Columbus State University and Phenix City Schools Exploring STEM Partnership

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University and Phenix City Schools are working on a partnership to address a priority both organization see as critical to their future:  science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

The Phenix City Schools are planning to break ground on a new, state-of-the-art science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) laboratory adjacent to its Phenix City Elementary and Intermediate School campuses.  Aimed at immersing students in real-life application of concepts, the laboratory will require new teaching strategies that fully engage students, said Phenix City Schools Superintendent Randy Wilkes.

With its education college moving downtown, Columbus State University may be uniquely positioned to help.

Wilkes recently met with Columbus State University's College of Education and Health Professions Dean Deirdre Greer and CSU Provost Tom Hackett to discuss the possibility of a partnership between the Phenix City Schools and Columbus State aimed at promoting student success in science and math. Also participating from the Phenix City Schools were Student Services Director Joe Blevins and Technology Specialist Tamara Sanders.

“I’m excited about the possibilities for a partnership between our two institutions and the impact we can have in our community with students of all ages,” said Sanders about the potential for joint projects between the Alabama school system and the University System of Georgia institution.

“With the planned move of the College of Education and Health Professions to Broadway in downtown Columbus, the proximity of the Phenix City Schools to teaching programs at Columbus State will create a unique synergy,” said Greer.

A joint task force is being formed to explore future possibilities for bi-state collaboration between the school district and the university.

The partnership would build onto other efforts the university already has under way to ignite students' interest in STEM and to improve STEM teacher education. For instance:


  • Columbus State University and the Muscogee County School District have partnered to give every elementary student in every school a chance to interact annually with the university’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center

  • Columbus State is among five Georgia universities participating in a national initiative to boost the number of outstanding STEM teachers — in science, technology, engineering and math — and how they’re prepared to teach as part of the prestigious national Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships program.

  • CSU received a $1.4 million grant in 2012 as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top program to produce more STEM teachers through UTeach Columbus, which is modeled after a successful University of Texas program.

  • CSU also has received a $1.2 million award from the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, named after the famed computer chip inventor, for a proposal called CRAFT-STEM, short for Columbus Region Academy for Future Teachers of STEM, which is helping Columbus State recruit, develop and graduate an increasing number of high school STEM teachers.


[caption id="attachment_5356" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Pictured are, L-R: Joe Blevins, Director of Student Services, Personnel and Operations;  Tamara Sanders, Instructional Technology Specialist;  Randy Wilkes, Superintendent; Dr. Tom Hackett; Dr. Deirdre Greer. Pictured are, L-R: Joe Blevins, Director of Student Services, Personnel and Operations;Tamara Sanders, Instructional Technology Specialist; Randy Wilkes, Superintendent; Dr. Tom Hackett; Dr. Deirdre Greer[/caption]

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