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Tennessee STEM Innovation Network picks MTSU for hub partnership

Middle Tennessee State University’s Tennessee STEM Education Center has been selected to guide the work of the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub.

The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network and Battelle Education formally announced the new partnership for the leadership of the hub Thursday, Sept. 22, moving it to MTSU from Nashville’s Belmont University and further advancing the state’s recent growth in teaching and learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

Dr. Tom Cheatham

Dr. Tom Cheatham

MTSU was selected to guide the work of the STEM hub, which is intended to bring together stakeholders across Middle Tennessee to advance STEM education.

Tennessee STEM Education Center director Tom Cheatham will be director of the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub.

TSINThe STEM hub provides a valuable exchange network of ideas and resources for K-12 schools, colleges and universities and network partners to serve the STEM needs in the Midstate. The hub serves 25 to 30 counties and approximately 50 school districts, Cheatham said.

“MTSU is uniquely positioned to lead the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub and we’re excited to be able to partner to expand quality STEM teaching and learning opportunities across the region,” said Wes Hall, director of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network.

“The university has earned a reputation as a leader in STEM education and this partnership both strengthens our work in the region and continues to advance our vision for STEM in the state.”

Cheatham said MTSU is excited to play a larger role in the hub.

“MTSU has been a leader in STEM education for many years and is pleased to work with STEM leaders across the Midstate to continue to move STEM forward,” he said. “We are anxious to learn from the K-12 districts what the hub can do to assist them with their STEM goals.”

The Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub will continue to serve as a resource for the region to increase student interest and achievement in STEM fields. Some of the many hub activities include providing professional development for Midstate teachers, bringing STEM professionals into the classroom, teacher job shadowing and student workplace learning.

new-tsec-logo72In spring 2017, the hub will host the fifth annual STEM EXPO, an exhibition open to regional middle and high school students, showcasing student projects in STEM research, engineering, agricultural STEM and technology. (The expo site will be announced later.)

MTSU hosted the 2015 expo in the Science Building.

The new partnership of the hub marks a year of major expansion for STEM in Tennessee, especially:

  • the network’s move to provide a supplemental STEM curriculum called “Learning Blade” for free to all middle schools.
  • the continuation of the third annual Tennessee STEM Innovation Summit, set May 24-25, 2017.
  • the expansion of the Innovative Leaders Institute, a professional development program designed to train school leaders in effective STEM strategies.

Focusing on a “kindergarten-to-jobs” philosophy, the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network is developing high-quality programming to further ensure Tennessee students are college and career ready upon graduation.

The network makes use of STEM Platform Schools and regional STEM Innovation Hubs located across Tennessee to increase student interest and participation in STEM fields. The network, which focuses on helping the state of Tennessee inspire and train the next generation of innovative leaders, is operated as a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Education and Battelle Education.

For more information about the network, please visit www.TSIN.org. To learn more about the Tennessee STEM Education Center at MTSU, visit http://capone.mtsu.edu/tsec or call 615-904-8573. It is located in Room 102 of the Fairview Building, 820 Fairview Ave., off Greenland Drive.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)