Furth gift brings many upgrades to FSOE

December 05, 2019

A generous gift from a Trine University alumnus has provided state-of-the-art facilities and innovative training for faculty within the university’s Franks School of Education.

Tomas Furth, a 1954 mechanical engineering graduate who has supported many projects at the university including the T. Furth Center for Performing Arts, made a $250,000 donation to support the teacher education programs at Trine. The gift has been used to transform two classrooms inside Shambaugh Hall, with plans to renovate a third.

It also provided funding for Alison Todd, assistant professor, to attend Responsive Classroom training and funding to purchase Project Lead the Way (PLTW) training materials for assistant professors Megan Tolin and Ashley Overton, Ph.D.

Last year, the Shambaugh 210 classroom was renovated to include six digital screens, screen-casting software, enhanced wireless capabilities, new lighting, a large interactive screen, new seating options, new carpet and a new wall color scheme.

This fall, Shambaugh 205 was redesigned from the ground up to meet the needs of secondary education majors. The centerpiece of the room is a customized table that works well with whole class and small group discussions. Students also can utilize smaller tables for breakout groups and wrap-around counter space that includes charging stations for devices.

Shambaugh 205 also has soft seating that provides students another option for learning. Custom-made shelving provides spaces for the university's secondary education materials and books, and the classroom has re-purposed traditional classroom materials such as globes into hanging lamps.

“We are so grateful to Dr. Furth for his continued support of our university,” said Anthony Kline, Ph.D., dean of the Franks School of Education. “He was impressed with the great work our teacher candidates are doing in our program, and through his support, our current and future education majors will experience the latest teaching strategies in state-of-the-art learning environments. It's a win for everyone involved.”

Todd received advanced training in Responsive Classroom, a research-based system for classroom management that addresses social and emotional instruction as well as academic skills. The training has not only enhanced her teaching with Trine students, but allowed her to give presentations on the program to area schools.

Overton and Tolin will receive training materials for PLTW Launch, a national STEM program. The Franks School of Education will be part of the nation’s first cohort to earn faculty training in PLTW Launch.

Once a university faculty member is trained, the university can deliver Launch Classroom Teacher Training to pre-service students at no additional cost to the students. Trine education graduates with the Launch credential will be among the first in the nation qualified right out of college to teach any PLTW Launch module for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

Photo: Alison Todd, assistant professor in the Franks School of Education, instructs future educators in the redesigned Shambaugh 210 classroom. (Photo by Dean Orewiler)

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