Inspiring and empowering students to prepare for college and academic success through immersive explorations of STEM and health fields has earned Wayne State University's C2 Pipeline program recognition unlike any other in the nation.
The program, which is sponsored by the WSU College of Nursing and funded through the Michigan Department of Education's 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, was awarded AdvancEd STEM Certification. AdvancEd is a non-profit, non-partisan school credentialing organization that also studies STEM curriculum standards and supports continuous assessment and improvement in educational efforts to meet real world career needs and demands.
The mission of the C2 Pipeline program is to inspire and empower students to prepare for college and academic success through immersive explorations of STEM and health fields that give them the technical skills and knowledge they need to engage in real-life argument, increase reasoning, problem solving, planning and collaboration.
The breadth and depth of STEM opportunities these students are given is a credit to the C2 Pipeline program's partnerships with several schools and colleges across campus, including the School of Medicine, School of Social Work, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, College of Engineering, Mike Ilitch School of Business, Irvin D. Reid Honors College and College of Education's Department of Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies, as well as the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry.
"The program not only prepares students for college, but also enhances students' secondary school experience," said the College of Nursing's Donald Neal, grant principal investigator and program director.
Program activities center on health, engineering, social work, health science, business, dental and pharmaceutical fields with the goal of increasing graduation rates, improving academics and helping to ensure students are college- and career-ready.
To earn the AdvancEd STEM certification, Neal participated in a professional development training process and performed a rigorous program self-evaluation that was then reviewed by AdvancEd.
Following its intensive review, AdvancEd noted that the C2 Pipeline had "powerful practices" in demonstrating a commitment to increasing STEM learning for underrepresented groups by providing varied programming opportunities. It was also noted that the program has developed and sustained dynamic, mutually beneficial relationships with community partners for the purposes of sustainability and resources.
As a result of this rigorous evaluation by AdvancEd, Neal said, "We learned how the expectations of STEM program functionality is changing and what techniques can ensure ongoing success." He continued, "Through this process we were able to collaborate and link with our day school teachers to learn how to craft STEM plans and to build momentum towards personal and organization wide unifying STEM goals."
The program is based at the Wayne State College of Nursing, however, it is an interdisciplinary program that works with other schools and colleges across campus to provide educational STEM opportunities beyond nursing for its high school participants. Nineteen metro Detroit high schools, inclusive of grades 9-12, are served by the college's C2 Pipeline Program, which has three main components: after-school programming centers, annual summer programs, and the Innovation and Curiosity Center on WSU's campus.