Posted 7/10/2013 09:02 am
Updated 9 months ago
The University of Arkansas announced Wednesday that it will lead an initiative to increase its number of STEM graduates in partnership with the state's two-year colleges.
The goal is to increase the number of graduates with bachelor's degrees in the STEM fields -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Beginning in the spring of 2014, the UA will offer online, undergraduate STEM courses to the state's two-year schools with a goal of helping prepare associate-degree students for bachelor's level work.
Coursework will include classes in calculus, physics and engineering. The initiative is a program of the UA's College of Engineering in partnership with the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and the UA's Global Campus.
The UA is seeking funding for the program through the National Science Foundation.
"For the state of Arkansas and its flagship higher education institution, the University of Arkansas, getting involved and making sure that a project like this one comes to fruition is not an option; it is a crucial need," said UA Provost Sharon Gaber in a letter to NSF. "The benefits of STEM enrollment growth will be felt directly by both the state and its employers, as more STEM jobs will stay in Arkansas, and be filled by Arkansans."
The UA plans to launch the initiative regardless of whether the project is funded by NSF.
"While occupations requiring a STEM degree are growing, the United States is falling behind other countries in graduating students with these degrees," said Terry Martin, who served as interim dean of the College of Engineering this past year, in a news release.
"At the College of Engineering, we are committed to our goal of increasing the number of highly trained engineers entering the workforce, and this program will contribute greatly toward that goal."
Bryan Hill, assistant dean of student recruitment, honors and international programs at the College of Engineering, is leading the effort to build the program.