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UCM and The MIC Part of National Summit on Disruptive Innovation in Higher Ed

By Jeff Murphy, November 5, 2015

WARRENSBURG, MO – The Missouri Innovation Campus becomes part of  the national dialogue on STEM education when representatives of the University of Central Missouri, The MIC, and Missouri Senator David Pearce participate in the Disruptive Innovation in Higher Education National Summit.

The Summit is planned for Monday, Nov. 9 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., and is presented by STEMconnector® and the STEM Higher Education Council. Its primary focus is on sharing best practices for preparing the nation’s best-educated, most competitive STEM workforce through compelling relationships, collaboration and shared goals. During the event, STEM stakeholders from across the nation will have a platform to showcase exemplars of disruption that can strengthen the STEM ecosystem. Industry leaders from both public and private sectors who have a common interest in recruiting and retaining STEM students, as well as ensuring their success in the workforce, will be among those attending.

A number of transformational leaders within higher education will discuss topics ranging from industry and experiential education to broadening participation of diverse populations. An afternoon panel discussion about “Connecting a State to Improve Jobs” will bring The MIC into STEM discussion. Stan Elliott, director of The MIC, will moderate the session with panelists that include Pearce, who chairs the Senate Education Committee; Charles Ambrose, UCM President; Karen Dexter, innovation coach at The MIC; and Abigail Ventrillo, associate director of technical talent recruiting for VML, Kansas City. They will have an opportunity to share information about The MIC and how it relates to accelerating degrees without student debt, how program competencies have been developed to meet industry requirements, and what must be done at the state level to facilitate innovation in grades K-16.

According to the STEM Higher Education Council, educational institutions across the nation play a vital role in enhancing the educational framework and increasing participation in STEM for students as young as kindergarten age, the need for disruption of conventional learning processes remains prominent. Institutions are rapidly discovering innovative ways to improve upon the traditional school curriculum, recognizing that student STEM success requires opportunities for practical hands-on experiences that enhance STEM skills. Creating pathways to academic and workplace excellence while motivating, mentoring and challenging students remains at the center of the council’s focus for nurturing STEM talent.

A model STEM program that was established in 2012, The Missouri Innovation Campus is a collaborative effort between UCM, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District in Lee’s Summit, Metropolitan Community Colleges, and numerous Kansas City area business partners. Students enroll in this program their junior year of high school, and complete a bachelor’s degree in four years from UCM, having gained valuable internship experience with high-tech companies, job-ready skills, and opportunities to reduce their college debt load.

The MIC is a direct and intentional collaboration of K-16 educators with many business partners. Going above and beyond the traditional “advisory boards” that higher education programs tend to utilize, The MIC involves business partners in the grassroots stage of program development to meet workforce demands.

The STEM Higher Education Council (SHEC) is the leadership forum of universities, community colleges and corporations intently focused on STEM careers. SHEC envisions being the national catalyst for meeting the education and training needs of the global STEM workforce and educating the scientists, technologists, and innovators needed for a vibrant economy. SHEC’s mission is to bring focused energy to higher education’s high-impact practices. SHEC inventories and integrates current efforts, building on the energy of others in support of collaborations between higher education and industry.


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