Maryland universities have been leading the way in getting more students to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, according to an article published August 10 in the Baltimore Business Journal.
Dr. William LaCourse, Dean of Natural and Mathematical Sciences was interviewed about UMBC’s work to expand the STEM fields. The university has seen natural and mathematical sciences growing 28 percent, and engineering and information technology growing 19 percent from fall 2007 to fall 2011. That represents 488 and 411 students, respectively, compared to a growth of 768 students in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
LaCourse told Gantz that growth in the STEM fields means his college will likely have to add sections in courses like first-year chemistry, along with hiring another professor, finding available space and securing more teaching assistants. However, he sees potential, rather than a problem. The additional course sections could be tailored for a particular degree or somehow provide a more personalized experience.
“We are at the stage where we’re reaching some limits,” LaCourse said. “But this is an opportunity.”
UMBC is proud to announce the appointment of Dr. William LaCourse as Dean of the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences (CNMS) beginning July 1st, 2012, according a press release by Provost Designate and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Philip Rous. Holding a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry obtained at Northeastern University in 1987, Dr. LaCourse had been serving as Interim Dean since August of last year, and had previously served as Acting Dean, as well.
He had previously served as Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, as well as Scientist at the Ames Laboratory of Iowa State University before joining UMBC in 1992. Dr. LaCourse was also crucial in the creation of the Chemistry Discovery Center, which was a model for the CNMS Active Science Teaching and Learning Environment (CASTLE) program at the university, which has in turn served as a model for other universities in the nation.
According to the release, Dr. LaCourse’s responsibilities will include “the strategic advancement of the College’s research and educational mission; the long-term financial stability of the college; and strategic budgeting and planning to strengthen the faculty, improve student success at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and support and enhance research activity,” among others.
Congratulations to Dr. LaCourse on his past, present, and future success with CNMS.