Thursday, September 5, 2013

ARC Town Hall Meeting - September 6: Science needs more attention

September 6 is the ARC campus Town Hall meeting to solicit suggestions on choosing the next college President. I plan to go. Why? Here's why:

The Science division has not received the resources it needs to support the type of learning we want to provide for our students. Several faculty have discussed and proposed projects that engage students in investigative, inquiry-based science projects, but our facilities have been insufficient to support this valuable component of learning science. With all the construction projects that have been done on this campus, we are still struggling among ourselves for laboratory space to support our courses. How will we be able to take the next step to foster the inquiry-based laboratory learning that we want? Yes, we do have a new Arts/Science building, but we did not get more laboratory space for our students.

Other campuses in California and the U.S. have STEM-enriched facilities that provide the space and resources to support hands-on, laboratory-based learning. The resources include updated equipment and technology to help students be more competitive when they transfer to four-year colleges or enter the workforce. So our campus can do better with science.

Since posting this, I've received some more points to add to our call for more attention to STEM education:

1. President Obama's administration has made STEM education a priority for the nation, as shown in the Administration's five-year strategic plan:
The health and longevity of our Nation’s, citizenry, economy and environmental resources depend in large part on the acceleration of scientific and technological innovations, such as those that improve health care, inspire new industries, protect the environment, and safeguard us from harm. Maintaining America’s historical preeminence in the STEM fields will require a concerted and inclusive effort to ensure that the STEM workforce is equipped with the skills and training needed to excel in these fields.
2. The Carnegie Corporation of New York is coordinating a collaborative national movement 100Kin10, which was created to meet the growing need for students with STEM knowledge and skills with 100,000 new excellent teachers by 2021

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