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Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub Moves to Belmont University

New location serves to further advance region’s academic development in science, technology, engineering, math fields

ScienceLabinWedgewoodAcademicCenterBelmont University and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) announced today that the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub will be moving to Belmont’s campus, effective immediately, providing a centralized location to support the region’s educational advancement in the academic disciplines of the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). More than 18 percent (or 125,230) of the region’s jobs require STEM skills, and positions are anticipated to continue to grow at a fast pace in STEM industries throughout Middle Tennessee. Further development of STEM programs—along with partnerships among higher education, K-12, nonprofits and businesses—will be crucial to national and regional economic stability and growth in the coming years.

Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns said, “Belmont University is committed to being a higher education leader in STEM education as shown in the recent opening of our Wedgewood Academic Center, which features more than 20 science lab spaces and over $2 million of state-of-the-art lab equipment, not to mention our recent establishment of a new College of Sciences and Mathematics. We believe locating the STEM Innovation Hub on Belmont’s campus is a perfect next step to help position it to develop even more partnerships with K-12 schools, higher education institutions and businesses while also expanding our own impact in these vital STEM fields.”

Dr. Jay Steele, chief academic officer at MNPS, added, “The move of the STEM Hub to Belmont will lead to partnerships with a greater number of colleges and universities in the Middle Tennessee region for advancing STEM initiatives, the promotion of new partnerships with businesses for advancing STEM initiatives, and the promotion of curriculum and instruction related to STEM content that will promote STEM with teachers and students throughout Middle Tennessee. I look forward to our continued relationship with Belmont and the STEM Innovation Hub.”

The Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub began in 2011 as a U.S. Department of Education Race-to-the-Top (RTTT) initiative, a program started by President Barack Obama in 2009 to encourage innovation and reforms in K-12 education. The STEM Innovation Hub was designed to develop strong relationships between all Middle Tennessee K-12 schools, post-secondary institutions, STEM-related non-profits and businesses. The STEM Innovation Hub works with schools to promote STEM innovation and professional development and to provide connection points for districts, schools, colleges, businesses and philanthropic partners in the Middle Tennessee region. Its focus is on the areas of improving student achievement, teacher effectiveness, academic rigor and workforce development.

Moving the STEM Innovation Hub to Belmont is the culmination of efforts that began over a year ago by Provost Burns, Belmont College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) Dean Dr. Bryce Sullivan and STEM Innovation Hub Director Dr. Vicki Metzgar. The move is part of Belmont’s multi-pronged STEM Education Initiative which involves the faculty in Belmont’s Department of Education and College of Sciences and Mathematics as well as partners in K-12 education, nonprofits and businesses.

Sullivan said, “Our partnership with the STEM Innovation Hub builds on a number of Belmont’s strengths including our Education Department’s strong undergraduate licensure and 4+1 programs, our stellar science and mathematics programs, our world-class faculty, and our new state-of-the-art science laboratories and teaching spaces in the Wedgewood Academic Building. We believe this initiative can help promote students’ interest and achievement in STEM fields, which will greatly benefit the Middle Tennessee workforce development for years to come.”

Metzgar added, “I am excited that the STEM Innovation Hub is becoming affiliated with Belmont University. Belmont embodies so many of the values of the STEM Innovation Hub, including our goal of STEM education for all, as well as promoting innovation and collaboration among education, business and community partners that are necessary to ensure sustainable prosperity for our region and state.”

The Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub can now be reached on Belmont’s campus at 615-460-6558.

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