GO: Invigorating STEM Education

student satellite project


Welcome back to campus! I hope you’ve had a restful break and are ready to help us begin work on some exciting projects this semester, like our push to invigorate STEM Education.

The number of UGA undergraduate students in STEM disciplines has risen 20% since 2014, with 11,832 (40% of the student body) declaring a major in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (as defined by USG, based on DHS definitions of STEM) in fall 2018 alone. This number over the last five years has increased annually across approximately 50 undergraduate STEM majors.

STEM Education statsAccording to the Education Commission of the States, STEM jobs nationally are expected to grow 13% from 2017-2027. And the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (PDF) estimates that 93% of all STEM occupations provide wages (average salary=$87,570) above the national average, and more than twice the national average as non-STEM jobs.

This is good news for our students seeking jobs in these areas, but we have an imperative responsibility to provide a robust learning environment and foster their interests in meaningful ways while also incorporating our ongoing student learning and success goals.

As such, our STEM Education unit, headed by Dr. Timothy Burg, works with faculty, staff, and students within UGA’s schools, colleges, units and programs across campus, as well as with K-12 teachers and administrators, to promote STEM Education. Several events are planned this semester that you should know about

The Art of STEM Competition is open for students in all majors and will run until Feb. 15th. Students may enter art they developed as part of their ongoing research, class projects, lab work or presentations. Winners in the past have included scientific illustrations, microscopic images, and photographs of nature. The selected winners’ artwork will be displayed in the Science Learning Center.

You are probably aware of UGA’s efforts on to develop a vibrant Innovation District, as well as its recent designation of being the top U.S. institution for technology licensing in 2017. UGA also recently announced the launch of the NSF-funded DeLTA Project, in which more than 100 UGA faculty members in science, technology, engineering and math will collaborate on a comprehensive research project to transform STEM education on campus and at research universities nationwide. The team will work together to explore ways to better support, incentivize and reward effective, evidence-based STEM instruction. We’re also looking at how we can engage students in more experiential learning activities that support STEM areas.

These are strong indicators of our commitment to enhancing our overall ecosystem of innovation. With increasing student interests in STEM disciplines, we need to ensure that we provide a vibrant and supportive community for all students to develop their ideas and consider their potential beyond the classroom. Some of these efforts are likely to require close collaboration within and outside STEM disciplines. With this in mind, Tim is also heading up a committee to organize the eighth annual STEM Institute, which will be held on Mar. 27. You are invited to help develop a collective vision of innovation at UGA, with a particular focus on how STEM education can contribute to this effort.

Thanks for all you do to enrich the learning environment for our students. Have a great first week of the semester. If you have any ideas about improving the student learning experience, please send me an email.


Rahul Shrivastav
Vice President for Instruction