University of Southern Indiana

About SwISTEM

 

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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.

The 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.

 

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.

WIRED Grant
In 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 A portion of this grant funded activities that: The WIRED Grant is no longer active.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 Crane)
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.

 


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