Greeley, CO, United States
Greeley, CO, United States

The University of Northern Colorado is a coeducational public institution of higher education in Greeley, Colorado, USA, with satellite centers in Loveland, Colorado Springs and the Lowry neighborhood of Denver. It is the fifth-largest university in the state by total enrollment, behind the University of Colorado - Boulder, Colorado State University, Metropolitan State University, and the University of Colorado - Denver.Established in 1889 as the State Normal School of Colorado, the university has a strong background in teacher education. The university offers over 100 undergraduate programs in the arts, science, humanities, business, human science, and education. Undergraduate degrees are typically four year programs and degree programs have a strong emphasis in liberal arts education. The university offers nearly 50 graduate programs primarily in education. Academic programs are distributed among six colleges. Wikipedia.

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Climate change models predict that much of western North America is becoming significantly warmer and drier, resulting in overall reductions in availability of water for ecosystems. Herein, I demonstrate that significant declines in the reproductive success of female insectivorous bats occur in years when annual environmental conditions mimic the long-term predictions of regional climate change models. Using a data set gathered on bat populations from 1996 through 2008 along the Front Range of Colorado, I compare trends in population numbers and reproductive outcomes of six species of vespertilionid bats with data on mean annual high temperature, precipitation, snow pack, and stream discharge rates. I show that levels of precipitation and flow rates of small streams near maternity colonies is fundamentally tied to successful reproduction in female bats, particularly during the lactation phase. Across years that experienced greater than average mean temperatures with less than average precipitation and stream flow, bat populations responded by slight to profound reductions in reproductive output depending on the severity of drought conditions. In particular, reproductive outputs showed profound declines (32-51%) when discharge rates of the largest stream in the field area dropped below 7 m3/s, indicating a threshold response. Such sensitivity to environmental change portends severe impacts to regional bat populations if current scenarios for climate change in western North America are accurate. In addition, bats act as early-warning indicators of large-scale ecological effects resulting from further regional warming and drying trends currently at play in western North America. © 2010 by the Ecological Society of America.

University of Northern Colorado and Colorado State University | Date: 2013-05-31

The invention provides methods to inhibit the replication of a flavivirus, methods of inhibiting the guanosine triphosphate (GTP)-binding and guanylyltransferase activity of a flavivirus RNA capping enzyme, and methods of treating a subject infected with a flavivirus. The methods can include contacting a flavivirus with an effective amount of a thioxothiazolidine compound described herein, or a derivative thereof, such as a compound of Formula (I).

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 207.56K | Year: 2014

With funding from the Capacity Building track of the National Science Foundations Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, this project will build the framework for a new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teacher preparation partnership program between the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) (a strong engineering school) and the University of Northern Colorado (UNCO) (a strong teacher education school). The new teacher preparation program will produce more highly qualified STEM teachers in Colorado, with special emphasis on middle and high school teachers. This program will provide an alternative path for CSM students who may wish to become a science or mathematics teacher. The project will provide insight in how to increase recruitment and retention of STEM majors while also addressing the shortage of STEM teachers.

The collaborating institutions will develop new and revised courses that will best address the integrative nature of STEM learning that is emerging in K-12 education by preparing secondary science and mathematics teachers with the skills to integrate scientific inquiry, technological design, engineering problem solving and mathematical analysis into cohesive and meaningful learning experiences for their students. The program design will focus on recruitment and effective preparation of future teachers by providing the teacher candidates with strong content knowledge, early field experiences, and supervision of their student teaching by content faculty. This ultimately will have a positive impact on the students of these future teachers and an increase in science literacy within the greater community. The innovative model for collaboration between these two universities will be transportable to other similar situations where engineering schools are looking for ways to enable their students interested in teaching as a career to complete their training and certification. Project evaluation will be conducted primarily through tracking forms developed for each project goal and its corresponding objectives.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IUSE | Award Amount: 255.15K | Year: 2016

Authentic research experiences in research laboratories run by professors do a far better job of developing students research skills and improving student retention in science than traditional laboratory experiences associated with a course. This is particularly true with groups who traditionally have not entered science fields. Authentic research experiences provide motivation to learn the research skills and demonstrate rewards in solving research problems. CUREs (Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences) have been created to provide all science students with a real research experience. However, little is known about the impacts of CUREs on student research skills and retention in science. The University of Northern Colorado has developed an introductory biology CURE based on Tigriopus californicus, a small marine organism, and initial results indicate the CURE increases students content knowledge and improves their motivation towards learning biology, both of which have been shown to increase retention. This project will expand the CURE to three different institutions: a Liberal Arts University; a large, Hispanic-Serving Research University; and a small, Womens Minority-Serving College. Using these diverse student populations, this project will determine if the CURE improves students content knowledge, research skills, motivation towards learning biology, and retention in biology.

Most research conducted on CURE student outcomes relies heavily on student self-reported learning gains, has been completed with self-selected student populations, and has not been conducted with student populations who are underrepresented in the STEM disciplines. The proposed project will enhance and expand current knowledge by adding to the existing CURE research including: (1) testing aspects of a recently developed CURE impacts model; (2) the exploration of CURE impacts on students experimental design skills, motivation, science identity, and persistence in science; and (3) the examination of the impacts of CUREs on diverse student groups, including minorities and first-generation students. This project will also greatly expand our understanding of Tigriopus californicus, about which very little is currently known despite its important place at the base of the marine food chain. Finally, this project will potentially broaden participation of underrepresented groups in the biological sciences.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Core R&D Programs | Award Amount: 1.17M | Year: 2015

The goal of the project is to understand expert secondary mathematics teachers knowledge for teaching exponential functions. In particular, the study examines how mathematics knowledge for teaching is used by teachers as they are teaching students and the factors that influence their interactions with students. The project is recruiting teachers in order to observe their teaching of exponential functions units in Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, and College Algebra courses in high schools. They will conduct classroom observations throughout the teaching of the unit and conduct interviews with the teachers before and after each unit. The project builds on other frameworks for understanding mathematics knowledge for teaching. Other studies have focused more frequently on elementary or middle school teachers. The contribution of this work is to understand the mathematics content teachers are using in high school in their work with students. Exponential functions are a common topic in the three high school courses and a foundational topic for students learning of algebra and calculus. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in the field. Investments are made in critical areas that are essential, broad and enduring: STEM learning and STEM learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development.

The research questions for the study focus on the decisions expert teachers draw on while making decisions related to teaching exponential functions, the mathematics knowledge for teaching they use to make decision, and the factors that influence the quality of those decisions and students opportunity to reason mathematically. They are recruiting expert teachers who have taught the courses for at least two years and are recognized as high quality teachers. The data collected include video data from classroom observations and pre-observation and post-observation interviews. The questions to be asked in interviews focus on teachers decision-making and will probe for their mathematics knowledge for teaching. Mathematics knowledge for teaching includes how teachers knowledge that supports their planning, instruction, and assessment of students mathematical reasoning. The study also provides a research methodology that could be used to study mathematics knowledge for teaching in other secondary mathematics topics.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 218.83K | Year: 2014

With this award from the Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) and support from the Chemistry Research Instrumentation Program (CRIF), Professor Robert Houser from the University of Northern Colorado and colleagues Robin Macaluso and Michael Mosher will acquire an X-ray diffractometer. In general, an X-ray diffractometer allows accurate and precise measurements of the full three-dimensional structure of a molecule, including bond distances and angles, and provides accurate information about the spatial arrangement of a molecule relative to neighboring molecules. The studies described here will impact a number of areas, including organic and inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry and biochemistry. This instrument will be an integral part of teaching as well as research and research training of chemistry and physics students as well as high school teachers.

The award is aimed at enhancing research and education at all levels, especially in areas such as (a) exploring rare-earth magnetic intermetallic compounds; (b) investigating the redox chemistry of thioether amide ligands with copper(II); (c) developing G-quadruplex ligands; (d) synthesizing and characterizing non-traditional semiconductor thermoelectric and photovoltaic materials; and (e) detecting fluorescence of biomolecules.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 312.52K | Year: 2016

With funding from the National Science Foundations Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, the Mines-UNC STEM Teacher Preparation Noyce Scholarship Program is recruiting undergraduate majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and preparing them to become grades 7-12 STEM teachers. The project is funding 18 scholarships and 30 internships over 5 years. In this project, Colorado School of Mines (CSM) and the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) are collaborating with Denver Public School District, Jefferson County School District, and St. Vrain Valley School District to educate and prepare STEM teachers. This project will: provide insight into how a partnership between a strong engineering school and a strong teacher education school can increase recruitment and retention of STEM majors who consider teaching as a profession; assess CSM students perceptions of teaching as a profession; evaluate the impact of early support (e.g., mentoring and professional development seminars) on teacher retention; and, ultimately, meet the need for providing more highly-qualified STEM teachers.

The Mines-UNC STEM Teacher Preparation Program is a unique partnership between CSM and UNC that offers a path toward secondary teaching licensure in science or math for CSM students. The program plays on the strengths of the two institutions to produce highly-educated graduates through an integrated program that is part of the students undergraduate degree. CSM (a highly selective, small public research university) is fully responsible for STEM content preparation, while UNC (a strong teacher preparation institution) delivers the Professional Teacher Education Program. This project will add an important component to the teacher preparation program by making secondary teaching a more visible, accessible, and attractive career option for these students. The specific goals of this project are to: 1) increase the number of CSM graduates who become STEM teachers and teach in high-need school districts; 2) create early STEM education experiences for CSM students to encourage more to consider teaching of STEM subjects as a career; 3) provide ongoing mentoring and professional development support of STEM teachers during their induction year at high-need schools; 4) actively address ideas about teaching as a career to maintain a healthy supportive culture at CSM toward the profession; and 5) assess, disseminate, and sustain the best recruitment and retention practices.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IUSE | Award Amount: 99.94K | Year: 2016

In recent years, the instructional model referred to as flipped has become very popular, with a steady rise in faculty adopting the model to teach college science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses. This project defines flipped instruction as involving video lectures viewed by students outside of class time as the main mode of content delivery, and the implementation of facilitated problem solving and other active group activities during class time. Such flipped learning environments have been shown to improve students performance in some studies. However, the evidence base related to this teaching model is currently quite limited. Therefore, this project seeks to better understand the connections between flipped learning environments, student learning outcomes and various aspects of students academic motivation in the context of general chemistry courses at different types of colleges and universities. Since flipped learning relies on students self-directed behaviors, in particular acquiring content knowledge outside of class in preparation for participation in active group learning environments, investigating how personal and course-related factors may support student motivation is paramount to understanding the potential of flipped classroom environments for enhanced undergraduate STEM learning.

This NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE: EHR) collaborative project, led by a chemistry education researcher and an educational psychologist, will apply the expectancy-value model of achievement motivation to examine the complex dynamic between flipped learning environments and student motivation within general chemistry classrooms at multiple institutions of higher learning. In addition to measuring the changes in student expectancies and task-related values over a term of exposure to flipped chemistry learning, these investigations will account for variables such as a students incoming self-regulation and their perception of autonomy in the learning environments. Since the flipped learning model allows instructors flexibility in structuring their courses, phase one will investigate a variety of flipped general chemistry courses at a range of institutions, with the goal of identifying common features of flipped chemistry courses and how these affect students motivation and learning. Data sources will include classroom observations and artifacts, teacher and student interviews, pre- and post-motivation surveys, and assessments of students learning of chemistry. The results of phase one regarding the combination of elements shown to support student motivation and learning will then be used to select a smaller set of institutions and instructors to conduct within and across course comparisons of student learning and motivation. During this phase, the project team will also investigate the equity of impacts for students underrepresented in STEM and across different institution types. Thus, the project is expected to significantly enhance the evidence base with respect to the use of flipped classroom environments in undergraduate STEM education and provide guidance regarding effective implementation for the many STEM educators who use flipped instructional models now and in the future.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: RSCH EXPER FOR UNDERGRAD SITES | Award Amount: 124.76K | Year: 2016

This project is funded from the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites program in the SBE Directorate. As such, it has both scientific and societal benefits, and it integrates research and education.
This eight-week international REU Site brings eight undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds to Sicily, Italy for four weeks to collect data from ancient human skeletons, and back to the United State for four weeks to work in the research laboratories at the University of Georgia. Students complete independent research projects relating to the health, activity patterns, diet, and genetic relatedness of people at the Greek colony and battlefield of Himera to better understand the biocultural consequences of culture contact in the past. Globalization is ever-increasing and often resembles colonization with its spread of ideas and people to developing nations. REU students will learn first-hand about deep roots and biological dimensions of interactions between diverse populations. Participants receive specialized field and lab training in archaeological chemistry, anatomy, research design, and data analysis. Students will leave the REU with greater technical and analytical skills, better preparedness for graduate study and professional careers, and heightened awareness of global issues relating to population contact, inequality, human conflict, and health transitions. These skills are foundational for improving global citizenship and stewardship in any career.

To promote scientific literacy and global engagement among undergraduates, this three-year REU Site integrates students as junior partners of the Bioarchaeology of Mediterranean Colonies Project, a cross-disciplinary, international research program that has brought undergraduate students to the Mediterranean for the past three summers. REU students generate new anthropological knowledge related to human adaptation and the impacts of culture contact in the ancient Mediterranean. Student projects focus on the more than 12,000 skeletons unearthed at Himera, which in the 7-5th centuries B.C. was the site of Greek colonizing efforts and violent battles. Himera represents an early epicenter of rising ethnic inequality. REU students plan and execute independent research projects exploring biocultural impacts of culture contact in Greek Sicily, including changes in diet, activity patterns, health, mobility, and genetic admixture, using stable isotope biogeochemistry, molecular anthropology, osteology, paleopathology and statistical analysis. Students collect bioarchaeological data from human skeletons at Sicily for four weeks, and spend the remaining four weeks at the University of Georgia (UGA) apprenticed in the UGA Bioarchaeology and Biochemistry Laboratory, analyzing field specimens. REU students participate in focused workshops and seminars, and work with dedicated mentors, receiving hands-on training for research projects. Through these activities, students (1) learn archaeological and anthropological field and lab methods, (2) learn from both American and Italian scholars, (3) visit museums and archaeological sites on Sicily, (4) design, execute, and present independent research projects that make substantive contributions to anthropology, (5) live in the city of Palermo, Italy where they will interact with Italian students and citizens, and (6) remain in close contact with faculty mentors for a full academic year to publish their results and present at international conferences. Two PhD student affiliates will gain mentorship training. REU students will leave better prepared to pursue and succeed in graduate school, excel in STEM careers, and be more globally engaged citizens.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 139.95K | Year: 2014

University of Northern Colorado (UNC) requests $139,948 over 36 months for the acquisition of an HPC Cluster for Multidisciplinary Research and Education. Research projects include biology, computer science, mathematics, and atmospheric sciences.
The proposed UNC HPC cluster is available to all of UNC, including training courses for new users. It is expected that some courses (specifically bioscience and computer science) will utilize the cluster. Outreach activities include the UNC Frontiers of Science Institute which is a summer program for Colorado high school students in STEM disciplines. The PIs plan on implementing a program with the UNC Math and Science Teachers Institute to train K-12 teacher in advanced topics.

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