- Responsibility for the state of science literacy rests largely with institutions of higher education, who are the ones that educate the teachers.
- In STEM, universities are failing the majority of students, in part because adherence to rigid academic approaches makes these fields forbidding.
- Arizona State University eliminated some academic departments such as biology and geology and embraced a “transdisciplinary” approach.
- In the past decade undergraduate enrollments in STEM majors at Arizona State have doubled overall and increased significantly for women and minorities.
Every so often leaders from business, industry and government sound the alarms about the waning of U.S. scientific and technological prowess and call on academe to produce more graduates. Education leaders at the university level then point an accusatory finger at primary and secondary schools for producing marginal students and at the students themselves for having little interest in science. Yet responsibility rests largely with the universities. They, after all, educated the teachers—the same teachers who seem to have made learning math and science too much like an Olympic triathlon: an ordeal from which few stars emerge.
This article was originally published with the title Citizen Science U..