Andhra native appointed Associate Provost at Texas university

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New York, Aug 14 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh-born Siva Kumari has been appointed Associate Provost at the Rice University in Texas, Provost Eugene Levy has announced.

''It is an opportune time to assess, coordinate and improve Rice's engagement with Houston's K-12 education system, provide innovative educational resources to the broader Houston population and develop a more structured approach to overseeing the teacher training that takes place on our campus,'' Mr Levy said.

Though Rice does not have a school of education, thousands of elementary and secondary school teachers come to campus each year for training in mathematics, science, engineering, technology and other specialities.

The training programmes are conducted by a variety of schools, centers, institutes and departments at Rice.

''Having Kumari in this position will help the university leverage these efforts to achieve greater impact,'' Levy said in a statement available from Rice University's news and media relations department.

K-12 initiatives, for which Dr Siva Kumari is now in charge, focusses on the University's public education outreach effort that encompasses some 7,000 teachers and 100,000 students annually in the Houston area and also in Texas at large.

Dr Kumari ''who earned her bachelor's degree from Visakhapatnam'' was until recently the Advisor to the Provost and Associate Dean at the University's Glasscock School. During her tenure as the associate dean, her performance was described as 'significant','' the statement said.

''Siva is an ideal administrator for this new challenge,'' Mr Levy said. ''As Advisor on K-12 initiatives for the past two years, she has developed extensive knowledge of many of the educational programmes under way here, and of what can be done to make them even more successful,'' it added.

Dr Kumari, who has a doctorate in education from the University of Houston, said she is eager to contribute to the success of the city's public school teachers and students.

''Ever since I came to Rice in 1994, I've been engaged in K-12 outreach,'' she said. ''There is no greater pleasure than to have a teacher come to campus and tell me how happy they are to improve their teaching through lessons learned at Rice,'' she added.

While she is acquainted with several teacher-training programmes at the University, Dr Kumari is also aware that better coordination would be more useful.

She said, ''We need a system to capture the multitude of projects effectively, create a central place for faculty and staff to report the good work they are doing in the K-12 community and most importantly for them to seek help as needed.'' In her new role, Dr Kumari planned to set up a system for gathering this kind of information.

''Once we know most of the projects that are under way, we can analyse where we need more programmes. We can take a look at the community's needs and figure out whether we're going to the right schools and whether we need to be engaged in other areas,'' she said.

Dr Kumari, who joined Glasscock School in 2000, set up a professional development model for K-12 teachers that engages higher education faculty at the university.

Rice is said to be the only US University that offers professional development for teachers in both of the major college preparatory programmes 'AP' (advanced placement) and 'IB' (international baccalaureate).

UNI XC RJ RN0919

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