The University of Virginia is hosting a science, technology, engineering and mathematics education workshop Thursday at Zehmer Hall and Friday at South Lawn Commons. The purpose is to discuss trends and best practices in curriculum innovation, collaboration and facilities design while looking to what lies ahead for STEM education at the University.
Faculty in STEM fields are encouraged to attend the Friday keynote presentation, “What’s Ahead for STEM at U.Va.” from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. in Nau Auditorium at South Lawn Commons.
“This is a rare project pulling together a cross-school committee looking at STEM instruction, research and space needs,” said Anna Towns, director of space planning and management in the College of Arts & Sciences and a workshop organizer.
Many of the University’s older science buildings need major renovation, according to University administrators who anticipate the need to construct additional science space to meet increased need for teaching and research driven by growth in enrollment and student interest in STEM fields.
The workshop is a step to engage faculty working on issues of pedagogy, curriculum planning and collaboration in the schools, to enlist their support as advisers and contributors to the facilities plan and to set principles and goals for the planning process and its outcome.
The workshop brings nationally recognized expertise in pedagogy, design of labs, teaching labs, and science and engineering buildings, and strategic planning of STEM programs at research universities.
Guest speakers include Jeanne Narum, director of the Independent Colleges Office and founding director of Project Kaleidoscope, and a nationally known expert on gathering, distilling and promoting best practices in visioning, planning and assessing undergraduate learning spaces; Rick Heinz and Floyd Fisk, laboratory consultants for Research Facilities Design, a lab design consulting firm; and Rick Kobus, Erik Mollo-Christensen and Nick Koulbanis, architects, planners and interior designers with Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, one of the nation’s leading architecture, planning and interior design firms for college and university science and technology projects.
Thursday morning’s sessions, facilitated by Narum, will focus on the 21st-century STEM learner and what they will become, and 21st-century curricular and pedagogical approaches. Following lunch and informal conversations among faculty groups, Narum, Heinz and Kobus will facilitate a discussion on where U.Va. may be heading regarding STEM education, and lead a session on spaces for the future that serve STEM learners in different settings and during different stages in their undergraduate career. The day will conclude with a Q&A session.
Friday’s session, a culmination of the previous day’s discussions, will be of particular interest to STEM faculty when Heinz, Narum, Kobus and U.Va. colleagues give their keynote presentation. A Q&A session will wrap up the workshop.
The workshop is sponsored by the College of Arts &Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Office of the Provost, the Vice President for Management and Budget, the Office of the Architect and Facilities Management. The Curry School of Education and the School of Nursing also are participating as stakeholders in undergraduate STEM education.