Demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals is projected to grow heavily, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates 9 million STEM-related jobs will be created over the next eight years. Regent University recognizes this trend and is providing a way for teachers to bring STEM education into their classrooms with a new STEM certification program offered through the School of Education.
“The wide array of problems that will face the next generation will require a different way of thinking about solutions,” said Dr. Jenny Sue Flannagan, associate professor and director of the Martinson Center for Math & Science. “Solving the unknown complex issues will require critical and creative thinkers who are able to inquire, research and design.”
The “National Math + Science Initiative” estimates that one-third of students lose interest in these subjects by fourth grade. By eighth grade, 50 percent of students are disengaged. Regent’s new certificate program is targeted to equip kindergarten through sixth grade teachers with teaching methods to get their students excited about STEM. The 10-credit-hour program is designed to give teachers confidence in teaching STEM in age-appropriate ways.
Four courses comprise the STEM certificate and cover a variety of topics. These include principles for effective STEM instruction in the elementary classroom, state and national standards, inquiry based instruction, computation thinking, real world problem solving, integrated curriculum models, learning activities, and instructional strategies that promote critical and creative thinking. The curriculum makes connections between science and engineering practices and addresses the challenges of question development, use of models and simulations, and designing and planning investigations.
“The good news is we already have opportunity to teach our students how to think critically and creatively, and those opportunities begin in the elementary science program,” said Flannagan. “This unique certificate will allow teachers to design engineering experiences based on science experiences while using technology and math to represent complex models in the world. Through an integrated approach, teachers will learn how to equip their students to shape students’ intellectual development while fostering a passion for STEM careers.”
Regent’s admissions counselors are taking questions and enrolling students into the new program. Classes start Fall Semester 2015.