Provost’s Blog

Written by Whitten

Breaking new ground in STEM education

Sep 14, 2014

The Science Learning Center's 33 instructional labs will be designed for interactive learning in core undergraduate science courses.

It's not surprising there was so much excitement surrounding the Science Learning Center groundbreaking last month. Interest in the STEM fields is booming on this campus. 

Biology is by far the most popular major at UGA, and the number of biology majors has increased by 160 percent in the past decade alone. Enrollment in chemistry, computer science, biochemistry and molecular biology, math and other STEM fields is high, as well. Overall, 42 percent of our students have declared a major in the STEM fields.

The growing student interest in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields helps move Georgia to the forefront of today’s knowledge economy. Nationwide, the number of STEM jobs grew three times faster than non-STEM jobs over the past decade. And STEM jobs tend to be well-paying, too, with an average annual salary of $78,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

UGA has responded to the surging interest in the STEM fields with the establishment of the College of Engineering in 2012, and we are expanding research opportunities for students through the CURO Research Assistantship program, which was launched this fall. CURO Research Assistants receive a $1,000 stipend to participate in faculty-mentored research, and UGA is one of the few institutions that gives students the opportunity to work alongside faculty on research projects as early as their freshmen year.

The 122,500-square-foot Science Learning Center will house 33 instructional labs designed for interactive learning in core undergraduate science courses. It also will contain two 280-seat lecture halls and two 72-seat classrooms that are designed to foster active learning through the SCALE-UP (Student-Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs) learning model. In SCALE-UP classrooms, interaction among students and faculty is maximized through the physical layout of the room and the use of the latest technology, and the learning model has been shown to improve problem-solving abilities as well as students’ understanding of the material.

The groundbreaking ceremony included remarks from Gov. Nathan Deal, Chancellor Hank Huckaby and President Morehead, and the entire campus community is grateful for the support that the Board of Regents, Gov. Deal and the Georgia General Assembly have provided for this project. The Science Learning Center is scheduled to open in 2016, and I have no doubt that the students who will be educated there will contribute to the economic vitality of Georgia and beyond.

For more information

Previous Posts