This project aims to create a networking framework that promotes teaching leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
This is a two year funded project. Start date: March 2014 End date: March 2016
This is a federally funded project – Office of Learning and Teaching Priority Two Project: Leadership for Excellence in Learning and Teaching 2013. Disciplinary and Cross Disciplinary Leadership
With identified skills shortages across the engineering, science and technology professions, there is a growing need for highly trained academic staff able to impart knowledge from their own disciplines and create cross disciplinary STEM opportunities for current students.
The Ecosystem model is a mesh network of inter-connected individuals who draw skills and knowledge from role-modelling and mentoring and who design new approaches to learning and teaching.
Through this ecosystem framework, senior STEM academics are supported and encouraged to explore non- traditional ways of teaching STEM disciplines and test new methods of education and learning.
An industry-led reference group has been formed to expand the Ecosystem to future academic staff, other universities and industry bodies through its senior representation.
A series of projects underpin the Ecosystem and demonstrate ways of incorporating hands-on, real world, cross disciplinary learning.
Each of these projects aim to facilitate the intended outcomes to:
- Increase capacity of STEM academic staff to design, develop and lead industry-relevant cross-disciplinary courses.
- Formalise engagement of STEM discipline learning and teaching staff to the Ecosystem.
- Increase number of STEM staff-initiated cross-disciplinary learning and teaching projects.
- Improve understanding and awareness of specific learning and teaching strategies to maximise the outcomes for students engaging in STEM cross-disciplinary projects.
- Provide a learning and teaching repository of cross-disciplinary STEM resources.
- Improve national and international connectivity and leadership for STEM teaching and learning academic staff and the STEM Communities of Practice.
- Embed cross-disciplinary teaching and learning strategies in discipline curriculum.
Water Innovation Challenge
The inaugural WorldSkills Water Innovation Challenge was the first project completed as part of the Ecosystem where a multi-skilled team competed in Singapore to produce innovative sanitation solutions for the developing world.
Two teams from Australia and the United States competed to benefit communities in Nepal and Bangladesh with innovative concepts for clean water and sewage systems.
The RMIT team included staff and students from four schools and the Office of the Executive Director Vocational Education across science, media, engineering, design and plumbing, four students representing the team in Singapore.
The project epitomised the theory of the STEM Ecosystem Project through successfully providing opportunities for staff development and leadership, and student engagement.
Katherine Sunrise Project
In late 2014, the second Ecosystem project will commence. Focussing again on water sanitation, RMIT will partner with the Katherine Sunrise Project to improve water sanitation across two indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.
This project aims to include participants from a range of vocational and higher education STEM disciplines.
Two additional projects are anticipated for 2015.
- Julianne Reid (RMIT University) – Project Leader
- Belinda Kennedy (RMIT University) – Project Manager
- Patricia Mclaughlin (RMIT University) – Project Member
External project members
- Lydia Kavanagh (University of Queensland)
- David Dowling (University of Southern Queensland)
- Philip Poronnik (University of Sydney)
Project reference group
- Alan Bradley (Engineers Australia)
- Ian Curry (Manufacturing Skills Australia)
- Cathy Foley (CSIRO)
- Roger Hadgraft (Central Queensland University)