STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

PKAL STEM Salon Underscores Need for More STEM Degrees

On behalf of the Project Kaleidoscope staff, I offer you best wishes for a joyous and peaceful holiday season. We applaud your efforts and, though many of your students may neglect to say it, we thank you for your work, your sacrifice, and your talent.

This semester, Bayer Corporation, along with Change the Equation (a nonprofit, nonpartisan, CEO-led initiative that is mobilizing the business community to improve the quality of STEM learning in the United States), hosted a STEM Salon for the release of this year’s Bayer Facts of Science Education Survey, which focuses on clarifying the US STEM workforce shortage debate.  While we in higher ed. would all agree that the need for more STEM baccalaureates has arguably never been greater than it is now, there are others who contend that the US is overproducing STEM degrees, which subsequently stagnates wages and overemphasizes the need for immigration reform.

The STEM Salon keynote speaker was Dr. Mae Jemison, a chemical engineer, physician, and first African American woman astronaut to orbit the earth. Dr. Jemison, also a national champion of integrative learning for STEM students, noted the sobering realities of the STEM workforce shortage that now threaten US global preeminence.  For PKAL, the STEM Salon strategically placed our collective and highly respected voice among others, while providing an important opportunity for us to contribute to making STEM higher education reform not just a possibility, but a certainty. The Salon underscored the value of our mission, and serves to re-energize our role in leading the national imperative that will ensure that all students in the STEM disciplines are both competitively trained and liberally educated.
I invite you to peruse the executive summary of the report, and determine if you agree.  Feel free to share your thoughts (whether you agree or disagree) by commenting below.