New General Engineering Plus degree sparks passion for STEM teaching

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CU Teach Engineering student Andi Vicskman (right) works with students on a project during Girls Explore Engineering Day at CU-Boulder in fall 2013.

The program intends to become a model for engineering colleges across the nation that believe the best should teach.

General Engineering Plus (GE+), a new design-­focused degree launched in fall 2013, provides flexibility for students to design their education through a discipline-­based engineering focus area, coupled with a concentration such as CU Teach Engineering, Entrepreneurship or Pre-­medicine. It is co­-directed by Derek Reamon and Jackie Sullivan.

The GE+ degree grew out of the College of Engineering and Applied Science's desire to produce, at scale, secondary math or science teachers to raise the bar for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) literacy in middle and high schools. CU Teach Engineering is the inaugural concentration of GE+ and presents a novel, streamlined approach to STEM teacher licensure.

The creative, integrative nature of engineering provides a motivating environment for improved learning of fundamental science and math princi­ ples and is shown to be an effective way to introduce youth to relevant  and innovative STEM content through exploration of the designed world.

For Andi Vicksman, a GE+ CU Teach Engineering sophomore, this means teaching high school math. Vicksman has always loved math but recognizes that many students don't understand how it is applicable to the world around them. Vicksman intends to integrate concepts from applied mathematics and engineering for high school math through project­-based learning, believing that "doing different projects that involve math and engineering will get students more involved."

Launched through a grant from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation - whose goal is to develop, support and retain 100,000 high­-quality STEM teachers over the next 10 years - CU Teach Engineering intends to become a model for engineering colleges across the nation that believe the best should teach.

> Learn more about the General Engineering Plus program


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