Dec 17th, 2009 @ 8:43 am | Author:
President Barack Obama signed into law on Wednesday an omnibus spending bill that includes $750,000 in funding for Valley City State University (VCSU) to extend its role in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. The funding will allow VCSU to increase STEM education and training for K-12 teachers.

Dr. Steve Shirley, president of Valley City State University, said, "United States competitiveness in the global economy is being challenged in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and we believe that implementing the principles of STEM education in the K-12 classroom is the key to restoring our leadership. These funds will allow us to extend our work in these fields to enhance the quality of instruction provided by VCSU graduates as well as in-service teachers throughout the state of North Dakota and the region. We are grateful for the support and view it as an outstanding investment in the future of our society."

VCSU is a well-established leader in the field of STEM education. In 2000, VCSU launched its online degree program in Technology Education, aimed at providing technological literacy for all students based on content standards published by the International Technology Education Association (ITEA) and endorsed by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). In 2005, VCSU launched a concentration in Technology Education for its online Master of Education degree program. In 2008, VCSU signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Center for Technological Literacy of the Museum of Science Boston to bring quality standards-based engineering and technology education to K-12 schools throughout the United States. Since then, VCSU has delivered several workshops for K-12 teachers via funding from or partnerships with LEGO Robotics, the West Fargo School District, the U.S. Department of Education, and others.

United States Senator Byron Dorgan D-ND, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was a key backer in the Senate. According to Senator Dorgan, "This initiative is about giving a boost to science, technology, engineering and math education in our state to help train the future of America's high-tech workforce. I was proud to secure funding to help VCSU become a center for STEM education in North Dakota. The initiative is an investment in the future of our state and nation. Students who benefit from it will go on to be cutting-edge innovators in the Red River Valley Research Corridor and beyond."

In addition to backing from Senator Dorgan, the bill also received support from North Dakota Representative Earl Pomeroy, who led support for the bill through the House of Representatives, and Senator Kent Conrad. According to Dr. Shirley, "We are tremendously appreciative of the support shown by our national representatives in this important mission."

Valley City State University (VCSU) prepares people for life through visionary leadership and exemplary practices in teaching, learning and service. VCSU is nationally acclaimed for attracting and retaining talented individuals who advance quality learning opportunities and economic growth through technology and innovation.