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Faculty suggest ‘STEM hub’ to boost education efforts

stem-detailPULLMAN, Wash. – Some 30 faculty, staff and administrators learned about STEM resources, grant availability and connections to the arts during a half-day workshop to bolster Washington State University’s research, teaching and learning in STEM education.

stem-workshop
STEM education workshop participants use yarn and tape to visualize a network connecting their disciplines. The session, led by Joe Hedges and Reza Safavi, was called STEM + A(RT).

Participants determined that WSU could use a central STEM hub to help provide information and facilitate working together.

“We need to find a way to increase communication and increase collaboration,” said Paul Whitney, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. He moderated the workshop and encouraged clearer standards for crediting collaborative research and teaching during faculty review and promotion.

Becky James, who manages grant proposals for the Office of Research, detailed several STEM funding opportunities including National Science Foundation programs totaling “literally millions of dollars.” And she encouraged getting a head start, even for 2017 grants.

“Plan ahead,” she said. “You cannot write a good grant in a month.”

Speakers and participants came from the traditional STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as education, the arts and humanities.

Sponsored by the Office of Research, the workshop was aimed at sharing ideas on best practices to benefit WSU students, stimulate collaborations to promote an institution-wide culture of effective STEM education, and help build teams for competitive extramural funding for STEM initiatives.

WSU’s efforts to improve STEM education are part of the Grand Challenges initiative stimulating research to address some of society’s most complex issues. The work is particularly relevant to the challenge “Advancing Opportunity and Equity” and its theme of improving formal and informal education throughout the lifespan.

 

 

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