The Center for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning Excellence (CASTLE), founded in 2014, is currently home to fourteen funded initiatives centered on translational pedagogies. CASTLE is housed in the 3401 Market St building in the heart of the University City Innovation Neighborhood. The center is rooted in Drexel’s long history of experiential learning and innovation in STEM education, embodied by both the Co-Op program and the E4 program, an NSF-funded, inquiry-based curriculum pioneered by the College of Engineering in the 1980s.
Since its founding, CASTLE has not only been successful in securing new funding for STEM education initiatives, but also in becoming part of large, national programs focused on improving STEM education, including the UTeach and CIRTL (Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning) National networks which combined encompass 71 of the Nation’s top universities. These network partnerships are positioning CASTLE and Drexel to lead a national STEM transformation. There is a demonstrated need for improving STEM education nationally, to: generate a larger and more diverse STEM workforce, engender a better educated public, address achievement gaps among different racial and ethnic groups, improve performance of U.S. students on STEM related exams compared with their international peers, and enhance the quality of STEM educators. Despite significant national dialogue and funding for STEM education, sustained improvements in these areas have not yet been achieved.
I welcome everyone to join us in our quest to improve the state of STEM education throughout Philadelphia, the tri-state region, and the entire nation. Stop by and listen to one of our seminar speakers, join us for a rousing discussion at a Pedagogical Happy Hour, or just come chat with us about your ideas and how we can work together. We look forward to seeing you and hearing your ideas for excellence in the STEM transformation!
Adam K. Fontecchio