Three University of Houston-Victoria professors received $410,000 through two grants designed to improve science instruction at area middle schools.
UHV received a $210,000 grant for the Teacher Quality Grant, a federally funded effort to provide competitive grants to higher education institutions.
The project is co-directed by Nora Hutto, UHV School of Education and Human Development professor and Sandy Vennenman, UHV School of Arts & Sciences associate professor of psychology and biology.
The state awarded a $200,000 grant to fund a project directed by Roy Foley, a professor in the School of Education and Human Development.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved funding for the two-year grants, which started in May.
The grants promote improved instruction in math and science at Texas schools by providing professional development for teachers.
Hutto and Venneman's grant allows 18 middle school science teachers from Wharton school district and other rural districts to take graduate-level science education classes this summer and next summer.
Teachers will learn about environmental earth science in applied areas of biology, chemistry and physics, and work to improve their teaching methods, Hutto said.
The grant covers teachers' tuition costs for UHV summer courses, instructional materials, stipends and classroom technology, such as laptop computers and video cameras for the teachers to keep.
Foley's project will benefit 22 middle school science teachers in surrounding school districts including Victoria public and private schools. Richard Gunasekera, UHV associate professor of biology, and Jane Fry, UHV associate professor of reading, will work with Foley on the grant project.
Participants will learn about physics and ways to better teach their students. The grant will pay for participants to attend the three-day conference for the Advancement of Science Teachers sponsored by Science Teachers Association of Texas.