September 21, 2010

SUNY Empire State College Awarded Catalyst Initiative Social Innovation Program from HP to Foster Global Collaboration Among Educational Institutions

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Sept. 21, 2010) – SUNY Empire State College today announced it has received a grant to participate in HP’s Catalyst Initiative, a global social innovation program designed to develop more effective approaches to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education worldwide.

The college and its partner, St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University, located in St. Petersburg, Russia, will receive $150,000 in equipment and funding to research and demonstrate best practices in online education for STEM students, and for the development of instructional faculty.

“We are very grateful for this grant award,” said Empire State College President Alan R. Davis. “Thanks to the support of HP, the college and our partner will collaborate on improving faculty instruction and the resulting education our students receive in the critical STEM fields. Congratulations go to Vice Provost for Global and Online Learning Meg Benke and Professor Betty Lawrence for this notable achievement.”

This project, “Empowering STEM Faculty for Teaching the 21st Century Student,” also will provide the college and partner institution St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University faculty with professional development opportunities related to STEM teaching and learning.

The college proposed a faculty professional development model specifically geared for online and distance learning faculty in science, technology and mathematics. Upon award of this grant, the college and St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University will be seeking 40 STEM faculty (20 from each institution) to engage in this professional development opportunity.

“The HP Catalyst Initiative underscores our vision of a world where innovation and collaboration are enabled by investments in technology and education. The program is designed to help foster potential solutions to society’s most critical challenges by educating and nurturing leaders that will be critical in ensuring we develop new communities and find new ways of doing things,” said Gabi Zedlmayer, vice president, Office of Global Social Innovation, HP.

As part of the program, HP is donating $6 million to 35 educational institutions across five consortia that will use the award to explore innovations in STEM+ learning and teaching. This builds on the Obama Administration’s “Educate to Innovate” coalition designed to improve national outcomes in STEM subject matters.

“We are thrilled to not only be engaging in a faculty development activity this coming year with our partner, St Petersburg State Polytechnical University, but also to be joining the Multiversity Consortium led by John Bourne of Sloan-C,” said Empire State College Principal Investigator Betty Lawrence. “Our partners in the Multiversity consortia will challenge us to strive to further improve learning environments for our science and math students. This is a wonderful opportunity for science and math faculty around the college. I’d like to thank the members of the team that developed the proposal: Pauline Carrico, Mary Mawn and Kim Stote as well as Lorrie Anthony who is always there when we need her and Valeri Chukhlomin who identified our partner in Russia for us.”

Member organizations were selected through an open and competitive global call for proposals. Eligibility was based on two principal criteria: status as an accredited educational institution (that is, schools, colleges, universities, as well as nonprofit or nongovernmental educational organizations) and country of location. Eligible countries for 2010 included Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Global institutions that will be leading the five HP Catalyst Consortia include Carnegie Mellon University, the Sloan Consortium, FutureLab (UK), the CSIR Meraka Institute (South Africa) and the Agastya International Foundation (India). More information about the Consortia is available here.

About HP Catalyst Initiative

HP is building a global network of consortia that is attempting to develop more effective approaches to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The goal is to create international collaborative “sandboxes” of innovation that will explore what the future of STEM education can look like a future where students use their technical and creative ingenuity to address urgent social challenges in their communities and around the world. More information is available at

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York. Students learn through independent studies, online courses, seminars and residencies. They also may earn credit for prior college-level learning from work and life experience. The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide with 34 locations in New York state and online. For more information, visit


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