From "STEP Central" to "STEM Central"
A number of you have asked what will happen to STEP Central and stepcentral.net now that STEP has been merged into IUSE. We have been planning, but until now, we couldn’t say for sure. Thanks for being patient!
First, through a new supplement to our original award from NSF, STEP Central will be expanding and evolving into “STEM Central.” We envision "STEM Central" as a valuable networking resource for the broader undergraduate STEM education community, while still serving the specific needs of those with NSF-funded projects.
Second, the STEP Central team is partnering with the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and with the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). STEP/STEM Central is now a joint initiative of AAC&U and ASEE. The support of two prominent national organizations whose missions dovetail with the community-building mission of STEM Central has important implications for (1) promoting STEM Central to a wider audience, (2) increasing its standing and visibility within the community, and (3) increasing its potential for long-term sustainability. At the same time it provides the existing STEP community with access to the array of networking resources available through these organizations. For example, since STEP grantees meetings are unlikely to continue, the national and regional meetings of ASEE and AAC&U can help satisfy the needs for face-to-face networking. Finally, the project benefits both AAC&U and ASEE by providing an interactive tool for (1) virtual networking, (2) virtual support of meetings and conferences, (3) a database of resources that users can access, comment on, and add to, and (4) integrating these activities with social media sites.
AAC&U, through its Office of STEM Education and PKAL initiative, will be the new "home" for "STEP/STEM Central," with ASEE helping to curate engineering education content and providing direct access to engineering educators via its website.
We’re ‘taking our talents’ to AAC&U
The STEM Central project will continue to be directed by me and coordinated by Tania Siemens, with Kelly Mack, AAC&U Vice President and Executive Director of PKAL, joining the team. Tania and I are taking positions at AAC&U, though we will continue to be located in Eugene. Note that our emails have changed (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com) to reflect our new affiliation.
One STEP at a time…
We envision several phases in the transition of STEP Central. We hope to launch the STEM Central website by the end of 2014, hopefully sooner! The first launch will be a slightly modified version of stepcentral.net. During this time we hope to expand membership to include other DUE grantees, as well as members of PKAL and ASEE.
Over the course of the next year we will be revamping the website to better address the needs of the expanded community. Your feedback and suggestions will be critical in helping us re-envision the site.
Through all of this, we will continue to provide webinars and virtual brown-bag sessions, and Tania and I will continue to work with community leaders to facilitate the sharing of ideas, resources, success stories, and lessons learned.
How you can help…
Want to be part of this process and help us succeed?? We encourage you to join and participate in the “STEP to STEM” working group!