Improving the entrepreneurial skills of tertiary students is one of the 15 live education projects at the new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Tertiary Education Centre (STEM-TEC) at AUT University.
To achieve this, the project is currently establishing a STEM Student Entrepreneurs Club to encourage graduates to stimulate innovation in the New Zealand tech sector.
Other live projects include themes such as increasing the retention and success rates in tertiary STEM programmes and enhancing the growth of high achieving tertiary STEM students.
The new centre will be opened today by Minister Steven Joyce and is the first and only of its kind in New Zealand - STEM-TEC focuses on providing research opportunities and educational resources for the teaching of STEM subjects at tertiary level.
To date, the majority of the promotion of STEM subject has occurred in primary and secondary education, with relatively separate and targeted initiatives at third level education.
This new Centre will research and implement best practice strategies for the teaching and learning of STEM subjects.
The mission of STEM-TEC is also to increase the number and enhance the quality of in-demand New Zealand STEM graduates.
Founding Director of STEM-TEC, Sergiy Klymchuk, says that the new centre will take a multi-dimensional approach to tertiary STEM education.
“The majority of users of the Centre will participate via regular seminars; professional development block courses, exchange programmes and international conferences," Klymchuk says.
"However, we also want to engage with our community, including Maori, Pacific Peoples and female students, through contests, competitions and promotional events.
"As the Centre is hosted online it also gives us a greater level of flexibility to adapt to the needs of our users and the industries our graduates will become part of.
“While we are constantly developing strategies for the next generation of STEM graduate the demand for these graduates already exists. STEM-TEC is already delivering on our goal to produce quality STEM graduates for New Zealand’s science and technology sector."
Founded in 2013, STEM-TEC is used by lecturers from AUT and other New Zealand tertiary institutions, who are interested in formal research in STEM subjects and new educational strategies for the teaching of STEM subjects.
The Centre will also work with domestic and international public and private partners to enhance the quality of STEM education at the tertiary level.
Through these partnership, STEM-TEC seeks to broaden its reach, attract further students into STEM subjects and increase career opportunities.
For more information on the Centre, visit www.stemtec.aut.ac.nz.