Response to ‘STEM center’

by Paul Stadem

I believe the University of MinnesotaâÄôs newly-created STEM education center misses the point on educational processes and current focuses of its research. The Minnesota Daily article published on Feb. 11 claimed that science-based subjects are the means in which students should be taught, and STEM research will help science or technology classes take a more central role nationally. STEM subjects do not need to take a more central role, but rather interdisciplinary subjects should emerge as the educational future. Traditional science courses, which employ unconscious students passively accepting statistical facts, fail to teach an essential topic: critical thinking. Here, the University must utilize not only core, but also interdisciplinary sciences overlapping subjects in the humanities, society or public policy âÄî subjects that will teach students skills to solve complex, real-world problems. Students need not memorize facts to be regurgitated onto a test, because these are not applicable to real life. To teach how the information makes up our public policy âÄî the choices we make, the literature we read, etc. âÄî will allow a student to go beyond the facts and apply science to real life. This, in turn, leads to the discovery of new ideas and economic advancement. I think that STEM should include an H in its name, designated for teaching the humanities, because by addressing an issue using both scientific and humanistic angles, students will truly be better suited to create an âÄúeconomically stable nation.âÄù Paul Stadem, University undergraduate student