College of Science and Engineering


Dr. Sarnath Ramnath to receive the Miller Scholar Award

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dr. Sarnath Ramnath, a member of the computer Computer Science & Information Technology faculty, was named one of two recipients of the prestigious Miller Scholar Award for 2013 for his project "Developing curriculum for computing courses through a problem-based, whole-part-whole approach." He will receive the award in a ceremony on August 21, in the Miller Center Reading Court at 1:00 p.m.

Miller Scholars Program

The Miller Scholars Program was established by the generous donation of James W. and Marion Miller, and co-sponsored by St. Cloud State University’s Office of Academic Affairs.  This prestigious program is designed to recognize and support faculty members who have established a demonstrated record of motivation, excellence, and leadership in teaching and learning. 

A St. Cloud State University Miller Scholar is one who proposes and implements a high quality Scholarship of Teaching and Learning project that will take his or her demonstrated track record in teaching and learning to a significantly higher level.

The recipients of the award, a maximum of three faculty, will receive the following individually, or in one or more teams:

  • A certificate of recognition from the President of St. Cloud State University at a special ceremony during the Fall Convocation CETL Teaching and Learning Fair, 2013
  • One course re-assignment each semester (Fall and Spring), for one academic year for individuals and one course re-assignment in one semester (Fall or Spring) for one academic year for each member of a team (with replacement to the department or program) for implementation of a proposed Miller Scholars Project in teaching and learning (a temporary match from the University),
  • A budget of $2000 each for individuals or multiples thereof for the team for implementation of the project.
  • Administrative support from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning for implementing the proposed project and,
  • Professional development funds:
    • $1,500 each to be used for travel to present the results of the project.
    • $1,500 additional funds each for travel to a professional conference or workshop.


"Developing Curriculum for Computing Courses through a Problem-based, Whole-part-whole Approach."

The overall vision for this project is to get a better balance between rigor and relevance by applying the Whole-Part-Whole (WPW) approach to individual courses and entire programs. Rigor refers to the manner in which the methodology of the discipline is adhered to, and relevance refers to how well the learner is able to connect the material with prior knowledge and with the broader context in which the new knowledge is to be applied. Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is a broad term used to describe pedagogical approaches where the application of the knowledge is given precedence over the honing of skills. Such approaches have been employed to introduce relevance in K-12 education. Dr. Sarnath has been experimenting with such a framework since 1999, in his course on Object-Oriented Software Design. In particular he has evolved a PBL approach where the Whole components are used to establish relevance and Part components are introduced, as needed, to enhance the rigor. As a result of these efforts, he has co-authored a textbook on Object-Oriented Software Design with his colleague at Metropolitan state University in the Twin Cities. With the support of the Miller Scholars Award, he intends to continue his work with his Metropolitan State colleague on a Computer Science I course, developing materials that will enable it to fulfill the needs of multiple constituents. Additionally he plans to work with input from faculty in other STEM departments and from industry representatives to develop a new course that will build on the previous Computer Science I course to fill the computing skills gap of STEM graduates. Further, he intends to work with faculty in Math and Statistics to develop a problem-based curriculum for a course on Discrete Math, and finally, explore other research that can connect student perceptions of relevance with his teaching methods.

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