The Georgia Highlands College Center for STEM Learning aims to strengthen the quality of STEM education throughout Northwest GA, increase the number of students graduating in STEM disciplines in order to meet local and national workforce needs, build the college’s capacity to advance knowledge in STEM disciplines by providing targeted learning resources, participate in the USG STEM Network, and enhance recruitment of students, staff, and faculty such that these populations better reflect the need for diversity in STEM majors.
The vision of the Center for STEM Learning is to be a premier, transformative center dedicated to the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in all of Northwest Georgia.
The mission and vision of the GHC Center for STEM Learning is founded on four guiding principles:
1. Excellence in Teaching: GHC is committed to identifying and hiring faculty dedicated to the success of its students through the inclusion of evidence-based best practices in the classroom such as inquiry-based instruction, integrated science curriculum, distance learning strategies, and discipline-targeted advising. Promotion and tenure of GHC STEM faculty is awarded primarily for excellence in teaching rather than publishing original research or winning multi-million dollar grants. GHC STEM faculty boast degrees from some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country including Tulane University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Auburn University, University of Florida, Ball State University, Emory University, East Stroudsburg University, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Tennessee.
2. Inspiring Learners: The Center for STEM Learning at Georgia Highlands College is devoted to inspiring student appreciation and excitement for STEM subjects and careers. Current students majoring in STEM subjects are conducting inquiry-based labs and are provided with digital resources to stimulate interest in lecture content. Potential GHC students are engaged in hands-on, real-world application of STEM and first-hand interactions with business leaders and researchers in the field through GHC STEM camps and other STEM outreach activities.
3. Collaboration: The GHC Center for STEM Learning provides a forum for collaboration among STEM educators including K-12 school systems, county career academies, technical schools, colleges, and universities with business and industry, workforce and career development organizations, economic development organizations, and local governments. Furthermore, the Center for STEM Learning serves as a clearinghouse for disseminating data generated through numerous GHC STEM grants in order to ensure that STEM educators can work together to share new ideas, products, and findings.
4. Committed Community Involvement: The GHC Center for STEM Learning is dedicated to nurturing community partnerships by engaging in joint projects with local K-12 schools, maintaining open communication lines between businesses and education stakeholders, participating the USG STEM network devoted to advancing STEM education in Georgia, and supporting the efforts of STEM non-profits.
The major goals of the GHC Center for STEM Learning are to:
- Inspire students to consider majoring in STEM disciplines and to support their success within STEM coursework so as to increase the number of STEM graduates.
- Develop new curricular materials, instructional approaches, and technology-based learning environments that can promote equity and enhance STEM teaching and learning for all.
- Develop and maintain collaborative STEM partnerships with key constituents in Northwest Georgia.
- Enhance the knowledge and skills of K-16 STEM teachers and instructors.
- Provide STEM learning opportunities for K-12 students via YouTube and other social media outlets, summer camps, outreach activities, and community service.
- Participate in the USG STEM Network designed to share ideas, practices, and resources so that member institutions will be able to learn from one another.
The Georgia Highlands College Center for STEM Learning is supported by the University System of Georgia STEM Initiative.There are currently 14 participating institutions representing a range of USG institutions who work through grants administered through the USG to achieve the goals of the initiative.