Iowa’s STEM program garners interest abroad

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Friday, February 7, 2014

A group of educational leaders from various Japanese universities is visiting the University of Iowa to discuss Iowa’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) initiative and garner strategies and tactics to develop a STEM program in Japan.

The group arrived Thursday, Feb. 6 and will be in the community through Saturday, Feb. 8.

The Japanese contingent, leaders from the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, and UI educators and administrators are gathering to discuss local and international STEM curricula and are taking an in-depth look at Iowa STEM happenings with trips to several Iowa City schools including Lincoln Elementary.

The visitors are also touring parts of the UI campus, including the UI's Center for Computer Aided Design.

Yoshisuke Kumano, professor of science education at Shizuoka University in Japan, is leading the Japanese delegation.

Iowa’s impressive STEM results and Kumano’s relationships with Robert Yager, professor emeritus of science education in the UI College of Education, and Jeffrey Weld, executive director of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, gave Kumano incentive to choose Iowa’s STEM program as a guide to Japan’s future STEM initiative.

"We are honored to host this distinguished group of visitors and to share best practices and insights about some of the STEM innovations happening on the UI campus and across the state," says P. Barry Butler, UI executive vice president and provost. "We at the UI are proud of our role in preparing so many students to contribute to society in a diverse array of careers such as education, engineering, environmental science, and health care."

Those visiting from Japan include the following:

• Kumano, who is also the president of the Japan Association of Energy and Environmental Education and vice president of the East-Asian Association for Science Education;

• Tetsunori Imamura, professor of science education at Yamagata University;

• Shingo Uchinokura, associate professor at Kagoshima University;

• Irma Rahma Suwarma, Ph.D. program candidate at Shizuoka University and lecturer at Indonesian University of Education;

• Tomoki Saito, Ph.D. program candidate at Shizuoka University and Toi Junior High School Science Teacher;

• Tomonori Ishizaki, Ph.D. program candidate at University of Tsukuba

Members of the Iowa delegation are the following: Nicholas Colangelo, dean of the UI College of Education; Yager; and Weld, who is also an alumnus of the UI College of Education's science education program with three degrees—a Bachelor of Science in 1983, a Master of Science in 1994, and his doctorate in 1998.

During their visit, the group will also visit with other science educators and administrators and will have an opportunity to tour the Iowa Children's Museum in Coralville.