Further advancing Tennessee’s recent growth in the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the Tennessee Department of Education and Battelle Memorial Institute announced in December the expansion of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN) into West Tennessee. The TSIN is a collaboration between the Department and the Battelle Memorial Institute that is designed to increase student participation and interest in STEM subjects.
The West Tennessee STEM Collaboratory, led by the University of Memphis, will serve as the TSIN STEM innovation hub in the region, while Shelby County Schools’ Southwind High School will house the Network’s STEM platform school. Southwind will receive $1 million and the U of M $850,000 to fund their roles in the STEM network.
“The University of Memphis is very pleased to be able to contribute to the STEM Collaboratory in West Tennessee,” said Dr. Shirley Raines, president of the University of Memphis. “The University is keenly aware of the need for STEM education on the high school and college levels, and for a number of years now, we have been actively involved in efforts to increase STEM education among students in this area. Through this partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education, the Shelby County Schools, and Battelle, we believe we will be able to make an even greater impact on that very important aspect of modern education.”
Experts predict that Tennessee will add over 10,000 exciting (and well-paying) STEM jobs to the state's economy in the next 5-10 years. Tennessee needs qualified workers to fill these roles, but STEM education is about more than just workforce development. It is also about inspiring the next generation of leaders to help solidify Tennessee's future as a leader in the global STEM marketplace. When fully realized, the TSIN will have an impact on students across the entire state. Whether urban or rural, experienced or inexperienced, every child deserves to have access to a quality STEM education.
The West Tennessee STEM Collaboratory Hub will serve as a resource for the region to increase students’ interest in and preparation for STEM jobs. Hub activities will include supporting the successful operation of the STEM platform school, providing professional development for West Tennessee STEM teachers, establishing a STEM Master Teacher Corps for the region, and developing a STEM integrated online curriculum for core high school courses that will be freely accessible to all districts.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle is the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization and one of the nation’s leading charitable trusts, focusing on societal and economic impact and actively supporting and promoting STEM education. Battelle was chosen as the managing partner of the TSIN because of its success creating the Ohio STEM Learning Network in its home state.