Preparing Graduates for a 21st Century Workplace: Hamline University

November 1 - 3, 2002

Emerging pressure on those shaping and supporting undergraduate programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) reflects a critical need to better prepare students for the 21st century workforce. Attention to workforce issues has several dimensions: the need to fill current and anticipated needs for qualified teachers in America's elementary and secondary schools and the need to ensure a steady flow of Ph.D.'s into this country's R&D and academic communities. Increasingly, however, discussions are centering on the national need for entry-level scientists, engineers and technicians well-prepared for a wide range of 21st century careers.

This Project Kaleidoscope workshop is co-sponsored by Hamline University, which has had a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation GOALI Program (Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry) to work with corporations in the Twin Cities (MN) area in exploring questions such as:

  • What entry-level skills are valued by potential employers today?
  • What kind of undergraduate programs motivate and prepare students of all disciplines for successful careers in the contemporary workplace?
  • What practices lead to greater participation of women and minorities in the study of science, engineering and technology and in motivating them to consider careers in these fields?
  • What are the ways to make curricular changes that are consistent with the institutional identity and mission, and that serve the changing needs of society?
  • What are the academic/industry partnerships that serve students, society and science most effectively?

The experience of the Hamline University team and their industrial collaborators in addressing these questions will set the stage for discussions during the workshop weekend; other institutional teams with strong corporate collaborations will also present.

Participants

Selected participating teams will include both academic and industrial partners. The ideal team will be three-five persons including an academic administrator with budget/curriculum development responsibilities, a balanced contingent of junior and senior faculty, and representatives from the potential Industrial partners.

Goals

  • Teams will leave with a plan to explore, implement and assess new or expanded academic/industrial partnerships.
  • Teams will outline a plan for continued collaboration with other workshop participants.
  • Proceedings will be developed to inform the larger community, within and beyond PKAL, about policies and practices that lead to productive partnerships toward shaping strong undergraduate STEM programs that serve institutional goals for student learning, including that graduates have the capacities, interests and skills to become a confident and competitive candidate for positions requiring a scientific/technological background.

Expectations

Teams will have pre-workshop assignments and are expected to come prepared to develop an agenda for reform on their campus during the coming academic year. Participants also are asked to commit to follow-up activities upon return to their communities. As they are selected, teams will be asked to provide further information about their current situation, goals, and plans for the future.