Tuesday, July 30, 2013

APLU's Kacy Redd Talks STEM on The Hill

By Cristian Cardenas, APLU Summer Intern

The need to improve undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is not a new issue, but in recent years it has increasingly become an important national priority said panelists during a briefing on the Landscape of Undergraduate STEM Education Reform: A Snapshot of Current National Initiatives before the U.S. House of Representatives' STEM Education Caucus last week.

The Association of American Universities (AAU), Business Higher Education Forum (BHEF), the Research Corporation and APLU co-sponsored the event that offered perspectives on STEM education programs from higher education advocacy groups, industry, and education. 

Kacy Redd represented the STEM efforts being taken at the APLU. Drawing from her own past difficulties in entering the realm of STEM education, she is inspired to see that kids from Mississippi to Maine can receive exposure to science education. APLU plans to achieve long term results through their Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative (SMTI) which plays on the fact that APLU institutions currently prepare 40% of STEM majors in the U.S. and almost 30% of the STEM teachers. STEM education and teacher preparation is seen as an undergraduate issue, which if taken seriously, can result in strengthening the national pipeline of students from K-12 to undergraduate STEM research and education.

The second APLU program, the Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership (MTEP), was created so that teachers can be prepared to the new Common Core State Standards for mathematics. It is also the goal of APLU to be able to prepare science teachers in a similar manner to prepare them to teach to the NextGen Science Standards.

The event opened with Congressman Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), speaking from his engineering background, making the point that it is hard to teach STEM and that we need all hands on deck to stay in the lead for global innovation.