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Education gift furthers efforts to link scientific data and teaching

How do children learn, and at what level of cognition? At what cognitive levels are we teaching? What levels of cognition are required for the careers of the future, careers that do not yet exist?

These are a few of the questions that a collaboration called K-16 Mind, Brain Education hopes to answer.

The UT Arlington College of Education has now received more than $1 million from Steffen and Betsy Palko to further the initiative. When coupled with K-16 partnerships, Mind, Brain Education provides the avenue for cross-cultural collaboration to link scientific data and pedagogy to find out what works and why.

The $1 million cumulative gift includes a donation in November of $250,000 to establish a professorship for Mind, Brain Education as well as $766,800 (given in August 2005) to create the Southwest Center for Mind, Brain Education. The center is a research and scholarly community of collaborative K-16 partners in biology, education and the cognitive and developmental sciences.

It will bring together representatives from K-12 education, two-year colleges, higher education, business and industry, nonprofit organizations and interested citizens.

"They will look at how the latest research in cognition, neuroscience, biology and education can help students at all levels learn," said Jeanne Gerlach, UT Arlington's associate vice president for K-16 initiatives and dean of the College of Education.

Steffen Palko, a founder and former president of Fort Worth-based XTO Energy, sees K-16 Mind, Brain Education efforts at UT Arlington as a way to positively impact the future.

UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo says the Palkos' vision and generosity have made a real difference.

"We are proud to call the Palkos our partner," he said. "Their legacy of kindness and philanthropy will continue to benefit UT Arlington, the College of Education and our students for years to come."

Online: www.uta.edu/coed/advancement/mind_brain

— Mark Permenter

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