STEM Network Design

STEM Network Building Services

The Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM has experience in starting up of a broad portfolio of network types designed to support advances in education transformation.

STEM Network Design"Network" is a catchall phrase that refers to formal or informal relationships among people who share a common interest or activity. Most of us belong to dozens of networks. One network does not fit all needs, and those that try to force fit networks, or make them too broad, typically are not satisfied with the results or the cost to keep the networks going. There is a need to establish a rich mix of network types, and TIES has experience doing just that. The result becomes an overlapping and interconnected community of practice with influence and collective knowledge far greater than the sum of its parts.

Members of such overlapping communities become both formally and informally bound together by what they do, and what they learn through their mutual engagement and work.

These types of networks do not spontaneously form, they require deliberate and thoughtful construction and rely on committed founders and early adopters during the formative stages. At TIES, our work focuses on creating environments that fuel a specific style of collaboration among education stakeholders. Our network "work" is aimed at deliberately crossing boundaries between essential, but typically non-overlapping, sets of stakeholders. We have implemented networks that connect public and private groups, political and nonpolitical, philanthropic, teacher leader and business, and individual communities.

We are good at establishing the conditions for very specialized types of networks to form, and to enable these networks to be preconditions to connect with other formal and informal networks that already exist, and are relevant to each other.

TIES works with early adopters and founders whose passion is essential to getting the network off the ground and building its early legitimacy and credibility. Since collaboration best occurs when members see enlightened self-interest in their participation, this is an early design element in the formation of any new network that we undertake. A strength of TIES is our pattern recognition based on the breath of networks we have created locally, regionally, within states, and across state boundaries.

We can accelerate or jumpstart the creation of a network by using common tools that have been transferred from other successful installations, as well as identifying new processes and practices that will underpin the sustainability of the network being created.

STEM Network Design Projects

  • STEM Funders Network (SFN): A TIES team of expert consultants has managed the creation, design and now, expansion of the SFN. The STEM Funders Network (SFN) is comprised of a diverse mix of education-focused philanthropies from across the nation. The overall goal of the Network is to advance STEM education by leveraging the collective voice, resources, and strategies of its members. SFN objectives are to increase STEM grant maker knowledge and expertise; and engage in high-impact projects no grant maker could undertake alone.
  • California STEM Learning Network: The goal of the California STEM Innovation Network (CSINet) is to promote scientific, technical and quantitative literacies to strengthen K-14 STEM college and career pathways for students in order to create the workforce needed to compete globally in the 21st century and to create a STEM savvy culture within California.
  • Change the Equation: As a founding member of Change the Equation, Jan Morrison, President, TIES, provides technical support to the network of more than 100 CEOs as the new organization pledges to create widespread literacy in science, technology, engineering and math.
  • Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance (TRSA): TIES is working with the Oklahoma Innovation Institute to create a STEM Alliance for the region of Tulsa. The initial work of the Oklahoma Innovation Institute and TIES is funded in part by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The work focuses on creation of a regional STEM alliance, by engaging stakeholders in a facilitated design process. TIES is providing an assessment of STEM assets in the region and state and convening funders, business, institutes of higher education, and non-profits to define the vision, goals, and strategy of the alliance. The design work will culminate in the creation of a Design Blueprint an actionable strategy for operationalizing and sustaining the alliance. At the outset, the OII STEM Alliance is envisioned to function as a convener, facilitator, collaborator and neutral organization to build and stimulate STEM activities in the Tulsa Region.
  • STEMConnectors STEM Connector is a one-stop holistic resource web site that documents initiatives of over 2600 STEM-related resources, including corporations, educational institutions at all levels, foundations, professional and trade associations, government, states, national laboratories and technology centers, women, diversity and global initiatives. It includes state efforts in a major way with profiles, statistics and report cards.

Past Projects:

  • North Dakota STEM Network: TIES is supporting North Dakota to create a statewide STEM network. Jan Morrison, President, TIES, speaks to the network and its goals in a North Dakota Youtube
  • North Dakota Valley City STEM Center: TIES provides support to North Dakota to design state STEM Network.
  • NC STEM Learning Network: With the direction of Jan Morrison and her team, NC STEM Community Collaborative was formed to align communities strengths with state and national needs. STEM education gives everyone a chance to succeed in North Carolina
  • The Empire State STEM Learning Network: Under the direction of Margaret Ashida, with the assistance of TIES, The Empire State STEM Education Initiative, led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will identify ways to advance education in STEM disciplines across New York State, and throughout all aspects of the New York State education enterprise.
  • Innovate-Educate New Mexico: TIES has partnered with Innovate-Educate NM to develop and coordinate new, innovative efforts to inspire and engage education professionals and students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Together the organizations recognize the critical need for private-sector leadership in STEM education as an "All Hands on Deck" approach that serves as a catalyst to position 21st century skills at the center of P-20 education in the United States.
  • Jewish Funders Network: Effective Philanthropy to Improve Education Results: TIES will support the Rashi Foundation and the Jewish Funders Network in hosting a one-day conference pertaining to effective philanthropy in education.
  • Ohio STEM Learning Network: TIES is delighted to be a part of the founding design team for the OSLN. TIES functions as the Management for the Core Management Team for Research and Development and External Services for the OSLN.
  • Department of Education: Race to the Top Fund: Awards in Race to the Top went to the States that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive education reform. TIES design teams work with states to create and build the finest STEM education programs to improve and advance science, technology, engineering and mathematics teaching for students regardless of grade level. Along with the Race to the Top winners TIES will help trail-blaze effective reforms and provide examples for state and local school districts throughout the country to follow.

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