National HE STEM Programme attends the Higher Education Academy STEM Conference
Several National HE STEM Programme projects were present at the Higher Edcuation Academy's first STEM conference at Imperial on 12-13th April.
The HEA held their first annual STEM conference at Imperial last week which was very well received and well attended. The focus of the event was on educational practices and how practitioners across the STEM sector could work to improve the 'student experience'.
The National HE STEM Programme was well represented at the event with numerous projects having submissions accepted and presenting their projects to colleague from across the sector.
The Programme itself was invited to host a session on 'Friday the 13th' which seemed to go without any of the anticipated hiccups. Michael Grove chaired a session focusing on the transition to university and how colleagues could look to innovative approaches to tackling and addressing transition related issues.
Dr Kerry Baker and Janet Midgley from University of Bradford spoke about the STEM outreach labs which forms part of a Practice Transfer Partnership. The project, lead by Bradford but working closely with colleagues from Imperial, looks at how HE labs can be used by schools to encourage interaction and outreach activities. As interesting aside from this project is that it also provides CPD opportunities for academics and students by forcing them to enhance their communication skills.
Dr Catherine Smith then spoke about her role as a Royal Society of Chemistry school teacher fellow. Catherine is a teacher currently on sabbatical at the University of Leicester working on the skills deficit students arrive with and how working with schools might resolve some of these issues.
Following this Claire Nix and Leeanne Hunnex told the audience about their work on STEM careers awareness resources, a project lead by the Wales spoke focusing on giving schools professionals increased training in STEM careers choices. Leeanne is a student enrolled on the course so it was interesting to hear her perspective and how it was affecting her every day practice in school.
Finally Dr Tony Sewell spoke about his work at Generating Genius, a charity focusing on supporting boys from deprived areas and mentoring them from an early age through to undergraduate degree programme. This project is looking to expand into other areas, now working with girls and families too.