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Miami chemistry education researcher awarded $1.35 million grant


Ellen Yezierski, associate professor of chemistry at Miami University, has been awarded a five-year, $1.35 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to launch and study a new high school chemistry teacher professional development model at Miami. Yezierski and Ann MacKenzie, associate professor of teacher education and co-principal investigator, will implement Target Inquiry at Miami University (TIMU).

The project will support teachers working through an intensive professional development program while Yezierski’s research group will conduct an in-depth, longitudinal study of the effects of TIMU on its teachers and students.

The project, “Collaborative Research: Further Development and Testing of the Target Inquiry Model for Middle and High School Science Teacher Professional Development,” is part of a collaboration with Grand Valley State University principal investigator Deborah Herrington, associate professor of chemistry, who received a separate $1.1 million grant to direct and study Target Inquiry (TI) in middle and high school chemistry, biology, physics and geology teachers.

Yezierski, who joined Miami in 2010, was previously associate professor of chemistry at Grand Valley State. She and Herrington created and implemented the TI model in chemistry in 2006 with support from the NSF and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

“I’ve seen high school chemistry instruction change dramatically with the TI model we implemented and studied at GVSU,” Yezierski said. “I cannot wait to work with teachers, faculty and research students (graduate and undergraduate) who will be joining our project team. Seeing a teacher markedly improve his/her instruction and grow into a scholar is a rewarding experience because of what it promises for student learning.”

Yezierski taught high school chemistry for seven years before earning her doctorate in curriculum and instruction in 2003. She received a Pew Teaching Excellence Award in 2008.

The TIMU professional development program is currently recruiting high school chemistry teachers. The program, which will launch in January 2013, will provide teachers with 15 graduate credits in coursework in the department of chemistry and biochemistry, an annual stipend, travel to regional and national meetings to present work and a $500 school award for supplies. For more information contact Yezierski at


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