CCV develops new STEM Studies degree

In response to the needs of employers in Vermont and across the nation, the Community College of Vermont has developed a new STEM Studies degree (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) designed to prepare students for entering the workforce in technician positions that require strong mathematics, technology, and science skills or continuing on in a four-year, STEM-focused, baccalaureate program. Registration for the new program will begin in November and classes for the degree will begin in January 2014.

In Governor Shumlin’s January State of the State address, he stressed the demand by employers throughout Vermont for employees with strong science, math, and technology skills, and charged colleges throughout the state to prepare Vermonters for these positions. Anthony Carnevale at Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce has forecast that Vermont will demand a total of 16,240 STEM-skilled employees by 2018, which represents an 11- percent increase over demand for the same jobs in 2008. Carnevale also predicts that 87 percent of these jobs will require postsecondary education and training. At the same time, CCV’s academic advisors are increasingly working with students who intend to transfer to 4-year degree programs in STEM fields.

“The new STEM Studies program will provide the richest curriculum to support student transfer to these four-year programs with 34 credits of study focused in science, technology, and math,” said Linda Gabrielson, CCV’s academic dean. “The 34 credits are fairly open, allowing students to work with their intended transfer institution to choose courses that align with those required in the baccalaureate program.”

Students entering the new program will have the opportunity to focus their study in physical science, life science, or pre-engineering. Graduates from the program will be awarded an Associate of Science degree and will be able to apply the vocabulary, foundational theories, and problem-solving methodologies that define scientific literacy and scientific method in the natural world; demonstrate critical and creative thinking and the ability to adapt learning to new and novel situations through collaborative real-world problem solving; apply interdisciplinary strategies of inquiry, logical reasoning, technology, and an appreciation of cultural differences needed to address the challenges of an interconnected and global 21st century; demonstrate academic skills required of all CCV graduates, including competency in writing, information literacy, oral communication, quantitative reasoning; and explore pathways for educational and career development in the student’s field of study.

Gabrielson said CCV employs an intensive process of engaging employers and CCV’s four-year college partners whenever the College builds a new degree or certificate program. “In the case of STEM Studies, after meeting with employers and another college, we revised our initial thinking on the program to include a required internship component, to emphasize the importance of mathematics, and to clearly include laboratory-based science in the requirements,” Gabrielson said. “As we prepare to roll out this new program in January, we are now in the process of meeting with other colleges to develop curriculum pathways that will best serve students as they develop transfer plans to specific programs at these colleges.”

The new program can be completed entirely online and through traditional, academic center-based classes offered at CCV locations throughout the state. For more information about the Community College of Vermont’s new STEM Studies program, visit http://bit.ly/15P4Nrp.

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