Further advancing the state’s recent growth in the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network announced today the award of a $250,000 grant to the University of Tennessee at Martin to establish the Northwest Tennessee Regional STEM Hub. This new STEM Hub, scheduled to begin operation in November, joins six other regional STEM hubs located across the state in bringing new educational opportunities to students and teachers.
“This new hub will expose students to opportunities in STEM fields and accelerate student learning in the region, having an impact far beyond the classroom, into the surrounding communities,” Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “In addition, having business leaders serve as partners of this hub will help our students be better prepared for the expectations of the current workforce.
Led in a joint effort by the University of Tennessee at Martin and Dyersburg State Community College, the Northwest Tennessee Regional STEM Hub will serve as a resource for the region to increase student interest and achievement in STEM fields. Hub activities will include providing professional development for Northwest Tennessee teachers, establishing a STEM Master Teacher Corps, and creating a repository of STEM “toolkits” for use in classroom lessons and after-school activities throughout the region.
“The establishment of this hub will bring new STEM learning opportunities and resources to rural school districts. We’re excited about the partnership with UTM and DSCC and greatly appreciate the Tennessee General Assembly making this expansion a priority,” said Wes Hall, Director of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network.
The hub will bring together educators from K-12 and higher education institutions, business partners, and community stakeholders who are all committed to amplifying and accelerating the impact of STEM programs in the Northwest Tennessee region.
“Having this STEM Hub based on the core academic strengths of UT Martin promises to be a true boost for Northwest Tennessee’s development of high tech industry and modern manufacturing opportunities with great job opportunities,” said Dr. Robert Smith, UT Martin Interim Chancellor.
Deployment of this hub marks a year of major expansion for STEM in Tennessee with the Network’s move to provide a supplemental STEM curriculum called Learning Blade® for free to all middle schools, the continuation of the annual Tennessee STEM Innovation Summit held in May in Nashville, and the expansion of the Innovative Leaders Institute, a professional development program designed to train school leaders in effective STEM strategies.
Focusing on a “kindergarten to jobs” philosophy, the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network is developing high-quality STEM programming to further ensure Tennessee students are college and career ready upon graduation. The Network utilizes STEM Platform Schools and Regional STEM Innovation Hubs located across the state to increase student interest and participation in STEM fields. The Network is committed to helping the State of Tennessee inspire and train the next generation of innovative leaders and is operated as a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Education and Battelle Education.