Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator

The Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator is an $800,000 grant awarded to each of 5 regions within the State. South Texas College was awarded the lead in the South Texas region. The goal of the TRSDA is to support regional teams (that include K-12, higher education, and workforce) who will ensure that up to 100,000 students (40,000 from South Texas) earn STEM degrees and certificates that meet regionally-identified workforce needs. (The South Texas focus is on Health Care and Information Technology/Computer Science.)

In conjunction with the grant STC created the Rio Grande Valley STEM Faculty Institute (RGVSFI). The goals of the Institute are:

  • To promote the use of innovative instructional strategies in higher education classrooms in order to foster student engagement and success;
  • To connect and engage faculty with local workforce and employers in STEM fields; and
  • To promote the development of leadership and change management skills among higher education faculty in order to impact systematic change and alignment of practices among regional institutes of higher education.

TRSDA

PROJECT Impact

This project is anticipated to accomplish the following outcomes:

  • Train 132 college faculty and 69 dual credit teachers
  • Serve nearly 30,000 college students and 15,000 dual credit students
  • Produce over 7,500 certificates, 3,000 Associate’s and 2,700 Bachelor’s degrees

Our Region

The four counties of the South Texas Rio Grande Valley area of South Texas are home to over 1.1 million Hispanics. In this region, education levels are lower and poverty rates are higher than the state average. In fact, the regional percentage of Bachelor’s degrees and the per capita income are under half the statewide average.

Why Healthcare and Computer Science

The top STEM occupations in South Texas are in the healthcare and informational technology sectors, and demand in these professions is projected to increase. South Texas College is one of three community colleges in Texas authorized to offer bachelor’s degrees and is developing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. The regional team’s two pathways – Healthcare and Information Technology – will be strengthened through interventions designed to support students by: aligning classroom practices, fostering engagement and learning among faculty, sharing best practices among institutions, and integrating workforce data.

The three major activities are detailed as follows:

  1. Develop Rio Grande Valley STEM Faculty Institute: The regional team will develop a rigorous STEM Faculty Institute that promotes innovative instruction (particularly the Common Instructional Framework) and develops deep partnerships among regional institutions of higher education and employers.
  2. Strengthen Leadership and Change Management for Faculty: To make this project transformative, faculty will learn to advocate for change among colleagues, embed leadership into course curriculum, and incorporate workforce skills into teaching and learning.
  3. Expand Dual Enrollment: South Texas College offers dual credit to 23 school districts and 70 high schools. This project will allow STC to increase the number of high school students who can earn college credits that lead to a healthcare certification or four-year degree.