2024 Beaver Island Institute

The application period for this year’s Beaver Island Institute has now closed. If you applied, please watch your email for updates.

Inquiry, Immersion, and Interdisciplinarity

Since 2016, educators from across Michigan districts have participated in a week-long, intensive workshop at Central Michigan University’s Biological Station on Beaver Island, taking advantage of the island’s unique biodiversity to explore language arts, science, and the arts.  As science and literacy teachers work to integrate the Next Generation Science Standards through interdisciplinary, inquiry-based learning, this kind of institute offers them a unique opportunity to explore, collaborate, and plan for the coming school year. 

“The Beaver Island Institute is an incredibly immersive professional development experience that provides educators with creative strategies for blending literacy and science,” said Karyn McConachie, an 8th & 9th grade teacher from Eppler Junior High of Utica Community Schools. “The week provided us with much-needed time to collaborate with colleagues, so we can plan for classroom implementation of these strategies.”

On Beaver Island, a team of university and K-12 faculty welcome ELA and science teachers to this unique experience. Throughout the week, teachers participate in field activities to promote discussion and collaboration as well as inquiry-based workshops.

“What this institute does for us as learners, and what you the facilitators do for us as we consider new ways to teach science,” said Todd Starry, a middle school science teacher from St. Louis Schools, “well, it cannot be replicated by any publisher in a standard curriculum.”

Teachers at the institute study ecosystems, educational technology, and strategies for integrating reading, writing, and critical thinking into the classroom. Past faculty on the institute’s leadership team include:

  • Troy Hicks, a professor of English and education at Central Michigan University where he directs the Chippewa River Writing Project and was awarded, in 2018, the Michigan Reading Association’s Teacher Educator Award.
  • Wiline Pangle, a professor of biology at Central Michigan University who explores the intersections of science and the performing arts, and whose work has been featured on Michigan Public Radio and Forbes Magazine
  • Jeremy Winsor, a science teacher at Fulton Schools, and Michigan Department of Education’s Region 4 Teacher of the Year and Michigan Farm Bureau Agricultural Educator of the Year; 
  • Jeremy Hyler, a language arts and science teacher at Fulton Schools, and a Community Ambassador for the National Council of Teachers of English and a board member for the Michigan Association of Middle School Educators; 
  • Merideth Garcia, an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse who researches the social dynamics of classrooms and disciplinary literacies; 

Participants in past institutes have described it as one of the most powerful experiences in their professional lives. For instance, in an anonymous response to a program evaluation survey, one participant noted:

“The institute was a wonderful experience at a unique location.  You provided relevant activities and usable information that could be taken back to the classroom and immediately implemented.”

Watch the video below to learn more about this interdisciplinary opportunity!

Please contact our director, Troy Hicks, with questions that you might have about CRWP Beaver Island opportunities.

Last Update: April 28, 2024