June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
13.1117.1 - 13.1117.19
Successful Institutionalization of a K-12 - University STEM Partnership Program
Clarkson University’s outreach efforts were initiated in 2000 primarily with a GK-12 grant from the National Science Foundation, which provided the fundamental basis for almost all of our current outreach activities: a project-based approach that provides both rigor and relevance to enhance teacher and student learning, and retention and interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines. In 2004, with the establishment of its Office of Educational Partnerships, Clarkson initiated a concerted effort to institutionalize its outreach efforts in a manner to increase the extent of these efforts, assess their impacts, and maintain the University’s commitment to area school districts for an extended period of time. Through these institutionalization efforts, our regional educational STEM Partnership now includes teachers and classes from all school districts in the county and over 20 faculty members from STEM departments who are leading in-class or teacher development activities in subjects ranging from “Finding Nano” to robotics to ecology.
The development of an extensive partnership beyond Clarkson’s campus has been a critically important aspect of the success and growth of our outreach programs. Partners include the county-wide Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and other nearby Universities that provide synergistic expertise, including educational assessment. The partnership helps to provide an umbrella organization and common themes across all individual programs, which help to main continuity for all stakeholders as the specific funding sources come and go. The common elements that have been consistent across all individual programs and that have been shown to be critical to our success include: (1) hands-on, inquiry and project-based activities that emphasize academic rigor and cover relevant, cutting-edge topics; (2) integration of STEM disciplines and use of technology in the classroom; (3) training and workshops for K-12 teachers and college students and faculty involved in the programs; and, (4) communication and networking among all stakeholders involved.
Introduction – Regional programs and need
The need for Universities to be more involved in partnerships with K-12 educational systems has been stressed by industries, federal and state governments and such esteemed organizations as the NAS and the NAE. Universities themselves are also concerned with the quality of incoming students – many of whom are ill prepared for the rigorous class work and critical thinking required for engineering majors. The net result has been the development of programs at numerous campuses, many of which survive only for the duration of the initial funding source and then disappear. Like many schools, Clarkson University has traditionally had a few small and isolated K-12 outreach programs. However, in 2004 with the establishment of its Office of Educational Partnerships, it initiated a concerted effort to institutionalize its outreach efforts in a manner to increase the extent of these efforts, assess their impacts, and maintain the University’s commitment to area school districts for an extended period of time. As with our integrated approach to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, we also see the various programs as parts of an integrated whole with beneficial synergies among almost all the
Powers, S., & Brydges, B., & Gotham, G., & Carroll, J., & Turner, P., & Bohl, D. (2008, June), Successful Institutionalization Of K 12 Outreach Programs Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3969
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