Michigan State University is leading the way in a multi-year and multi-million-dollar project to improve education for universities nationwide. The research will specifically help students studying science, technology, engineering, and math, also known collectively as STEM education. When finished, these educational changes could even be felt around the world.

Ann Austin, professor of higher, adult, and lifelong education at MSU will lead the proposition. Austin will use $2.7 million worth of grant money from the National Science Foundation to try and tweak how science, technology, engineering, and math are taught.

“We are interested in the STEM areas because we know that the country and the world at large really need people who are well prepared.”

The work will be divided into three projects. One will study various university networks on how they use stem education, ultimately to gather best practices from each and make improvements. The second brings together 41 different universities to improve teaching preparation for the next generation of faculty members. The third project focuses on the evaluation of teaching.

Austin believes the work will take years, but the result will likely be felt across the globe.

“We’re really contributing to the whole world. All of us across the world are facing challenges about water, energy, population expansion and many other issues. The more all of us understand how to address those problems, the better we will be.”

The National Science Foundation will also give an additional $4.9 million worth of grant money to help low-income community college students studying math and science to transfer to MSU. The money will provide financial and academic support to increase the number of people completing a four-year degree in STEM area subjects.