Texas State OWLS announces Computer Science teacher workshops

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Office of Media Relations
September 13, 2016

The Department of Occupational, Workforce and Leadership Studies (OWLS) at Texas State University has announced a new commitment to offer computer science (CS) workshops for interested K-12 career and technical education teachers as part of the White House’s Computer Science for All summit.

The OWLS commitment will be recognized during the summit by the White House on Wednesday, September 14, as part of Back to School Week. The event will mark progress on expanding CS education since President Obama’s call to action in his State of the Union address eight months ago, and celebrate new commitments in support of the effort.

The OWLS CS workshops will be available to teachers in Round Rock and San Marcos beginning in spring 2017.

Shetay Ashford, assistant professor in the OWLS department, is leading the Texas State effort, which aligns with her research on broadening participation in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)  and computing workforce.

“STEM-focused CTE programs offer a viable solution to provide access to computer science for all students because they integrate rigorous academic coursework and career-themed courses to prepare students for postsecondary STEM education and careers” Ashford said. “As a CTE provider, the OWLS department is uniquely positioned to support the CS for All initiative.”

The OWLS department (owls.txstate.edu), chaired by Mary Jo Garcia Biggs and led by Dean Jaime Chahin in the College of Applied Arts, has been a cornerstone of CTE in Central Texas since 1973.

The case for giving all students access to CS is straightforward. Although nine in 10 parents want CS taught at their child’s school, by some estimates only a quarter of K-12 schools offer a CS course with programming included. The need for such skills across industries continues to rapidly grow, with 51 percent of all STEM jobs projected to be in CS-related fields by 2018.

The White House fact sheet may be viewed at www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/csforall-fact-sheet-9-13-16-long.pdf. The White House summit will be webcast live from noon to 2 p.m. September 14 at www.whitehouse.gov/live.