Northeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub
ETSU, through its Center of Excellence in STEM Education and, more recently, through the ETSU Northeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub, has provided professional development for hundreds of math and science teachers, at all levels. Our professional development has focused on improving instructional strategies/practices with the ultimately goal of improving student achievement.
Based on our work, we have identified several best practices in our professional development for math and science teachers. Our findings are consistent with several recent students that have documented the importance of professional development on teaching practices and student learning. The ETSU model of professional development has been published in various journal articles and books. Although there is a large body of research that has examined the effectiveness of professional development, the evidences is often uneven given the differences in resources, system level and school leadership, and teacher knowledge gaps. These factors can be complicated when teachers return to the classroom without the necessary support structure to practice and reflect upon the innovation. Also, district policy changes and budgetary constraints can influence researchers who need to control these changes. However, the best practices in professional development that we have been able to identify are listed below.
One of the premier initiatives of the Center is the establishment of the ETSU Northeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub. The Hub interconnects K-12 schools, higher education institutions, businesses, foundations, and community organizations to design, develop, and demonstrate innovative, sustainable and transferable STEM learning experiences. These STEM partnerships and collaborations seek to engage students, develop a skilled workforce, and increase STEM literacy in the fifteen school districts in the Northeast Tennessee region and throughout Tennessee. In recent years we have followed the lead of TSIN and the Tennessee State Department of Education to fine-tune our PD towards integrated, project-based STEM education.