Thursday, June 1, 2017

For Immediate Release

Board Member Spotlight: Dr. Jacob Foster, STEM Consultant

photo courtesy of Jake Foster

The Museum Institute for Teaching Science (MITS) is pleased to announce that Dr. Jacob Foster, former Director of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) at the Massachusetts Department of Education, has been appointed to MITS’ Board of Directors. Jake brings to the MITS board a wealth of experience and an understanding that “The [science, technology, and engineering] education landscape has been changing rapidly over the past 5 or 10 years with the introduction of updated STEM standards, increased engineering programming and spaces, and increasing importance of STEM in our state economy.”  Jake hopes to use this knowledge to “help MITS consider the implications of such changes to enhance the great work MITS has done to support science education.”

Jake’s interest in science, which led him to earn a B.A. in Geology from Hampshire College, was inspired by teachers and professors. He went on to teach high school physical and earth sciences, and worked with the Coalition of Essential Schools on school reform efforts like project-based learning and portfolio assessments. In pursuit of a larger impact, he studied at the University of Michigan, earning a Ph.D. in Science Education.

Jake’s tenure at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), begun in 2005, spanned multiple major shifts in the national and state education systems. As the Director of Science and Technology/Engineering, he oversaw the state’s standards and curriculum framework for science and technology/engineering, as well as state-funded professional development. He is a member of the Operations Board for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and the Board of the Council for State Science Supervisors. His work has also been recognized at a national level; he was a member of the design team for the National Research Council’s Conceptual Framework for K-12 Science Education and the writing team for the Next Generation Science Standards.

Jake presenting at a MITS Professional Development Seminar

Moving forward, Jake is interested in influencing large-scale changes in science and technology/engineering education. In addition to his work with MITS, he is also a consultant on WGBH’s “Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms” project, which aims to make media resources from federal science agencies accessible to K-12 classrooms. As he commented at the Global STEM Education Center Symposium, he sees collaboration as a priority, although he acknowledges that it can be challenging. According to Jake, “MITS is situated in a unique space in the educational system that bridges informal education with teacher development and programming in formal schooling”. This allows MITS to “serve as a model for collaboration across organizations for the advancement of science education”.

The MITS staff and board are pleased to have Jake join the Board of Directors and look forward to working with him.

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The Museum Institute for Teaching Science specializes in providing hands-on, minds-on, inquiry-based STEM professional development for formal and informal educators.  For more information, visit www.mits.org or call 617-328-1515.

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