The Collaborating for Education and Research Forum has been a gathering place
for Michiana K-12 teachers and university outreach professionals for the past ten
years. Drawing an average of 150 participants, the annual Forum is becoming a
centerpiece of professional identity for Michiana STEM educators at every level.
Better than 95% of program participants have agreed that the Forum is effective in
achieving its goal of promoting Integrated STEM Community in Michiana.
The Forum is a showcase of opportunities to collaborate across traditional
educational divides, whether school-to-school, district-to-district, or K12-to-
university. Participating individuals and programs have at least three ways to
connect with one another: over information tables at the lunchtime Collaboration
Bazaar, in response to “requests for information” forms in each participant packet,
or by following up on the contact information distributed in a full-color pamphlet
highlighting the full range of University STEM outreach opportunities. Local
participation has been consistent and deeply rooted: the forum has had over 450
unique participants; more than 200 K-12 teachers have attended a Forum and at
least one other STEM outreach event; all but 3 of the more than 130 Michiana K-12
schools with which we have record of any outreach activity have been represented
by teachers at one or more Forums.
In addition to highlighting STEM outreach programs, each Forum is an occasion to
highlight issues of importance to regional educators. In 2017, the 10th consecutive
Forum (michianastem.org/ForumX) focused on efforts to integrate STEM education
and workforce development, especially in manufacturing. Speakers included Brian
Wiebe, co-chair of the Michiana Partnerships Workforce committee, who described
the Pathways approach to integrating STEM education and workforce development;
Kate Lee of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce, who introduced
manufacturing internships for high school students and teachers; and George
Twaddle of Ivy Tech, who highlighted the technical college role in State-wide efforts
to integrate Pathways to manufacturing.
The Forum series was launched with funding through the Notre Dame extended
Research Community (NDeRC), an NSF-sponsored GK-12 program, and has
continued as a collaborative effort of multiple University offices and programs.
Support for the Forum is drawn from sponsoring Colleges, Departments, Centers,
and programs. Highlights from past Forums can be found at