FHSU's Science and Mathematics Education Institute will join a national effort to increase the national teaching pool of qualified STEM teachers.

Part of SMEI's mission is transforming the future of rural Kansas and across the country through innovation, ingenuity and radical outcomes.

The state of STEM Education at the end of 2018, 2.4 million STEM jobs were projected to go unfilled according to an article by iD Tech.

Among the reasons given for the shortages include access to and qualification for STEM teacher certification, which is a problem especially for women and minorities, and beginner STEM education, which is not readily available early in a child’s life.

SMEI’s specific effort will focus on developing strategies to ensure success in recruiting and retention of STEM teachers in rural areas.

FHSU's institute is partnering with 100Kin10,an industry and educational collaboration launched in 2011 as an answer to President Obama’s call during his 2011 State of the Union address to train 100,000 new STEM teachers in a decade.

“Partnering with 100Kin10 will allow us to connect with a nationwide network of organizations to share innovative ideas and expertise, which will help build our capacity to advance STEM education and improve our work,” said Earl Legleiter, SMEI director.

“Joining also allows us to make proposals, do research, and find solutions to the national STEM teacher shortage,” Legleiter said.

“Our specific interest and contribution is with rural schools,” said Paul Adams, dean of FHSU’s College of Education. “We will take part in research on what works to recruit and retain STEM teachers in rural settings.”

Adams indicated this is an important extension of SMEI’s ongoing efforts to address the needs of STEM teachers in rural America as part of their two National Science Foundation grants already in progress.

The 100Kin10 network has already shown significant signs of growth and success.

The 100Kin10 collaboration is on track to exceeding the goal of training 100,000 teachers by 2021, with more than 68,000 teachers currently trained.

Existing partners and an expert panel vetted and selected the 41 new programmatic partners, including Fort Hays State University, and six funding partners that have officially joined the network base.

The new partners are joining a network of more than 280 current partners, including the nation’s top academic institutions, nonprofits, foundations, companies and government agencies.

All partners register their commitments to ending the STEM teacher shortage through 100Kin10 and support one another to achieve those commitments by exchanging expertise, learning and resources.