Workshop on the Substance of STEM Education

Ariel Anbar
Arizona State University

We are underprepared at multiple levels for the economic, environmental, and societal disruptions that accompany the advance of global civilization and technology. The citizens of tomorrow must be better able to understand, discover, develop, and implement innovative and principled solutions to complex, STEM-infused problems in a rapidly changing environment. Learning to succeed in this world will require new kinds of learning and new forms of knowledge. Our students will need to go beyond mere knowledge of STEM disciplines. They will need creativity, ingenuity, and the ability to work collaboratively. And they will need to understand the broader social and the ethical contexts within which we live and work.To this end, the heart of the STEM Futures project was a week-long virtual design-studio workshop experience for faculty in STEM disciplines to collaboratively develop new programs and curriculum materials. The goal was to advance innovative visions for STEM education that go beyond the acquisition of core content knowledge to integrate mindsets and values. This integrative framework was introduced in a white paper that was shared prior to the design-studio workshop sessions, and explored through a webinar series conducted prior to the workshop. 105 individuals, accepted from 179 applicants, formed into 25 teams. The final products of the workshop included a diverse and innovative set of curricular design products, including: 6 degree programs, 9 certificate programs, 7 efforts for courses, course components, or curricular alignments, and 3 training and professional development programs. These efforts spanned traditional disciplines such as Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Engineering, and the Health Sciences, as well as more interdisciplinary STEM programs. These diverse teams designed their materials for a broad array of audiences including STEM majors and non-majors, first-year students, disciplinary majors in upper-level courses, college faculty, preservice teachers, student leaders, and college STEM-bound high school students. Despite the range of content covered and audiences targeted by these different curricular designs, one thing stayed constant: the intentional, meaningful and contextually relevant integration of foundational, meta, and humanistic knowledge.


Ariel Anbar