in science.” One often-used incentive to reel in new students is a scholarship. Therefore, Dr. Irving has devoted time and energy to securing funds for would-be science teachers so that they, in turn, can steer more students into science. For instance, with the aid of a $352,938 grant from The National Science Foundation, she and Dr. Leon Dickson, Jr. will ensure that 30 graduate students receive a $10,000 stipend toward pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching. The project, entitled “Science and Mathematics for All,” aims to increase the number of underrepresented minorities teaching mathematics and science in a Prince George’s County public school district.

Dr. A. Wade BoykinAnother one of Dr. Irving’s projects is “Increasing Underrepresented Minorities in Mathematics: An Informing, Encouraging and Reinforcing Three Tier (IER) Program” funded by General Electric. She also directs Advanced Placement programs designed to assist teachers who are teaching advanced placement biology, chemistry, and physics courses. The goal is to improve their teaching methods so that they can encourage more minority students to enroll in these courses and help those students perform well on advanced placement science tests.

With all of these commitments, Dr. Irving still devotes time to teaching. She teaches courses such as Integrated Methods II: Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Theories, and Principles of Curriculum Development, and Educational Psychology. An Educational Psychology student recalls, “The class served as a gateway to understanding the relationship between the teacher and the student.” For Dr. Irving, often that relationship persists long after the class has ended. The most rewarding aspect of teaching, she remarks, “is to hear from students pursuing successful careers in science.”


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