The University of South Florida is investing heavily in STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education for 2016.
For starters, USF's main campus in Tampa recently received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The campus' College of Arts and Sciences will use the money to develop evidence-based teaching strategies for STEM programs, according to a statement.
Chemistry professor Gerhard Meisels will lead a five-year project dubbed Steer, which stands for Systemic Transformation of Evidence-based Education Reform. The ultimate goal of the project is to “increase the number of well-prepared graduates” in STEM fields, Meisels says in the release.
“This project helps meet a statewide and national need for the technology-prepared workforce of the future economy,” Meisels adds.
The grant comes after a significant STEM announcement from USF Sarasota-Manatee officials: That campus will open a new College of Science and Mathematics, part of a realignment scheduled for next fall. The Sarasota-Manatee campus will also combine the College of Arts and Sciences with the College of Education, creating the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor Sandra Stone says the realignment is timely because STEM students are in high demand throughout the business community. Increasing STEM education “will help us better position ourselves to meet the workforce needs in the next five years,” Stone tells Coffee Talk. “To be a better partner to the business community, we need to deliver what they need.”