Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Exemplary Designation
Academic Priority: STEM Education
Across the U.S., the number of jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas is expected to increase dramatically by 2022. Meanwhile, U.S. high school students rank 23rd and 30th in science and mathematics readiness, respectively. Thus, supporting educational pathways into STEM careers is a priority at the UNO. UNO is researching and piloting “cradle to career” STEM initiatives to improve these outcomes locally and create models for national deployment.
The key university structure to support these outcomes is the interdisciplinary STEM Leadership Team. This team of 21 faculty members has worked closely with more than 30 community partners and businesses, and is now establishing a Citywide STEM Ecosystem organization to address Omaha's STEM education challenges. Encouraging results over the past two years include: increased retention rates in STEM classes on campus; expanded teacher training in local P12 schools; collaborative after-school programs for schools; refereed journal articles (often with direct participation of community partners); and more than $8,000,000 in federal and private foundation grants.
The partnership has been fueled by a detailed university STEM strategic plan and a formal leadership structure that continues to research, pilot, and sustain collaborative models of STEM pathway innovation. This innovation is directly built upon a foundation of community-engaged scholarship.
Judges praised this program for being "impactful" and an "excellent example of engaged scholarship".
The exemplary designation was presented at the 2016 Engagement Scholarship Consortium, hosted by UNO. Click here to learn more about the award recipients.
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