Oct 18th, 2010 @ 4:31 pm | Author: Dr. Steve Shirley, VCSU President
Last week in Fargo, Valley City State University coordinated an event to help officially launch the new Great Plains STEM Education Center housed at VCSU. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM Education has been a major focus at VCSU, and this kick-off event to formally launch the Great Plains STEM Education Center was a milestone event in VCSU's history.

The STEM Conference brought together teachers, administrators, and students from several school districts as well as a number of individuals from various area colleges and universities. In addition, there were representatives from the business sector along with several governmental agencies to discuss the important topics associated with STEM Education. The conversations during the kick-off event focused on how STEM Education is critically tied to the long-term success and effectiveness of our nation. The United States currently has a shortage of students going into fields such as Engineering, Mathematics, and the Sciences, and it is clear some changes must be made to reverse those trends. The goals of the STEM Education Center strive to do just that. Tangible results of these reforms are underway in North Dakota, including the new STEM Middle School that now exists in the West Fargo School District.

Last week's kickoff event for the STEM Education Center featured speakers who are national leaders representing a variety of organizations dedicated to making STEM Education succeed. Time and again, the speakers reiterated and stressed the trans-disciplinary and engaged approach to learning required for STEM Education to be successful. Valley City State University looks forward to being a statewide leader in these efforts as we work to move North Dakota to the forefront of STEM Education. The Great Plains STEM Education Center, directed by VCSU professor Don Mugan, will serve as a resource for educating and providing training opportunities alike to teachers and students from both K-12 and higher education. The Center has already been active in providing meetings and hands-on workshops, and we look forward to offering many more of these outreach activities in the future.

As VCSU continues to expand its efforts in STEM and science-based education, we will become more proactive in partnering with the business sector. Students who are going into the STEM fields are preparing for many of the most in-demand current employment fields, and VCSU will take an active role in providing the necessary educational foundation for these important career sectors. The Great Plains STEM Education Center links closely with other initiatives underway at VCSU, and it will provide a key resource for the state of North Dakota as we work to ensure the students of our state are the best educated and most skilled in the nation. STEM and science-based education are fundamental components to North Dakota's successful long-term future, and it is exciting to have Valley City State University actively participating in these important endeavors.