Dean Lutchen Speaks on STEM Education at the White House

in Spotlight STEM (Outreach & Diversity)

Dean Kenneth Lutchen addresses STEM educators at the White House.

Dean Kenneth R. Lutchen and Associate Dean for Outreach & Diversity Gretchen Fougere were among a select group of educators invited to the White House recently to highlight the College’s work in preparing excellent STEM teachers.

The event was sponsored by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and by 100Kin10, an organization that aims to place 100,000 STEM teachers in the nation’s school to educate the next generation of innovators and problem solvers. Fougere is among the initial group of 100Kin10 Fellows, who are challenged with finding ways to increase access to high-quality engineering education.

“The Boston University College of Engineering is a leader in STEM teacher preparation and has gone above and beyond as a partner in the 100Kin10 network,” according to Talia Milgrom-Elcott, executive director of 100Kin10. The College was among just 42 universities, companies and non-profits — and the only engineering school — invited to the event. Also speaking at the event were leaders from the National Science Foundation and Jonathan Holdren, director of the Office of Science Technology and Policy and the science advisor to the President.

In remarks to the Oct. 28 gathering, Lutchen said that while most of the effort involved in STEM outreach nationally focuses on science and math, BU makes the connection to technology and engineering. He noted the success of the Technology Innovation Scholars Program, which sends undergraduate “Inspiration Ambassadors” into middle and high schools to expose young people to career possibilities in engineering.

“A strong, and unexpected, byproduct was some of our engineering students developed enhanced passion and desire to change the world by becoming teachers themselves,” Lutchen told the gathering.  “This prompted the creation of the STEM Engineering Education Program (STEEP), a joint effort with the School of Education that allows students to complete a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in education in five years. It is not enough to have more teachers, but in order to impact the next generation of innovators, we need teachers who can regularly and authentically connect the four STEM subjects, and STEEP and TISP are designed to do so.

“Our commitment to 100Kin10 is to prepare 220 certified master teachers who regularly and authentically infuse engineering design and innovation into their secondary math and science curricula and place them in schools nationwide by 2018, partnering with the School of Education,” Lutchen added.

“Boston University has a comprehensive model to address the goals of the President and the Office of Science and Technology Policy: producing talented STEM teachers and engineers,” said Fougere. “With the College of Engineering programs, we share our trained engineers in TISP with middle and high school teachers across the country, and then with STEEP, create a new type of math or science teacher who is passionate about engineering and has research-based training to be effective teaching in urban schools. It was extrememly gratifying to hear that our model aligns so well with the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the mission of 100Kin10.”

Associate Dean for Outreach & Diversity Gretchen Fougere was on hand at the White House event.