NC State

STEM Education Initiative


STEM is an acronym standing for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It obviously is a pretty broad term. But all the fields encompassed by the term involve the imaginative study, design, and development of ways to make our lives better and more productive. More than 26 million people in the US are working in these technical areas.

Even though there are a lot of STEM jobs in the US, we continue to lag behind other developed nations in the education of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. This is a systemic problem, beginning in elementary school and continuing through middle and high school and on into the college years. Consequently, the solution must also be systemic. School children must learn STEM materials from the earliest grades, in ways that are both engaging and challenging. That education must continue throughout the K-12 years, nurtured by teachers who are proficient in the STEM disciplines and whose exceptional teaching skills allow these disciplines to be accessible, meaningful and attractive to all of America’s youth. In college, the STEM disciplines must be the site of exceptional teaching that stimulates and challenges students majoring in these fields and that builds scientific literary among non-majors.

North Carolina State University is well situated to address this concern across the entire educational spectrum. With its world-leading programs in basic and applied STEM disciplines and a strong commitment to undergraduate learning, NC State develops, tests and shares teaching/learning strategies for all college students. (We were in the top 20 STEM colleges in the US, according to a 2016 Forbes magazine article.) Our equally renowned College of Education faculty (rated #1 in the US for research productivity) creates and evaluates pedagogical innovations that stimulate high-quality STEM education in primary, middle and secondary schools and provide needed tools and encouragement for K-12 educators.

Coupled with a commitment to service across the state and nation, NC State’s many outreach programs, established through a century of excellence, provide the tools, technologies and materials that teachers and students need to keep learning about STEM-related topics new and rewarding.



We are a large, interdisciplinary group of faculty from the STEM disciplines and various education fields who study teaching and learning. The STEM Initiative offers our faculty a world-class qualitative research lab as well as current statistical software and expert assistance with the analysis of data. We hold a growing library of pedagogical materials, academic journals and research handbooks. Faculty release time is available, along with funds for conference travel. We also sponsor visits by national leaders in education research and pedagogies. In return, our faculty develop state-of-the-art instruction, publish extensively, and travel internationally to provide advice to universities and government agencies on research-based instructional methods. We collaborate with similar centers around the world, and are combining our strengths with other education leaders  and organizations to further the reform of STEM education from K through gray.

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We support NCSU faculty who are teaching or studying the teaching and learning of our various STEM subjects. We are a multidisciplinary group, always looking to add to our numbers, with expertise in technical subjects as well as education research methodologies.

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In a 2016 report the National Science Board noted that nearly half of all the undergraduate degrees awarded in China during 2012 were in science and engineering, compared with only about a third of US degrees. Globally, the number of first science/engineering college degrees is estimated to be about 6.4 million. Almost half of these degrees were conferred in China (23%) and India (23%); another 21% were conferred in the European Union (12%) with only 9% in the United States. If we want to maintain our current standard of living, we need more people pursing a STEM education. Our Initiative exists to help make that happen. Click here for more information from the National Science Board and other government agencies about STEM jobs.