Kettering to host JETT program

Apr 18, 2008

Kettering University will reach out to the Michigan high school community to highlight the importance of studying Computer Science at the higher education level by hosting a JETT program May 17.

Kettering University will host a Java Engagement for Teacher Training (JETT, http://jett.acm.org/) Program on campus Saturday, May 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kettering’s participation in this program, which also takes place at other institutions throughout the year, represents the University’s ongoing focus in reaching out to the Michigan high school community and highlights the importance of studying Computer Science at the higher education level.

The JETT program is a partnership between the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Computer Science Teachers Association and the College Board. The long-term goal of this program is to provide pedagogically-oriented workshops and resources in Java for secondary high school computer science teachers by universities. Additionally, the JETT program offers all secondary computer science engineers a comprehensive, centralized online Java repository hosted by ACM.

According to Dr. Jim Huggins, associate professor of Computer Science at Kettering and coordinator for the May 17 program atKettering, the basis for Kettering’s desire to host the event is based on several points.

“We wanted to provide encouragement for high school CS teachers.  In many high schools, CS is a small enough subject that there's at most one CS teacher in the building.  We're hoping to provide a forum for teachers to talk with each other and support each other,” he said.

Huggins also explained that this program offers a chance to provide ideas and resources to high school CS teachers, many of whom are teaching the same sorts of concepts that Kettering’s CS Dept. teaches on a regular basis.  “None of us are perfect, but all of us as instructors learn about ideas and tools and techniques that have worked for us. 

“Part of being an academic community is sharing those good ideas with others to use.  We hope that sharing these ideas will help some of our colleagues at the high school level to teach more effectively,” he said. Kettering CS faculty who will lead sessions include Dr. John Geske, interim department head of Computer Science, Huggins, Dr. Peter Stanchev, Dr. David Vineyard and Dr. Saroja Kanchi.

This event also represents a unique opportunity to connect Ketteringto a number of local high schools.  Ultimately, this sort of programmatic connection could help the University attract prospective students to study atKettering while advancing interest in the field of Computer Science.

Furthermore, it provides yet another means to spread the word about the institution’s nationally-ranked brand of cooperative education, which provides an important incentive to companies when hiring engineering graduates with several years of experience in the field before they even graduate from college.

For high school CS teachers, the JETT program helps create a community of computer science educators who can share “best practices” and successful pedagogical methods to improve how they teach and how students learn Java. Thus, in many respects, this program offers a mentorship opportunity for teachers to develop their instructional capabilities and share with one another their methods and approaches to teaching Java to high school students.

Kettering joins a long list of prominent, nationally known institutions of higher education that have also served as one of many host sites for the program throughout the year,  including Duke University, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania and Indiana University, among others.

Support for the JETT program was made possible by Kettering’s Office of External Affairs, which is lead by Bob Nichols. This support allows Kettering to offering this program free to all CS high school teachers interested in participating. Huggins said for this year’s program at Kettering, all CS teachers from Michigan-based high schools are welcome to participate in this May 17 event.

For more information about the JETT program at Kettering University and to learn how you can participate, contact Dr. Jim Huggins, associate professor of Computer Science, at (810) 762-9500. ext. 5439, or email jhuggins@kettering.edu. To learn more about JETT and to register for the Kettering sessions, visit http://jett.acm.org/.

Written by Gary J. Erwin
810-762-9538
gerwin@kettering.edu