science classroom

Active-learning classroom

The Challenges

The U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology predicts that in the next decade, we will need approximately 1 million more STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals than we will produce at our current rate. To meet these growing workforce demands, universities need to attract and retain more students to STEM programs. In order to do so, institutions throughout the country are employing new active-learning methods to produce work-ready graduates who possess a wide range of analytical, technical, creative, and collaborative skills.

Additionally, the world of scientific research is rapidly changing its focus to cut across tradition-al disciplinary boundaries and to translate basic science into actionable applications. Increasingly, research is being conducted not by the lone scientist in his or her lab but by collaborative, interdisciplinary teams that must be adaptable and able to respond quickly to changes in research direction. Team-based science is critical to expanding human knowledge and solving the challenges of our future.

To address these changing needs, institutions throughout the country are working to find effective ways to support and enhance interdisciplinary learning and research and to create an infrastructure capable of keeping apace with projected growth. As research methods and pedagogies become more dynamic and varied, the role of space and resource management is becoming more important.