USF receives $3 million grant to explore STEM teaching methods

The National Science Foundation recently awarded the University of South Florida's (USF) College of Arts and Sciences a grant of nearly $3 million to boost the school's commitment to evidence-based teaching in the STEM fields.

The STEM fields -- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math -- are increasingly seen as important industries with a growing demand for skilled workers. USF will fund a five-year research effort called Systemic Transformation of Evidence-Based Education Reform, or STEER . The project hopes to go beyond the basics of teaching STEM subjects and look for the most effective strategies and approaches.

“Ultimately, the project will increase the number of well-prepared graduates in the STEM fields and share the model with other universities that have similar objectives,” chemistry professor Gerhard Meisels said. “This project helps meet a statewide and national need for the technology-prepared workforce of the future economy.”

The research team's findings will contribute to a dynamic program for USF faculty that will include STEM-specific training, work assignments, and activities with newly created support systems. Faculty and staff have already spent two years planning STEM programs through a previous grant.

School officials said the STEER initiative will confirm USF as a leader in STEM education.

“STEER is the result of a true team effort by faculty, staff and administrators drawn broadly from throughout the University,” Meisels said. “All members of the team deserve equal credit for conducting a rigorous and time-consuming planning process that led to the success of the grant. I also applaud the team members’ commitment to continue to guide the implementation phase with the same energy, focus and enthusiasm that they showed in the planning phase. STEER demonstrates USF’s commitment to our students.”

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The University of South Florida College of Arts and Sciences

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