Scaling Implementation of Stem Cell Technical Education: A Collaborative Project
Stem cells and stem cell technology offer tremendous promise to revolutionize our understanding of how diseases occur, and they can be utilized to lead researchers to new and effective methods to treat medical disorders from heart disease, to diabetes, to arthritis and many more. Further, the field of regenerative medicine has the potential to grow tissue to treat burn victims and organs for patients in need of transplants. These burgeoning areas of research and development are creating a demand for well-qualified technical employees with specialized skills and competencies to advance stem cell technology. This project, a collaborative endeavor between Madison Area Technical College (MATC) and the City College of San Francisco (CCSF), will improve and expand technical education in stem cell technology and regenerative medicine within the broader context of biotechnology. In addition to collaborating with industry partners to provide relevant, modern college curricula and programs to educate and prepare stem cell technology professionals, the project will provide pre-college educators with engaging materials for science and technology courses to construct career pathways that lead from secondary education, to higher education and, ultimately, into the high technology workforce.
This collaborative project will leverage successful developments and lessons learned from individual efforts undertaken at MATC and CCSF with prior NSF support. The current endeavor is strategically designed to build on the momentum and networks that these earlier projects generated by (1) refining existing materials for an expanded group of academic audiences; (2) developing additional instructional modules for college-level programs; (3) creating and disseminating stem cell biology curriculum for grades 8-12; and (4) providing professional development workshops for educators as an effective means to disseminate materials so that educators are equipped to adapt and implement them. As part of the dissemination efforts, the project impact will be multiplied by fostering a web-enabled learning community of high school, community college, and university educators who will take ownership of the products created as part of this initiative and further develop and disseminate stem cell education throughout the nation. Success of the project and its impact will be evaluated using surveys and interviews with key participants, including students, educators and industry partners. Metrics will include numbers of institutions affected via adoption of curricula, student enrollments, completion and employment figures and employer approval of curricular content and satisfaction with program graduates who enter the workforce.