Initial Publication Date: July 30, 2020

Project Overview

We are underprepared at multiple levels for the economic, environmental, and societal disruptions that accompany the advance of global civilization and technology. The citizens of tomorrow must be better able to understand, discover, develop, and implement innovative and principled solutions to complex, STEM-infused problems in a rapidly changing environment. Traditional forms of science literacy alone are not enough to meet the evolving needs of a society facing STEM-infused challenges on every front. To remedy this problem, we organize our thinking about the future substance of STEM education into three broad categories —what we need to know, how we act on that knowledge, and the values we bring to our knowledge and action. Learn more about the framework

Participants in this 50-person virtual event will delve deeply into this knowledge framework through a series of speakers and discussions. The September 24 workshop session will be used to form design teams aligned with participants' interests. These teams will then engage in a week long virtual design studio translating the knowledge framework into example degree and certificate programs (e.g. a chemistry degree program that incorporates meta and humanistic knowledge alongside foundational knowledge; a certificate program in Anthropocene Sciences). Each team will produce a program description, learning outcomes, a capstone assessment, and an artifact that demonstrates the character of the program (e.g. a list of courses/requirements; a course syllabi that exemplifies the program philosophy; an activity that exemplifies or typifies the program). To deepen and enrich the design experience, teams will interact in small groups with other teams and the workshop participants as a whole. The workshop will conclude with a focus on implementation strategies and recommendations for the larger community.

Project Goals and Outcomes

  • Explore the use of the knowledge structure as a format for the construction of STEM education plans.
  • Produce a set of 10 designs that demonstrate how the knowledge framework could be implemented in higher education.
  • Develop a set of implementation strategies and recommendations for development and implementation of a new generation of degree and certificate programs like those modeled in the workshop designs.
  • Model transdisciplinary interaction in the generation of STEM education plans.
  • Create a community of practice that can move this work forward beyond the virtual experience.


Webinars: September 15, 17, 23, and 24, 2020
All participants in the design studio are required to attend or listen to the webinars.
Team Formation and Preparation for Workshop: Sept 24, 2020 - required for participation in the design studio

Workshop: October 5-9, 2020. Participants should expect to work for 4 hours each day. Synchronous sessions will be scheduled between 11 and 4 Eastern/10 and 3 Central/9 and 2 Mountain/8 and 1Pacific.


Participants in the Design Studio are expected to

  • complete pre-workshop readings
  • attend the webinar series either synchronously or asynchronously and participate in associated discussion board
  • participate fully in the Sept 24 team formation and preparation event before the workshop
  • participate fully in the design studio, contribute equitably to the development of design products, and engage in review and discussion of other design models


The design studio is free for all accepted participants. Design studio products will be freely available to the public.

Webinars are free and open to the public and can be attended individually or as a series by individuals who are not participating in the design studio.

Application and Selection Criteria

The Future Substance of STEM Education project seeks to gather a range of participants representing diverse experiences, disciplines, and roles within higher education. Faculty/experts external to STEM disciplines are also welcomed. Participants may apply as individuals, institutional teams or topical teams who seek to work together on a specific degree or curriculum product. All individual applicants will form five person teams at the Sept 24 virtual event. All institutional or topical teams must identify a leader who is responsible for the completion of the final design products.

We will select approximately 50 participants to create a participant group with diverse experience and expertise that is well positioned to design model programs. To this end we will review applications for relevant experience in the design or execution of programs or certificates, as well as for evidence of strong, creative interest. We will select participants from a range of institution types, disciplines and positions in higher education as well as diverse backgrounds.


All activities will take place on-line and be facilitated by a combination of websites and Zoom. Participants will need to have robust internet access that allows synchronous participation in Zoom rooms and a modern web browser.

For More Information

Chelsea Goldsmith (cgoldsm3 at or Joe Tamer (Ajoseph.Tamer at