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DMACC, Drake Univ. sign agreement to infuse STEM into Iowa classrooms

New STEM Certificate first-of-its-kind in Iowa

Published: Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 12:00 p.m. CST

To make Iowa elementary students better prepared for future academic and career opportunities, Des Moines Area Community College President Rob Denson and Drake University President David Maxwell have signed an agreement to improve competencies of future teachers in math and science.

The agreement creates the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Certificate for elementary education students who start at DMACC and pursue their four-year degree at Drake University. The Certificate is the first STEM agreement between a four-year institution and a community college in Iowa.

“We want Iowa teachers to have 21st century competencies in math and science so they can inspire and better engage their students,” said Denson, who is on the governor’s STEM Advisory Executive Committee. “This is a practical, important application of the governor’s STEM initiative.”

Drake University is one of only six STEM hub institutions in Iowa. Drake President Maxwell says this partnership will make a significant impact on Iowa education. “This initiative represents an important development that is sure to be followed by many other efforts to infuse math and science directly into classrooms across Iowa,” Maxwell said. “As a result, elementary students will be better prepared for success in areas of critical national need.”

The elective program will be open to DMACC students who then can transfer to Drake University to complete their four year degree and Certificate requirements.

“This is the sort of innovative solutions being sought and fostered by the governor’s Stem Advisory Council,” said Jeff Weld, executive director of the governor’s STEM Advisory Council. “It’s part of a larger effort to improve Iowa schools and prepare Iowa elementary students to be among the best educated in the world.”

Participating students must take nine math and science elective credits plus another 10 or more. In addition, they must attend two STEM seminars on infusing math and science activities into classroom instruction.

Officials from Drake and DMACC say the special certification will make the elementary education graduates more marketable and more effective classroom teachers.

“This will be a highly sought special credential that demonstrates these elementary education students have the math and science competencies needed to excel in a 21st Century classroom,” Denson said.

This initiative is part of the governor’s efforts to encourage more Iowans to enter STEM-related careers.

There are 400 DMACC students currently enrolled in elementary education in the college’s six campuses. All are eligible to enroll in the STEM Certificate program.