MiSTEM Advisory Council Makes Recommendations to Policymakers

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs 517-241-4395

January 23, 2019

LANSING - The MiSTEM Advisory Council publicly released its 4th Annual Report today, providing guidance to state policymakers on improving science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in Michigan.

The legislatively-required report makes several specific recommendations on how best to maximize state-appropriated funding, including:

  • Analyze and describe the STEM Educator Talent Pipeline
  • Select and implement metrics to evaluate the MiSTEM Network and Grant Programs
  • Support a state-funded, coordinated educational campaign to build STEM awareness, and communicate needs and opportunities for all stakeholders
  • Include a seat on the MiSTEM Advisory Council for a Governor’s office appointee
  • Increase and reallocate STEM funding

“STEM programs are so important as Michigan strives to become a Top 10 education state,” Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles said. “We appreciate the expertise and recommendations from business, education, and advocacy experts to help get Michigan where we need to be.”

The MiSTEM Advisory Council is a volunteer group of business, higher education, K-12 education, philanthropic leaders, and non-voting legislative members appointed by the Governor.

Created by the state Legislature in 2015, the Council is tasked with overseeing the MiSTEM Network, recommending high-quality programs for funding, and providing guidance and vision for a statewide STEM strategy in Michigan.

To recognize the MiSTEM Advisory Council for its service to the state of Michigan, a surprise student competition was organized with the help of the MiSTEM 906-Central Region Director Chris Standerford and Marquette High School’s Science for Inventors class instructor Rebecca Simmons.

This student competition was designed as an example of the types of rich learning experiences that the MiSTEM Advisory Council has envisioned in its Annual Reports. The students treated MiSTEM as their customer and were challenged with brainstorming, designing, producing, and refining a 3D printed object to be given as a token of gratitude for outgoing Governor Rick Snyder; MiSTEM Council members; and other stakeholders who were instrumental in the creation of the MiSTEM Network.

Students competed against each other to have their design submissions selected as the winning design. Once a winner was selected, the entire class worked collaboratively to refine the final design, meet time and material constraints, and provide the best possible solution for the customer. The MiSTEM Network believes that all students throughout the state deserve authentic learning opportunities such as these, where students work with a community partner, develop the competencies that employers’ value, and receive valuable career awareness and exploration experiences.

The winning design came from senior Sierra Bentti, who said, “I had a vision in my head that I worked hard to get in my hands. A sketch turned into a CAD model that turned into a 3D finished project. As a first-time user of Tinkercad, there were obstacles and there were victories. In the end, I've grown as a creator and designed something I'm proud of."

"Having an authentic audience for a project definitely increases the buy-in from students and elevates the game for all of us,” said teacher Becky Simmons. “This project had tons of obstacles, which is the perfect teaching opportunity. Students always push further when they know their work has value in our community.”

This year’s Annual Report, and the student competition, further build on the MiSTEM Advisory Council’s four pillars:

  1. Michigan must create a robust culture of STEM.
  2. The educator pipeline must be strengthened.
  3. Businesses and educators must be integrated.
  4. Michigan must ensure high quality STEM experiences.

The MiSTEM Advisory Council’s report also seeks to support other employer/educator collaborations such as Launch Michigan and the Marshall Plan for Talent. In particular, the Council underscored the role that collaboration plays in the formation of Talent Consortia and how the MiSTEM Network Regions are uniquely positioned to support those collaborations.

As noted in the five-year federal STEM plan released on December 4, 2018, one of the main recommendations is to develop and enrich strategic partnerships by fostering STEM ecosystems that unite communities—MiSTEM is ready for this challenge.

As per state law, the report has been delivered to the Governor, the Michigan Department of Education, and the legislature.

More information about the Council, including the full report, can be found here: https://www.michigan.gov/dtmb/0,5552,7-358-82547_56345_81797-433022--,00.html