The Integrative STEM Education graduate program at Virginia Tech is designed to develop 21st century K-16 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) educators, leaders, scholars, and researchers prepared to investigate, teach, and disseminate new integrative approaches to STEM education. Our focus on implementation and investigation of new integrative technological/engineering design based teaching and learning practices for STEM education uniquely sets us apart from other STEM programs. Integrative STEM Education at Virginia Tech offers a graduate certificate and degrees at three different levels: master of arts in education degree (MAEd), education specialist degree (Ed.S.), or doctoral degree (Ph.D. or Ed.D.). Graduates of the Virginia Tech Integrative STEM Education program are among the most sought after professionals in higher education. Since the program’s inception, there has been a 100% post-secondary education placement rate for our doctoral graduates.
Integrative STEM Education serves as the theoretical and pedagogical premise for technological/engineering (T/E) design based teaching and learning practices. The goal of T/E design based learning is distinct in that it seeks to promote integrative STEM thinking through the design of a product, system, or environment that provides solutions to practical problems. Technological/Engineering design embodies habits of both hand and mind that together afford the learner knowledge and understanding necessary for developing appropriate solutions to human wants and needs.
At Virginia Tech, INTEGRATIVE STEM EDUCATION is operationally defined as
"the application of technological/engineering design based pedagogical approaches to intentionally teach content and practices of science and mathematics education through the content and practices of technology/engineering education. Integrative STEM Education is equally applicable at the natural intersections of learning within the continuum of content areas, educational environments, and academic levels"
(Wells & Ernst, 2012/2015)*
*(as adapted from Wells/Sanders program documents 2006-10)