It’s my honor and pleasure to be here before you.

Energy, of course, is a critical area of focus nationally, and an emerging topic of inter-disciplinary research and education.

At CU-Boulder we are positioned to contribute to both in powerful ways.

Our contributions include our Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI). And also CREW, the Center for Research and Education in Wind, which is a partnership between CU, CSU, Mines and three federal labs including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which is the primary sponsor of this summit.

These research and education efforts are vital for developing cost-efficient, marketable technologies, and for training the next generation of new energy pioneers.

But just as important in these efforts is the breadth and depth of our Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education programs at CU-Boulder.

For there is a natural intersection between our energy needs and our educational needs. And yet, as a nation, we are facing a crisis in STEM education.

As a country we rank remarkably low in pre-college international comparisons in math and science in the United States: 21st out of 30 nations in science and 25th out of 30 in math.  This is according to the Program for International Student Assessment by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

How do we address this crisis? One way is with more and better teachers. Two out of three high school physics teachers have neither a major nor a minor in physics, and those physics teachers don't stick.  

The National Academy of Sciences recommends recruiting 100,000 math and science teachers over a 10-year period. That recommendation has spawned the "100K in 10" mobilization.

"100K in 10," is a multi-sector movement of universities, professional organizations, foundations, corporations, school districts, federal agencies, states, and nonprofits to apply their strengths to strategically address this challenge. CU-Boulder is part of this important effort.

We also need more and better STEM graduates. We need a million more college graduates this decade in science, technology, engineering and math to fulfill jobs in those fields, according to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in its February (2012) report.

We need investment to bolster our graduate programs in STEM. The United States, once the destination of the world's best and brightest to obtain advanced degrees is now being outpaced in Ph.D. production for science and engineering doctorates by Asia and Europe, according to the National Science Foundation. 

  • In 2008, about 5 million first university degrees were awarded in science and engineering worldwide.
  • Students in China earned 23 percent.
  • Those in the European Union earned 19 percent.
  • Those in the U.S. earned 10 percent.
  • In 2007 China overtook the U.S. as the world leader in the number of doctoral degrees awarded in the natural sciences and engineering.

We must re-conceptualize what we do in the academy to address these shortcomings at the K-12 level, the undergraduate level and the graduate level. CU-Boulder is taking leadership in addressing these areas of national need.

Our STEM initiatives not only transform the way that undergraduate math and science courses are taught, but also recruit the best math and science students into teaching.

One of our strategies is a multi-disciplinary approach called Integrating STEM or iSTEM, of which I am principal investigator. iStem spans three colleges and 14 departments. We are integrating more than 45 STEM programs on campus through iStem and our STEM community includes more than 50 faculty members, including multiple Nobel laureates and National Academy members. 

Through this collaboration of the School of Education, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering and Applied Science, CU-Boulder has more than doubled the number of STEM majors completing secondary math and science teacher certification compared to just five years ago.

In the areas of highest need -- physics and chemistry – the number of majors enrolling in teacher certification has more than tripled in the past three years.

iStem was seeded three years ago by a National Science Foundation grant when CU-Boulder was one of six awardees nationally to receive an innovation grant to build a Center for STEM Learning.  

Clearly, our future – in both energy and STEM education -- is dependent on the development of new models.

One new model we’ve developed at CU is the Colorado Learning Assistant Program.

The Colorado LA program is an experiential learning model. Undergraduates who have mastered coursework, in say physics or biochemistry, work interactively with their peers in learning difficult concepts by guiding small teams of students to discover answers for themselves. 

These undergraduate mentors discover the skills and joys of teaching while improving the education of their fellow students. Our assessments have shown it to be extremely beneficial for both the Learning Assistants and their fellow students. The LA program has been replicated in nearly two-dozen universities nationwide.

Another way we prepare future math and science teachers is through the CU Teach program, emulating the renowned UTeach program. It allows our students to earn a degree in a math or science major while simultaneously earning a secondary math or science Colorado teaching license.

Yet another innovation is the multi-award winning Physics Education Technology project. CU Nobel laureate Carl Wieman created this education tool that uses interactive Web-based simulations for K-16 physics instruction. It has nearly 75 million downloads across the world in more than 85 languages.

At Colorado we are committed to excellence in innovative research and education. We honor traditional disciplines, and develop knowledge and expertise within existing disciplines.

At the same time, because of our depth and breadth across disciplines, we are positioned to contribute to emerging interdisciplinary efforts – particularly in energy.

We are -- and will  -- continue to contribute to the generation of new knowledge in energy through institutes and centers such as the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute.

But we also are positioned to educate the next generation of scientists who generate new knowledge in energy, the educators who teach new areas like energy, and informed citizens who will vote and act based on our understanding of energy.

We are doing so through our Learning Assistant Program, through CU Teach, through the Physics Education Technology Project, and through our many efforts being brought together through our Center for STEM Learning.  

We are all positioned to contribute to both knowledge generation and the education of current and future generations.

Cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

I believe this to be true of both energy and STEM education.

Thank you.