The OSLN Southwest Hub supports and promotes science and mathematics education as well as integrated STEM education in Southwest Ohio. As schools and teachers across the region work to meet the challenges of STEM education, the SW Hub and its collaborators work to recognize and utilize the many STEM education resources developing across the region, sharing expertise and insights within the STEM community.
A primary endeavor of the SW Hub is to organize and provide professional development for teachers and administrators, business and industry, informal STEM education providers (museums, nature centers, organizations and agencies) and institutions of higher education. By recognizing the many professional development resources in the region and promoting their distinctive efforts, a range of professional development opportunities are provided. The SW Hub works closely with the Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative as an essential partner along with Partners for a Competitive Workforce and the Strive Partnership. These partnerships have a meaningful and measurable impact on formal and informal K-12 STEM learning in the tri-state Greater Cincinnati region. Business, education, and other community organizations come together as partners to find best practices to increase student interest in and readiness for STEM careers and meet STEM workforce needs in the region. Additionally, STEM education is promoted for all students as they find their way in a highly complex and technological society.
The SW Hub, while anchored in the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services, calls upon STEM programs across the University of Cincinnati as important resources, both content and approach, to this reform-based effort. Other colleges and universities across the region bring their valuable expertise and resources to the collaboration as well. Cincinnati Public Schools Hughes STEM High School serves as a focal point with its efforts to develop a 7-12 school promoting STEM education. School districts and education agencies all across the tri-state region bring insights and context to the work. The various cross-sector partnerships that are emerging bring unique perspectives as challenges are addressed and solutions found. In order to explore innovative best practices, demonstration projects act as incubators for new approaches and partnerships and to document lessons learned. Here innovations in STEM teaching and learning are developed and evaluated by a team of stakeholders. Each project is designed to impact STEM education through the development of authentic STEM experiences for students, teachers, or parents. Career exploration is an integral part of these STEM authentic experiences. Demonstrations projects result in models for cross-sector partnerships as well as instructional approaches involving business and industry. As partners work together on demonstration projects, a coherent and broad-based approach to STEM education is developed that can be more broadly implemented.