Jim and Jo Yopp ’60
If you are going to do a job right, you must have the right tools. But for North Carolina teachers of mathematics and science, getting the right tools – including classroom strategies, support networks, and advanced educational opportunities – is challenging. The lack of tools has led to a severe shortage of math and science teachers across the state, as well as plummeting retention rates.
UNC Greensboro alumna and former teacher Johanna Yopp ’60 wants to provide North Carolina math and science teachers those tools. In addition to serving on UNCG’s Students First Education Committee and the School of Education Advisory Board, she and her husband, John, established a program fund to support aspiring teachers through opportunities such as the Yopp Professional Development Institute. In 2006, they pushed their support in the School of Education to the next level.
The James D. & Johanna F. Yopp Distinguished Professorship in Mathematics Education or Science Education supports faculty as they arm new and veteran teachers with the skills and confidence needed to succeed as educators. In addition to teaching and mentoring faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students, the Yopp professor spearheads programing designed to address current education issues and introduce innovations in science and mathematics education. Among the programs is the Yopp Distinguished Speaker Program, which invites top scholars and educators to campus to present to students, faculty, and the community.
Dr. Victoria Jacobs, the current Yopp Distinguished Professor, is grateful for the opportunities the professorship offers. “The Speaking Series is an exciting yearly event,” she says. “Not only does it bring nationally known mathematics educators to UNCG, but it also enhances our local and regional education communities. It’s helped us strengthen relationships between UNCG and other institutions.”
Speakers have included Dr. Samuel Otten, assistant professor of mathematics and the Lois Knowles Faculty Fellow at the University of Missouri, and Dr. Megan Franke, professor of education and information studies at UCLA. Their presentations focused on pedagogy and technology in mathematics classes across grades.
James and Johanna Yopp have provided UNCG’s School of Education with a dynamic leader ready to help turn the educational tide in North Carolina. Every year, Dr. Jacobs – thanks to the Yopps – sends new and veteran teachers out to their communities with new toolboxes, packed full with confidence and fresh ideas.
Story by Michelle Danner-Groves, Donor Relations
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