STEM, HASS, and Our Community of Education

by Brian A. Boecherer
When reading any newspaper or education journal these days, it is nearly impossible not to see an article on the importance of STEM education. A Google News search of STEM results in an average of 12.6 million news articles daily. This year alone, the Federal budget for STEM education was suggested to be $2.9 billion, an increase of 3.7 percent. The acronym does not even need to be defined in the news, because it is now an established part of our lexicon.
Naturally, in so many ways, the emphasis on STEM education is essential to our present success and comfort as well as our future development and longevity.  UConn ECE has worked for many years with the departments at UConn to establish diverse STEM offerings to our high school partners. We recently added engineering to our offerings, complementing our rich offerings in plant science, soil science, environmental science, math, biology, chemistry, physics, and other courses. On page 4 & 5 of the newsletter, you can see the breakdown of course offerings in these areas. We are proud of these
offerings as they support a diverse education as well as a gateway into many STEM and non-STEM majors.
As we all push to strengthen the STEMs in the country, we must also not forget the importance of the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS). Education in these areas is just as important. And while the acronym invokes images of the avocado, the humanities, arts, and social sciences benefit both science and our society; inspiring creativity, developing our culture, and allowing science to be applied in beautiful, functional, and engaging ways. Indeed, Human Development and Family Studies is a required
course for nursing majors. Likewise, math and science courses are required to graduate from the University.
UConn ECE offers many rich opportunities in all these areas. Moreover, UConn ECE supports small
departments as well. This fall it was so much fun to attend the ECE Classics Workshop and listen to the dynamic conversations for Latin and Ancient Greek instructors. I learned that the Latin instructors were recruited as the first computer programmers due to their logic and eagle-eye precision. While our Italian offerings are at only 10 percent of partner high schools, it is also the second most popular second language spoken in Connecticut, and we enjoy supporting those communities.
In short, we like supporting the interests and passions of education; educators and students. Our micro programs are as vibrant as our large programs. All of our programs are communities and academic neighborhoods. Our advice is do not trade one for the other, but build a diverse UConn ECE program so all students are supported in multiple ways.