2014 Transforming STEM Higher Education
Network for Academic Renewal Conference
The Transforming STEM Higher Education Conference, co-sponsored by AAC&U and PKAL, addresses both the importance of increasing the number of STEM baccalaureate degree earners who master complex STEM content and competencies and also the importance of enhancing STEM literacy for all students. To these ends, the conference will strategically address several dimensions of STEM higher education reform, including innovative and effective approaches to undergraduate STEM teaching and learning; strategies for measurement and evaluation; inclusive excellence; faculty professional development; and advancement of effective institutional change strategies.
The potential for discovery and innovation to successfully address society’s most significant challenges is enhanced by the synergy that exists between rapidly advancing technologies and deepening scientific knowledge. In order for the U.S. to fully realize this potential and remain globally competitive, however, one million more STEM baccalaureates are needed in the next ten years (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, 2012). As noted in the 2013 AAC&U Survey, It Takes More Than a Major, these STEM graduates will also need to possess capacities to think critically, communicate effectively, and solve complex problems as part of a broad portfolio of learning that is required for graduate/professional school persistence, successful employment, and societal contribution.
Successfully cultivating a national appreciation of the importance of STEM higher education and its inextricable link to a competitive workforce and a scientifically-literate citizenry will require radical approaches that not only enhance undergraduate STEM learning, but also broaden the participation of underrepresented groups and empower STEM faculty. Thus, our success in reforming undergraduate STEM education lies in our capacity to embrace all disciplines, our intentionality to include all students, and our willingness to engage all perspectives. This meeting seeks to bring together key campus leaders and communities to advance these multiple goals.