Kirkwood, the University of Iowa, regional K-12 school districts, Grant Wood AEA, along with industry partners, have strategically aligned to form a unique partnership. This partnership connects resources across the educational spectrum and beyond, to create a viable, educated workforce to sustain the competitive advantage and quality of life in our region. A center and partnership like this exist nowhere in the country.
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The Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa will serve as a catalyst for college and career exploration, certification, and degree attainment for 21st century learners to become globally competitive and regionally ready for the future by:
- Creating an environment that increases motivation for students to consider pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education by providing unique opportunities for them to explore multiple career and educational options related to these fields, while also increasing their confidence to compete and succeed in two and four year post-secondary degree programs.
- The involvement of key partners (faculty, staff, industry) to more directly connect to STEM expertise via the unique training and research facilities, both public and private, that exist in the region.
- Linking the assets of center partners to develop, implement, assess, and evaluate evidence-based models of teaching and learning (including STEM) for all faculty and staff at the center.
- Replicating successful professional development practices from local districts, Kirkwood Community College and the University of Iowa to other partners in the region and beyond.
- Facilitating research interactions for students (and potentially high school and Kirkwood faculty) with University of Iowa faculty.
- Enhancing programs at the center to include 21st century learning skills, including entrepreneurial/innovative thinking skills necessary for jobs of the future, while also capitalizing on existing, and exploring new programs for dual/triple credit (high school, Kirkwood and University of Iowa credit).
- Providing a place for educational leaders to collaborate and discuss best practices.
Southeast Iowa STEM Region Partnership
The University of Iowa and Kirkwood Community College partner to lead the Southeast Iowa Regional STEM Hub (http://www.iowastem.gov/), part of Iowa’s statewide initiative to bolster STEM education and innovation. The southeast region covers 66 school districts in parts of 17 counties. The Regional STEM Hub disseminates information about and contributes to the planning and implementation of local outreach programs, STEM festivals, teacher professional development and research opportunities, and STEM scale-up programs.