Center for STEM Education and Outreach

The Center for STEM Education and Outreach is a vehicle to coordinate and connect activities across our campus with partners in K-12 schools and others interested in STEM.

James Madison University
Established: 2007

Profile submitted by David Slykhuis

Vision and Goals

The STEM Education and Outreach Center's mission is to foster high-quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for all students in grades K-16. We work with students, teachers, parents, policymakers and the general public by supporting high quality curriculum and professional development and sharing the many resources of JMU faculty, staff, and students with schools across Virginia. We serve as a point of collaboration and connection for faculty and staff on campus and we collaborate with internal and external partners on sponsored projects to improve STEM learning and teaching.

Center/Program Structure

The Center is run by three Co-Directors. One from the college of Engineering, one form Science and Mathematics and one for Education. Each director is given a .25 course buy-out each semester, the FTE would be .75. The co-Directors report to the Provost. The center has two part-time administrative assistants.
We have three additional groups that are part of the center. First, we have an external group of K-12 teachers and administrators that we meet with regularly to understand their STEM needs and to share STEM opportunities. Second, we have a group of STEM faculty within James Madison University that we assist with STEM projects, including matching JMU projects with local school divisions. Third, we have an advisory group composed of the five Dean's who have STEM related departments.

Description of Programming

The JMU Center for STEM Education and Outreach has been most successful as acting as a conduit between the University and the surrounding K-12 school districts. We have been successful in matching professors with a desire to impact K-12 students with the local schools and students. Hundreds, if not thousands, of students have come to campus for a wide variety of programs to enhance their STEM learning. In addition, we have worked with extensively with six to eight local school districts to advise their STEM programs. This includes sitting on the advisory board of one local school district that established a within school STEM Academy.

Successes and Impacts

One of the biggest successes has been a program that we implemented to provide JMU faculty members with small stipends in the summer to create summer working groups. These working groups have produced a variety of products including successful grant proposals.

Elements Contributing to Success

Our Center has benefitted by having the support of the Provost's office and having co-Director's from each of the Colleges that contain a majority of the STEM programs on campus.
Additionally, we have benefitted from being able to establish excellent working relationships with the local school districts. These relationships have been able to benefit both JMU and the school partners.