Thanks to financial support provided by The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) in 2018, the VFIC took several specific steps to enhance the quality of STEM education offered by the fifteen schools in our consortium. We launched this effort based on widespread research showing that schools needed to explore how they might improve STEM education at the undergraduate level.
During the 2018-2019 academic year, the VFIC held a series of strategic workshops and campus tours and brought together academic deans, faculty, department heads, and facilities managers from each of our schools to discuss the successes they have achieved teaching STEM subjects and to share best practices for enhancing their work in both the lab and the classroom. The group also identified key focus areas that needed to be addressed in the course of enhancing STEM education.
Working with our schools as a collaborative body, we identified three areas of special focus where educators could have the greatest impact in the classroom and the community and students could deepen their knowledge of science:
- Providing VFIC undergraduates with the opportunity to engage with faculty in student-driven research and data collection on a STEM-related project
- Creating opportunities to identify and share best pedagogical practices for teaching the STEM disciplines
- Establishing and implementing programs for community outreach so that student research can be applied to achieve public good