VCSU Establishes the Great Plains STEM Education Center

Jun 21st, 2010 @ 8:14 am | Author:
The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education approved a request from Valley City State University (VCSU) to establish the Great Plains STEM Education Center on the VCSU campus. The Center will provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and training opportunities for K-12 students and teachers as an essential step in the process of increasing the technology and engineering capacity of the U.S. workforce.

According to Dr. Steve Shirley, president of VCSU, the Center will help develop more K-12 teachers who can use STEM methodologies in their classrooms. "The State Board's approval for the Great Plains STEM Education Center is a clear sign that they recognize the critical issues that STEM education addresses and VCSU's important role in addressing them. We are very pleased to be taking yet another step in applying our leadership in teacher education to this subject of national importance."

"Congratulations to VCSU on this major accomplishment that will lay the foundation for more science, technology, engineering and math education in North Dakota," said U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (ND), who helped to secure $1.13 million in federal funding for initiatives at the STEM Center. "This is a long-term strategy to increase North Dakota's high-tech workforce to support the growing employment opportunities in the Red River Valley Research Corridor."

STEM education is an emerging set of interdisciplinary teaching methods and content in which students learn how to apply rigorous academic concepts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to real-world problems. Its goal is to increase student literacy in the STEM fields and ultimately increase the number and ability of students entering into STEM-related careers. Though interest in STEM may be traced back many years, the 2005 publication of Rising Above the Gathering Storm brought the field to national prominence by documenting the mounting concern that the U.S. educational system is not preparing the level of scientific and engineering talent required to allow the United States to compete in this technological era.

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 and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) 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 Education, the U.S. Department of Education, and others.

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.