FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg was on Capitol Hill this week to detail how the university is changing the game with innovative approaches to STEM education at all levels.
Invited to participate in the American Chemical Society’s Science & the Congress Project, co-hosted by U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., Rosenberg was joined by theoretical physicist and member of the President’s Council of Advisers in Science and Technology Sylvester James Gates Jr.; Dow Chemicals’ Senior Director for Government Affairs Eunice Heath; and Chief Executive Officer of Change the Equation Linda Rosen.
“Considering that over the next 10 years, 18 to 19 percent of our graduates will pursue STEM degrees, FIU is well poised to make an impact on the national goal of 1 million new STEM grads,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg spoke of FIU’s success in attracting and successfully graduating underrepresented minorities with degrees in STEM disciplines and explained how other universities can follow a similar model. Such successful practices at FIU include empowered faculty, peer-led learning, use of modeling instruction and the opening of the Mastery Math Lab, which has already increased passage rates in College Algebra from 30 percent to 50 percent.
Central to his remarks were the impact faculty and student-learning assistants can have on students’ ability to learn advanced material encountered in STEM curriculum.
“Today FIU has 500 learning assistants, they are the ones who have helped us to turn this situation around,” said Rosenberg, referring to FIU’s increasing success in STEM disciplines.
Also mentioned were FIU’s partnerships with local high schools which help strengthen the skills necessary for success in STEM fields prior to college attendance; and the recently launched STEM Transformation Institute, which responds to several key recommendations made by the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology to meet the national imperative for more and diverse scientists and engineers.
Joining Rosenberg were College of Arts & Sciences Dean Kenneth G. Furton and several local alumni working on Capitol Hill and federal agencies.
For information on FIU’s STEM Transformation Institute, contact Laird Kramer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Charles Garabedian