One Decade, One Million more STEM Graduates
Increasing the number of students earning STEM degrees designated as a federal cross-agency priority

The Obama Administration has formally designated increasing the number of students who receive undergraduate degrees in STEM fields by 1 million over the next decade a Cross-Agency Priority goal. With this designation, President Obama intends to focus attention and resources, require cross-agency coordination and encourage sharing of best practices among agencies. 

The announcement signals a concrete step toward addressing recommendations made earlier this year by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) 2012 report entitled Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

The title of the report, “Engage to Excel,” applies to students, faculty, and leaders in academia, industry, and government. Students must be engaged to excel in STEM fields. To excel as teachers, faculty must engage in methods of teaching grounded in research about why students excel and persist in college. Moreover, success depends on the engagement by great leadership. Leaders, including the President of
the United States; college, university and business leadership; and others, must encourage and support the creation of well­aligned incentives for transforming and sustaining STEM learning. They also must encourage and support the establishment of broad­based reliable metrics to measure outcomes in an ongoing cycle of improvement.

The report details five overarching recommendations to transform undergraduate STEM education during the transition from high school to college and during the first two years of undergraduate STEM education:

  1. Catalyze widespread adoption of empirically validated teaching practices.
  2. Advocate and provide support for replacing standard laboratory courses with discoverybased research courses.
  3. Launch a national experiment in postsecondary mathematics education to address the math preparation gap.
  4. Encourage partnerships among stakeholders to diversify pathways to STEM careers.
  5. Create a Presidential Council on STEM Education with leadership from the academic and business communities to provide strategic leadership for transformative and sustainable change in STEM undergraduate education.

Read the full report.