Crisis in K-16 STEM Education: A Regional Conference to Promote Local Solutions to a National Problem

This award is for the funding of a regional conference to study the future of STEM education, the impact of underrepresented and disadvantaged groups with regards to STEM, and STEM job growth and workforce development in a regional, as opposed to a national, context.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1212282
Funding Period: 
February 1, 2012 to January 31, 2013
Full Description: 

This award is for the funding of a regional conference to study the future of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, the educational advancement of learners from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups with regards to STEM, and STEM job growth and workforce development in a regional, as opposed to a national, context. The project brings together regional K-16 stakeholders (teachers, administrators, policy makers, community college and four-year college faculty) with STEM education experts to address the major challenges and opportunities in supporting outstanding local programs that prepare students for STEM college-level study and careers, with a special emphasis on preparing under-represented populations. It is designed to bring together researchers and educators from the lower to mid-Hudson River Valley region of New York to layout the contours of current K-16 STEM practice, particularly from the point of view of what efforts are not working, why they are not working, and how to make these efforts work. The project is a partnership with Rockland Community College and CEJJES Institute. Approximately 150 participants from area schools and colleges in New York are expected to attend, representing approximately 200,000 K-12 public schools and 100,000 college students in a region where STEM-related industries are a prominent and growing influence.

The overarching goal of the Conference is to promote regional strategies that will enable this generation of learners, especially those from under-represented groups, to take their place in 21st century STEM careers. It is suggested that such a gathering of individuals and groups concerned with STEM education, as proposed in this project, would address four key questions: (1) How are knowledge and skill requirements for college-level study and careers in STEM changing the preparation needed for K-16? What changes need to be made with respect to curriculum, teachers and teaching, laboratories and access to resources, and in-school and out-of-school learning to improve the regional STEM outcomes? What strategies and practices can be adopted to support and advance STEM education throughout the region? (2) What are effective strategies for advancing the academic success of under-represented groups in STEM and how can they be successfully implemented in this region? (3) How does changing context for STEM education impact the knowledge and pedagogical skill requirements needed for being an effective K-16 STEM educator? What pedagogical strategies are best suited for teaching 21st century STEM skills? How well are teachers' professional development needs being met? What are some strategies for ensuring that the region?s teachers have access to the STEM professional development they need? (4) What are some current models of regional school/community/college partnerships for strengthening the K-16 STEM pipeline? How do these models address regional needs in ways that school districts cannot respond on their own? What solutions would be a good fit for this region? What unique ways in which Community Colleges and other share educational resources, serve as a STEM resource for students in middle school through college? What are the implications of this strategy for other regions concerned about K-16 STEM education?

Regional strategies offer a viable and scalable model for addressing K-16 STEM, especially when they reinforce the availability of services and support that would go beyond the reach of individual school districts. As a result of conference activities, the project will create and maintain a conference website with video capture of key elements of the presentations, conference proceedings and information and materials collected. The website will also be available for shared resources, scholarly papers, and the facilitating of future dialogue.

Project Materials