FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 24, 2006
Contact: Stan Maynard, (304) 696-2890
Marshall to create STEM Academy to assist teachers of science
Marshall University has received a grant from the State of West Virginia to create the Statewide 21st Century STEM Academy, which will serve teachers of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics throughout West Virginia.
“The mission of the Statewide 21st Century STEM Academy is to foster high-quality understanding and achievement by all students through shared leadership, effective teaching, and purposeful learning across PreK-20 systems,” said Dr. Stan Maynard, professor of teacher education and Director of the June Harless Center for Educational Research and Development. “The academy will focus on collaboration with schools and counties in West Virginia to design a personalized and comprehensive professional development plan that focuses on improving students’ understanding and achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. A technically competent scientist, mathematician or engineer in the 21st Century must have the ability to communicate and collaborate and be effective in all 21st Century skills such as problem solving and analytical thinking.”
State Sen. Robert H. Plymale, chair of the Senate Education Committee, said “the Statewide 21st Century STEM Academy will address the following critical needs:
"The Statewide 21st Century STEM Academy will be beneficial as we move forward with implementing our vision for 21st century learning, particularly in regard to professional development for teachers," said State Superintendent of Schools Steven Paine. "The STEM Academy also creates innovative models for teaching and learning that could be replicated throughout the state."
In addition to professional development for teachers and academic enrichment for students, the academy will serve as a clearinghouse to disseminate research regarding the effectiveness of different teaching and learning strategies in the STEM fields.
The STEM Academy will also serve as a liaison with regional and national organizations with an interest in STEM issues, will identify grant opportunities, and initiate the development of grant proposals to local, state, federal and private sources in support of its activities. There will also be a public outreach component so that parents, policymakers, business leaders, the news media and the general public can be informed about the importance of STEM education.
“Teacher education students at Marshall will benefit from the Academy, also,” said Dr. Sarah N. Denman, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Marshall. “We will be able to increase the math and science content knowledge and clinical experience of our teacher candidates. Any format that Marshall University can use to enhance and provide greater access in the STEM discipline fields is a tremendous benefit not only to our students and teachers, but also to the State of West Virginia.”
“The STEM Academy represents one of the signature initiatives in the strategic vision of Marshall University,” Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp said. “It is an important step toward advancing the foundations critical for success in the STEM fields. The academy will provide us with another way of reaching out to the local community and the state.”
The Statewide 21st Century STEM Academy activities are expected to begin this summer, according to Maynard.