Harrisburg University Among Few STEM-Focused Schools Recognized by President's Office
While cautionary tales of city and state government might be generating undesirable national attention in Pennsylvania's capital region, Harrisburg is also home to one of the most inspiring and impactful stories of increasing our nation's competitiveness when it comes to STEM research, development and education.
Just last week, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology was one of seven institutions recognized in a 130-page report issued to President Obama from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
(PCAST), an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers who directly advise the President and the Executive Office of the President.
PCAST makes policy recommendations in the many areas where understanding of science, technology, and innovation is key to strengthening our economy and forming policy that works for the American people. PCAST is administered by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
The 11 year-old institution is the only STEM-focused comprehensive university between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and 53 percent of its enrollment is women, and was recognized among a group that includes Massachusetts Institute of Technology as "effective programs to improve STEM education."
From the report
In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a postsecondary institution is helping students who leave high school without good preparation become marketable in STEM fields.
The HU academic format is interdisciplinary, without departments or tenure. Courses are organized around learning objectives, and corporate partners advise on course design. Communication and teamwork are stressed throughout the curriculum.
All students are coached on life issues such as time management and juggling family and careers. Each student builds an “e-portfolio” that includes performance, comments from faculty, and measures of civic engagement.
Another striking result is that employers of 18-22 year old students say they do not have to spend 12 to 18 months teaching their new hires how to fit into corporate culture. The students were already mentored through internships and academic-year projects based on workplace needs.
Besides helping students and employers HU is helping to revive downtown Harrisburg, with a new building and dormitory and $30 million in annual economic impact.
Also cited were the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Lorain County Community College, Ohio, University of New Hampshire, Elizabeth City State University, North Carolina, Foothill College, California.
JOE PETRUCCI is managing editor of Keystone Edge. Send feedback here.