Indiana University School of Education associate professor Dionne Cross Francis says retirement and attrition are among the factors leading to an increased need for STEM workers in Indiana. She works with schools around the state to help teachers transform their classrooms and encourage students to think and engage in activities. Last fall, Cross Francis was recognized at the Women of Color STEM Conference for her work in math education. She discussed her efforts on Inside INdiana Business Television. Cross Francis is the recipient of the K-12 Promotion of Education award for educators with a demonstrated commitment to enhancing STEM career opportunities for women and minorities. The conference was recently held in Detroit.

On a recent edition of Inside Indiana Business Television, Cross Francis discussed her work to enhance science, tech, engineering and math career opportunities for women and minorities. She also talked about the STEM issue in Indiana. Cross Francis says the south central and south west region of Indiana, is the fourth largest concentration of need for STEM jobs.

“In the next five to ten years, a lot of these jobs are going to be vacant because of retirement and attrition, and so there needs to be a huge focus on making sure that we are preparing, starting from elementary, that we're creating this pipeline so that we will be graduating students who can actually meet that demand,” Cross Francis said.

She says they work with teachers to transform the classroom into an active space. Cross Francis believes it’s important for students to not just memorize and regurgitate information on a test, but to think and engage in activities.

“I think at the heart, teachers want to do what’s in the best interest of their students. And so when you go in and you provide an opportunity say, I’m gonna come in and I’m going to help you to try to create a classroom that you envision and you provide the time and the resources, they definitely show up,” Cross Francis said.

Cross Francis also serves as director for the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration at the IU School of Education.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

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