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Alcorn chosen to participate in national initiative Preparing Critical Faculty for the Future

Alcorn State, Miss. (October 6, 2012) – Alcorn State University has been chosen through a national competition sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities to participate in Preparing Critical Faculty for the Future (PCFF).

Drs. Sandra Barnes and Yolanda Jones, both associate professors of chemistry at Alcorn, will participate in the project that supports women of color faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in becoming strong academic and administrative leaders, both on campus and within their respective disciplines.

“This is an exciting opportunity to learn cutting edge new strategies and technologies for transforming STEM education at Alcorn State University. Throughout our history, students who graduated from STEM disciplines have been very successful - attending graduate and professional schools and excelling in their chosen careers,” stated Dr. Jones. Dr. Barnes agreed with her and added, “In today's environment, it is critical to significantly enhance our STEM programs to be able to more effectively prepare STEM professionals to be competitive in the global marketplace.”

Throughout this training process, Drs. Jones and Barnes anticipate to learn strategies to more effectively engage students and integrate technology in the STEM classroom; approaches to incorporate more modern experiential and service learning in STEM; insight on ways to transform programs and curricula; creative funding approaches for updating and maintaining critical infrastructure for modern classroom and laboratory instruction, and ways to implement programs to stimulate student innovation.

Dr. Barnes joined Alcorn 12 years ago and is now serving as a tenured associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Physics. She received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Alcorn in 1993. Dr. Barnes earned her Ph.D. in bioanalytical chemistry from Kansas University. She teaches analytical chemistry, biochemistry, biochemistry lab, and general science courses.

Dr. Jones received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Alcorn in 1998 and her doctorate degree in physical chemistry from Marquette University. She joined Alcorn seven years ago and is serving as tenured associate professors of chemistry. Dr. Jones teaches physical chemistry and physical chemistry lab, chemistry seminar, and general science courses.

Drs. Barnes and Jones co-advise the Undergraduate Research Group in the Department of Chemistry and Physics. They are the principal investigators of funded research projects from the Department of Homeland Security/Southeastern Regional Research Initiative, United States Department of Agriculture, and the USM led MS-INBRE from the National Institutes of Health. Currently, their major research focus is on the development of detection devices for homeland security, food quality and safety, environmental monitoring, and clinical diagnostics applications.

Drs. Barnes and Jones will participate in all phases of the project along with colleagues from the other participating institutions and will be joined by a larger team of individuals from Alcorn who will attend AAC&U’s Institute on Integrative Learning and The Departments in July 2013.

The project is funded by the National Science Foundation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities-Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP). The institutions selected over the three cohorts represent many different types—including two-year and four-year, public and private HBCUs. For additional information about the project, see: http://www.aacu.org/pcff.

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Alcorn State University is a premier comprehensive land-grant university that develops diverse students into globally-competitive leaders, and applies scientific research through collaborative partnerships which benefit the surrounding communities, state, nation and world.