Grant Allows ODU Professors to Partner with Rural Ohio School District to Enhance Project-Based Learning

CSO Research


Columbus, OH – A project by Ohio Dominican University (ODU) professors to study and improve project-based learning methods and practices has received significant support from the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR). The OBR selected ODU to receive a $90,000 Improving Teacher Quality Grant to fund a project, “Preparing Students for the 21st Century: Implementing Common Core Mathematics Standards Through Project-Based Learning.” ODU professors will partner with mathematics teachers in the Crooksville Exempted Village School district, located in Perry County, Ohio, to study, identify and implement enhanced project-based learning practices. 

The grant’s principal investigators are Ron Zielke, Ph.D., ODU associate professor of Mathematics and Education; Marlissa Stauffer, Ph.D., ODU assistant professor of Education; and Lisa Douglass, Ph.D., former assistant professor of Education at ODU. 

“This grant allows us to take this sustained professional development opportunity to rural districts where funds for professional development are minimal and the scores on state mathematics exams are often below average,” Stauffer said. “It also allows us to pay an outside evaluator to examine teacher learning through pre- and post-assessments, which helps us improve our courses to better meet the needs of teachers.” 

Additionally, the grant allows teachers to enhance their knowledge by working with professors through grant-funded graduate education courses focused on mathematics education. Teachers also will receive more than 75 contact hours with professors to focus on practices they can implement immediately in their classrooms. 

“Project-based learning allows teachers to develop one project that utilizes a multitude of standards at the same time, not only within mathematics but across other disciplines as well,” Zielke said. “Project-based learning helps ensure students develop problem-solving, reasoning and other critical 21st century skills.” 

The project costs a total of $100,801. The OBR award is $90,070 (89.4 percent). Approximately $10,000 (10.6 percent) comes from nongovernmental sources. During the past three years, the OBR has awarded ODU more than $300,000 in grants to study project-based learning. 

Ohio Dominican University is a comprehensive, four-year, private, liberal arts and master’s institution, founded in 1911 in the Catholic Dominican tradition. The University has approximately 2,600 students and offers undergraduate degrees in 45 majors as well as 11 graduate degree programs. Ohio Dominican uses a student-centered approach, with a commitment to quality teaching and learning.