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Grand Canyon University educating students to help fill STEM jobs of the future

Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon University

PHOENIX — Arizona is expected to have a large number of STEM jobs available in the future, and one local university has created programs to help fill those jobs.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and Arizona could have over a million of those jobs available by 2018.

Grand Canyon University is looking to prepare its students to work in those industries upon graduation. The university recently started engineering and computer science programs that students can major in during their time in college. Right now, about 60 percent of GCU students are studying in STEM or business related fields.

“We’re going to make this state a lot more attractive in terms of companies wanting to move here and create jobs,” said GCU president Brian Mueller.

Mueller said that faculty worked with industry leaders to create a curriculum that would be most beneficial for students. It allows students, even freshman, to get a hands-on experience while in college.

“They’ve taken a very practical approach in terms of giving students, right away when their freshmen, real work to do,” Mueller said.

Michael Sheller, associate dean for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at GCU, said they combine lectures and labs together. Once a concept is introduced in about five to 10 minutes, students get a hands-on experience immediately after the lecture.

“We’re getting away from the standard lecture, where somebody gets up there and talks for 50 minutes,” Sheller said. “You lose students that way.”

GCU’s new engineering building is nearing completion. The state of the art facility has classrooms ready to go for the fall semester, with lab space and workshops set to open in January.

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