College of Engineering, Knox County Schools Discuss STEM Education

If, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, then seeing something in person is surely worth a million.

Counselors from Knox County high schools and members of the College of Engineering listen as college dean Wayne Davis, at right, talks during a recent meeting between the groups.

Counselors from Knox County high schools and members of the College of Engineering listen as college dean Wayne Davis, at right, talks during a recent meeting between the groups.

At least that was the idea recently, when officials from Knox County Schools and the College of Engineering met to discuss trends in education, programs and possibilities within the college, and the needs and ideas of current high school students.

“Just as we tell our students that visiting a campus is so important toward making their choice, having the opportunity to have face-to-face conversations between college officials and school counselors allows counselors to better gauge fit for their students,” said Beverly Anderson, secondary counselor facilitator for

Knox County Schools. “It’s much easier to conjure up a visual of a campus when you’ve visited.

“Brochures just don’t have the same power as real time on-campus.”

Anderson, along with counselors from twelve Knox County high schools, met with UT’s Wayne Davis and Masood Parang, dean and associate dean for academic and student affairs respectively in the College of Engineering.

They spelled out key components of the college, including camps, outreach and engagement programs, and support for secondary education through various events.

The vital role of the college in light of the growing national emphasis on education related to STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—was also discussed, helping counselors understand better the disciplines offered.

Additionally, the meeting served as a way for the college to better understand what high school students want to know when they seek counselors’ advice on choosing a university.

“Being able to talk to them, to hear what concerns and questions they face when giving students guidance, helps us better prepare as a college and gives us an understanding and insight into some of the challenges that they face,” said Davis.

“Meetings like this are of a mutual benefit to both sides.”

Anderson agreed, pointing out that the connections opened channels of communication that last well beyond the initial meeting.

She mentioned several questions that could be eased by such meetings:

  • What types of challenges do new students face?
  • What kind of support system is in place?
  • What are some of the opportunities for professionals on both the secondary and college side to help students?

“In the end we all want the same thing: an opportunity for students to advance their education in a way that allows both the student and the college to grow and flourish,” said Anderson. “Bringing together both levels of our education system for a common cause can only be a positive thing for students.”

 

CONTACT:

David Goddard (865-974-0683, david.goddard@utk.edu)