The focus of SwISTEM is on improvement of STEM-related education through curriculum redesign, realignment, and professional development for educators in the nine counties within the region. SwISTEM is supported by:
Indiana STEM (I-STEM) Network- In 2007, USI was selected as a lead institution in the development and implementation of the new Indiana STEM (I-STEM) Resource Network. USI has primary responsibility for STEM related efforts for the entire southwestern Indiana region.
2007, USI became the lead institution in the $5,000,000 Southwest Indiana
Regional WIRED grant from the US Department of Labor to enhance regional
STEM. A portion of this grant funded activities that: The
WIRED Grant is no longer active.
Developed new alliances and partnerships (public and private);
Focused on regional STEM education and workforce development;
Identified and supported existing STEM programs;
Developed a web-based clearinghouse of information for all constituents (parents, teachers, students, community, industry, etc.);
Communicated with constituents about the importance of STEM education and career path options;
Expanded Project Lead the Way (PLTW) opportunities into every school in the region and developed closer ties between schools and universities;
Developed a STEM summer camp, workshops, etc. to encourage and recruit students with interest in one or more of the STEM disciplines;
Developed an STEM equipment lending service for teachers with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and high-tech instrumentation;
Redesigned K-16 STEM curricula by developing new and innovative lessons and hands-on inquiry-based laboratories; and
Identified and remedied curriculum gaps in K-16 STEM Education.
NSF STEP Grant-
In 2008, USI received a five-year $1.2 million
NSF grant for four component programs:
Development and implementation of an Early Undergraduate Research Program;
Funding for Pathways Leading to Undergraduate Success in the Science (PLUSS) Program;
Increased community and K-12 involvement through a formal Outreach Program; and;
Improved pedagogical approaches through a formal Professional
Development Program for K-16 teachers.
Partnership with Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC
- The University of
Southern Indiana and the Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center
(NSWC Crane) announced a Partnership Intermediary Agreement (PIA) on
February 6, 2010. The formal agreement will accelerate the USI STEM
initiative and help Crane continue to improve their innovative path by
creating new businesses and jobs with Crane patents. In addition,
summer programs bringing together educators from
the region to work side-by-side with Crane engineers and scientists are
being offered, strengthening a core curriculum of science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics.
The proposed Initiative seeks to address a number of goals, including: Increasing the number and quality of students selecting STEM majors; providing opportunities to engage high school and college students in hands-on research opportunities early in their schooling; developing a more nurturing and team oriented approach to STEM education; providing enhanced academic and career advising for students majoring or intending to major in any of the STEM areas; improving the retention and graduation rates for STEM students; improving the success rates in mathematics and science courses; providing professional development for regional K-16 STEM teachers, developing community, business, industry partnerships to generate additional interest in STEM careers, and increasing community awareness of the need and importance of a STEM-focused education.
Teachers: The SwISTEM Resource Center offers a nurturing, team-oriented approach to STEM education for teachers. The center distributes and demonstrates best practices in STEM education, such as: SwISTEM Professional Development for K-16 teachers, and Summer STEM workshops in biology, chemistry, geology, physics, math and engineering.
Middle & High School Students:
The SwISTEM Resource Center
encourages students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering
and mathematics. STEM activities motivate students to select STEM majors.
Also, the SwISTEM Resource Center advocates STEM-related competitions and
camps; these contests and activities give students and teachers the
opportunity to experience the STEM discipline. Some examples of activities
are: Tri-State Science and Engineering Fair, Project Lead the Way
Conference, and many others.
Parents:The SwISTEM Resource Center equips parents with way to identify STEM-related activities and courses, both inside and outside the classroom, so they can support their child's STEM education.
School Administrators:Schools need highly skilled educators who can motivate and educate students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Teachers will be given recent research-based practices in STEM subjects.
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