The Use of Regional Data Collection to Inform University Led Initiatives: The Case of a STEM Education SWOT Analysis

  • Jerlando F. L. Jackson
  • LaVar J. Charleston
  • Juan E. Gilbert
Keywords: STEM, Education, University, SWOT


According to the National Science Foundation (NSF; 2006), science and engineering jobs constitute a growing sector of the United States economy. H the number of science and engineering degrees has lagged behind this occupational growth. In describing Wisconsins technology profile, Winters, Strang, and Klus (2000) report that the state is nationally ranked 23rd in the number of Ph.D. scientists produced and 26th with regard to the number of Ph.D. engineers produced. Thus, enlarging the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) pipeline in Wisconsin is a vital to increasing and maintaining its economic stature. This objective is perhaps most important in the seven-county region of southeastern Wisconsin (M7), as it accounts for 34% of the states workforce, and, according to the 2000 Census, is the most racially diverse area of the state. As such, this paper assesses the status of STEM affairs in Wisconsins M7 region in an effort to provide an environmental scan of its readiness to be reframed as a STEM corridor. A strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis is conducted to understand how to: (a) boost student participation in STEM at all educational levels in the M7 region, (b) increase STEM participation in order to bolster industry hiring in the region, (c) convince more STEM graduates to remain in the M7 region and attract STEM professionals on the whole, and (d) gain a greater understanding of the activities or initiatives that cement cooperative relationships among STEM organizations.