JOHNSON CITY (May 24, 2013) —The importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education will be the focus for speakers and attendees alike for the seventh annual Math and Science Education Conference sponsored by East Tennessee State University, May 28-29 at the Millennium Centre.
More than 200 participants will hear from national, regional, and local leaders stressing the ongoing need for strengthening the education system—kindergarten through college—that will better prepare students with the knowledge and skills to succeed and to move our economy forward.
The conference is sponsored by ETSU’s Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education, ETSU’s Northeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub, and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN).
According to Dr. Jack Rhoton, executive director of the Center of Excellence, the conference theme-- “Bridging the Gap: Building Capacity and Connecting STEM Education at all Levels”-- seeks to examine meaningful connections in STEM learning across all levels of education with a particular emphasis on enabling learners to participate in more authentic STEM practices and experiences.
Rhoton explained that the conference-- taking place in a rapididly changing education landscape—is “critical to bringing K-12 school districts, post secondary education, STEM businesses, and community organizations together in hard-hitting discussions geared toward creating a collective impact to advance STEM teaching and learning.”
Following conference registration from 10:00 a.m.-noon Tuesday, luncheon speaker Dr. Rodger Bybee will address “The Next Generation Science Standards and STEM Education: Challenges and Opportunties. In his talk, the former executive director of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) will discuss two inititatives that are changing the STEM education landscape.
Dr. Richard Rhoda, executive director, Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC); Dr. Mark Musick, chair, Quillen Chair of Excellence in Teaching and Learning; and Dr. Mike Krause, assistant executive director, Tennessee Higher Education Commission, will discuss “What’s Coming, or May be Coming, for Assessing Student Performance in Tennessee,” with particular emphasis on PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career) and ACT assessments.
The curriculum and best practices originating from the Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee, a platform school of TSIN, and a school of excellence with co-goverances between Kingsport City Schools and the Sullivan County Board of Education, with support from ETSU, will be be discussed by Sandy Watkins, principal of IA, Jessica Carr, science teacher at IA, Vanessa Greenlee, Language Arts teacher at IA, and Scott Reis, math teacher at IA. The moderator for this session will be Dr. Jack Rhoton.
Tuesday’s dinner speaker, Dr. Gary Nixon, is executive director of the state Board of Education in Nashville. In his talk he will discuss recent and emerging inititaties that have come before the State Board of Education.
On Wednesday, Dr. Janice Gilliam, president, Northeast State Community College; Dr. Wade McCamey, president, Walter’s State Community College; and Dean Blevins, director, Tennessee Technology Center at Elizabethton, will present a session on “ Bridging the Gap: The Important Role of Community Colleges and Career and Technical Centers in STEM Education.” The panel will discuss how the community colleges and technical centers are uniquely situated to grow the pipline of STEM-related skilled workers to meet the demand of middle-and high-skill jobs.
Three sessions are planned as concurrent breakout sessions. Breakout session one will be presented by Mary Howell, outreach coordinator, State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE); breakout session two will be presented by Dr. Chris Liu, associate professor, ETSU, Department of Biological Sciences; and session three will be co- presented by Dr. Chih-Che Tai, assistant director, ETSU CEMSE; and Dr. Anant Godbole, professor, ETSU Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Ms. Howell will outline Tennessee’s reform work and its impact on student achievement in the state. Dr. Liu will examine the research of past climate change in southern Appalachians and its impact on STEM education. Dr. Godbole and Dr. Tai will examine the wide array of STEM education initiatives at ETSU.
Dr. James Hamos, acting deputy division director, Natonal Science Foundation, will be featured during the closing luncheon session on Wednesday. His talk will focus on “Embracing the Future of K-16 STEM Education: A National Perspecive.”