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NEWS RELEASE: Pace University to launch STEM Collaboratory to address dramatic needs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (STEM)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Pace University to launch STEM Collaboratory to address dramatic needs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (STEM)

New York, Dec. 12 – The School of Education and the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University announce the creation of the Pace STEM Collaboratory to facilitate interdisciplinary research and the exchange of ideas among students, faculty, and staff in STEM disciplines, and support teaching and learning at the middle and high-school levels through continued and expanded relationships with public schools in the region.

A cocktail reception to celebrate the launch of the Pace STEM Collaboratory will be held on Thursday, December 13, at Andaz Residences Rooftop Terrace and Lounge, 75 Wall Street, New York, NY, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. Members of the media must RSVP to lbirney@pace.edu.

The Collaboratory’s goals include:

•           Identifying and developing a pipeline of STEM students and teachers in the greater New York area in grades 6 through 12;

•           Integrating STEM best practices in the preparation of workforce-ready students at the college level;

•           Increasing the proficiency of specially selected grade 6 through 12 teachers and administrators in STEM teaching;

•           Developing ways to motivate learners to persevere in the study of science, technology, engineering, and math; and

•           Launching an interdisciplinary STEM research group based at Pace University that will be a clearinghouse for successful initiatives in STEM education.

STEM education is commonly defined as the interdisciplinary teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to a level of rigor sufficient to produce critical thinkers and problem solvers across all disciplines in this endeavor. It has become accepted that the American educational pipeline is not presently equipped to provide the skills necessary to meet the demands of the STEM workforce. Lack of school resources, deficient support in the content areas, and the isolation of the teacher are all contributing factors. As a result, the K-12 educational system is not sending enough students into the college ranks with the preparation necessary to be successful science and math students, a trend reflected in the global achievement gap (SDCOE/LEA, 2010).

The situation is only becoming more critical.  By 2016, the 10 fastest growing occupations in New York State will require STEM competencies (New York State Department of Labor, 2010).  Furthermore, the rapid growth of jobs in STEM-related fields such as biotech, computer science, information technology, telecommunications, medicine, and pharmaceuticals has coincided with the realities of an aging workforce and unacceptably low percentages of women, Hispanics, and African Americans in the STEM workforce.

A focus of the Pace STEM Collaboratory will be the development of mobile “apps” for STEM learning that leverage the growing “bring our own device” movement, recognizing the proliferation of smart phones among middle and high school students and seeking to use the technology as a vibrant instructional delivery system. The leadership team, Dr. Lauren Birney of the School of Education and Dr. Jonathan Hill of the Seidenberg School, have many years of experience in promoting and developing STEM education programs, coupled with longstanding relationships with educators, academics, and private sector stakeholders. The funding for the STEM Center project was provided by the Verizon Foundation.

Pace seeks to address these issues by partnering with teachers and students in New York metropolitan area schools to improve STEM teaching and learning. Over the past few years, STEM faculty from across Pace have come together to develop relationships with several underserved, diverse public schools in the New York region.  Altogether, the schools reach nearly 5,000 students between Pace faculty support teachers and students at these schools through: faculty/teacher mentoring relationships; curriculum development; creation of inquiry-based projects for students; and teacher training and development.

Pace’s work with K-12 school partners employs the STEM interdisciplinary approach to learning, defined by the coupling of rigorous academic concepts with heuristic lessons that students can apply to the content areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  Students are then able to use this information to make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise, enabling the development of STEM literacy and with it the ability to compete internationally (Tspuros, 2009). STEM inquiry-based learning support at several of Pace’s partner schools has indicated that providing these resources will increase interest in STEM fields, provide sufficient teacher support, and create innovative resource opportunities for schools.

About the Program Personnel:

Principal Investigator – Dr. Lauren B. Birney, Ed.D, is an urban STEM educator with 25 years of experience in the field. She teaches in the School of Education at Pace University preparing pre-service and in-service teachers in the areas of curriculum and instruction, classroom management, teaching methodologies and research techniques. Lauren’s focus is to create programs that encourage student engagement in STEM Education, create meaningful science curriculum and provide interactive inquiry based professional development for teachers.

Co-Principal Investigator – Dr. Jonathan Hill, DPS, is Associate Dean of Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems in New York. Jonathan came to Pace in 2003 with significant experience in both academia and technology. His research interests include education technology, gamification, entrepreneurship, web development, software engineering and integrated digital learning.

About Pace University:

Since 1906, Pace has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu

Media contact:  Bill Caldwell, Pace, 212-346-1597, wcaldwell@pace.edu

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