Paving the Way for STEM Education


By: Dr. Jeff Weld, Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council Executive Director

I had the privilege to serve on the Committee on STEM Education of the National Science and Technology Council. It was our responsibility, as a committee, to pave the way for constant improvement in the STEM community for the upcoming year. Our committee reviewed the efficiency of STEM education programs, investments and activities, from which we developed a strategic plan to implement for the future of STEM education. 

The strategic plan we created for STEM education will be executed to help achieve new goals and objectives throughout the STEM community. This plan is built on four approaches designed around specific objectives. These four tactics include Develop and Enrich Strategic Partnership, Engage Students where Disciplines Converge, Build Computational Literacy and Operate with Transparency and Accountability. 

Develop and Enrich Strategic Partnership: the pathway of the plan which concentrates on relationships and connections between educational institutions, employers and their communities. Having these networks enriches each STEM learner’s educational and career paths. Relationships will be reinforced through work-based learning experiences, internships, apprenticeships and research experiences, all based on the goal of engaging interest in STEM fields. 

Engage Students where Disciplines Converge: this pathway of the plan is all about making STEM learning more meaningful for learners by focusing on real-world problems requiring more creativity. Activities such as project-based learning, science fairs, robotics clubs, invention challenges and workshops will all encourage more meaningful learning in STEM fields. These activities will inspire a STEM-literate population to better prepare students for an ever-evolving STEM workplace. 

Build Computational Literacy:  integrating digital devices in STEM learning to adopt strategies that will empower students. This pathway reassures computational thinking as a critical skill used to solve complex problems with data. With technology always changing and adapting, we hope to expand the use of digital platforms for both teaching and learning in STEM. 

Operate with Transparency and Accountability: the last pathway, , emphasizes using evidence-based practices in decision-making for STEM programs, investments and activities. In order to maintain transparency, we will monitor progress made toward achieving the goals of this national plan and communicate our findings to the STEM community. 

This past year was filled with collaboration between STEM professionals from around the country. I am honored to serve as Executive Director for the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council because I believe it’s our bold vision that makes Iowa a STEM leader. We will continue to see the Council’s ongoing efforts and implementation of our new national plan throughout the coming years. I look forward to working closely with the parents, legislators, employers and constituents of our state to carry-out the promises of this plan and continuously build on STEM education in our state.

To view a webinar with additional information about the Federal STEM plan, click HERE.