University of Michigan School of Education plans new center after $14.7 million donation

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ANN ARBOUR, Mich. – The University of Michigan The School of Education is establishing a new center following a $14.7 million donation from alumnus Eileen Lappin Weiser.

University officials say the Eileen Lappin Weiser Center for Learning Sciences will “make learning accessible to all young people” and disrupt academic standards in favor of methods that develop lifelong learners critical thinkers.

“Schools today struggle to adapt to the needs of their learners,” said Lappin Weiser. “Far too many of our children and young people fall through the cracks. Every child deserves the chance to learn and prepare well for life. We already know of effective parenting practices that can change a child’s education, and we are discovering more every year. It’s time to help schools, teachers and students do things differently.

His donation is the biggest commitment in the School of Education’s 100-year history, according to the U of M.

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The aim of the new center is to strengthen the links between research and practice by studying how learning occurs. This includes designing and testing curricula for diverse learners, collaborating to promote evidence-based practices, and making effective educational solutions available to all learners.

Some studies show that classroom learning seems pointless to many students because they are disconnected from reality. According to these studies, project-based learning is often more effective. But these kinds of child- and youth-centered learning experiences aren’t available in most schools, the U of M says.

“We know how to organize and implement project- and place-based learning opportunities to help children and young people become problem solvers who recognize the purpose of their learning,” said Dean Elizabeth Birr Moje. from the UM School of Education. “With the resources of the Eileen Lappin Weiser Center for Learning Sciences, UM can put cutting-edge research findings into the hands of educators, school leaders, and policymakers.”

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Lappin Weiser has served on the Michigan State Board of Education, National Assessment Governance Board, Presidential Scholars Commission, Michigan Science Center Board of Trustees, Education Commission of the States, and 21st Century Education Commission.

She is also a member of the Dean of Education’s Advisory Council at U de M and the National Board of the University Musical Society.

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