Vermont STEM Collaborative
To coordinate, energize and advance STEM opportunities for all students and educators across Vermont that promote informed, creative and sustained problem solving, investigation and design practices.
University of Vermont and State Agricultural College
Profile submitted by Regina Toolin
Vision and Goals
- To promote and advance STEM literacy, achievement and career opportunities for Vermont's students.
- To develop and foster a collaborative STEM network for Vermont's educators, administrators, Agency of Education and state government representatives, students, businesses and other STEM organizations (i.e. Destination Imagination, Tech Jam, Makerspace etc.) that are involved with STEM education and initiatives in Vermont.
- To promote diversity within the STEM fields through work force development, business partnerships and cross-disciplinary collaborations.
The VSTEM Collaborative is an independent unit that consists of a group of stakeholders from across Vermont who are interested in advancing STEM education opportunities for Vermont's students and educators. Currently there are over 75 members of the collaborative. We meet on a monthly basis to share STEM resources and initiatives, report on STEM education research and programs, and to collaborate on new STEM initiatives in Vermont. This is a collaborative partnership initiated by Regina Toolin, who serves as the VSTEM Director. The Director is assisted by other members in maintaining the website and VSTEM Commons portal.
Are there advantages of being structured this way?
Are there particular challenges that result from this structure?
VSTEM has received small grants from the College of Education and Social Services and MSP funding for the VSTEM professional development program
How has this funding structure influenced the undergraduate STEM education programming the center offers?
VSTEM is a collaborative includes professors from across UVM that serves both undergraduate and graduate student populations.
What are the specific advantages of having a center funded in this way?
What are the challenges?
We do not have a regular funding structure. Participation is voluntary.
Has this funding structure has changed over time?
Description of Programming
Our current initiatives include the VSTEM Commons Portal, an online open-access database of STEM education resources that is currently housed on our webpage. We are in year 2 of the VSTEM Leadership Institute, a K-12 professional development program that emphasizes NGSS implementation and the development of a STEM leadership network throughout Vermont.
Successes and Impacts
Our achievements include the establishment of a state-wide network of scientists, mathematicians, engineers, STEM educators, K-12 teachers, non-profits and STEM business professionals. The VSTEM Commons Portal currently houses over 150 STEM education resources, initiatives and programs. The VSTEM Leadership Institute has partnered with 5 school districts impacting over 700 students statewide.
Evaluation and Assessment
How does your center demonstrate its value, both in terms of assessing its own programming and responding to external evaluation?
Elements Contributing to Success
The VSTEM Collaborative is housed at the University of Vermont, the flagship university in the Vermont State College System.
Essay: VSTEM Collaborative Mission and Vision Process - Regina Toolin, Vermont STEM Collaborative - VSTEM, University of Vermont and State Agricultural College