VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University’s College of Engineering has taken its commitment to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education outreach to a new level by launching the Villanova STEM Collaborative, which aims to expand the growth of STEM schools, programs and resources throughout the Delaware Valley.
Led by Dr. Stephen Jones, Associate Dean of Students and Strategic Programs in Villanova’s College of Engineering, the Villanova STEM Collaborative includes 14 original members representing programs with a range of depth and resources. Members include public and Catholic high schools with STEM programming built into the curriculum, STEM charter and magnet schools, and the City of Philadelphia, which is also involved in the “US 2020” STEM initiative to increase the number of STEM-prepared professionals by 2020. The group’s corporate partners include Lockheed Martin and Dow Company.
“As interest in STEM education and activities continues to grow, it seems to me that everyone involved will benefit from sharing our knowledge and experience,” said Dr. Jones, who hopes this effort will inspire more local and national companies to develop partnerships with STEM schools and universities. The intended outcome: an increase in students who pursue degrees in engineering and science, and who become STEM professionals.
At the first gathering of the Villanova STEM Collaborative, members discussed future priorities including sharing best practices, learning what other programs are doing with respect to STEM education and activities, and determining how faculty and staff can better support STEM students. Recognizing that many STEM programs in the suburbs are “pay to play,” the Collaborative also wants to consider ways in which all students can have access to these opportunities. The group is particularly interested in working together to have a bigger impact on STEM in Philadelphia.
Villanova STEM Collaborative members also used their inaugural meeting to brainstorm specific STEM issues that need to be addressed. Among those issues are teacher innovation, encouraging more young women to consider computer science, the role of mentoring and industry collaboration, and the possibility of hiring second-career professionals to teach STEM-related classes.
“Our first gathering was encouraging,” Dr. Jones added. “We hope that new members will join us.”
The Villanova STEM Collaborative continues the College of Engineering’s long-standing committed to STEM education outreach. The College participates in a number of national STEM endeavors, including LEAD’s Summer Engineering Institute, and also has established its own programs, such as VESTED (Villanova Engineering, Science, and Technology Enrichment and Development) and NovaCANE (Villanova Community Action by New Engineers).
The Villanova University College of Engineering, founded in 1905, is committed to an educational program that emphasizes technical excellence and a liberal arts education within the framework of the University’s Augustinian Catholic tradition. The result: “Whole-Brain Engineers,” who pursue both knowledge and wisdom, and aspire to ethical and moral leadership within their chosen careers, their community and the world.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.