By WRAL Tech Wire STEM News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bayer Corporation has unveiled a new report titled, “STEM Education, Science Literacy and the Innovation Workforce in America: Analysis and Insights from the Bayer Facts of Science Education Surveys 1995-2011.”

The report, the newest component of the company’s Making Science Make Sense program, became available on Thursday at Bayer’s STEM Diversity and Higher Education Forum held in Washington.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The report is a compilation of 15 years of Bayer Facts of Science Education public opinion research surveys, which have taken the pulse of American attitudes about timely issues related to science and technology, science education, and more recently, STEM diversity and underrepresentation.

The surveys have polled various audiences, including the nation’s Ph.D. scientists and science teachers; STEM department chairs at the country’s leading research universities; Fortune 1000 STEM company CEOs, corporate human resource directors and other business leaders; and deans of colleges and universities, as well as parents, students and the general public.

“Taken together, the surveys offer an important snapshot of American public opinion on virtually every phase of the STEM continuum from elementary school through undergraduate/graduate education and the STEM workplace,” said Rebecca Lucore, Executive Director, Bayer USA Foundation, and head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Bayer Corporation.

“The new report identifies key intersections of thought, belief and concern among these diverse stakeholders and we believe the trends that have emerged are important and instructive for those working in the STEM arena,” she added.

In mapping the nearly two decades of research, the report reveals 15 beliefs held universally by the stakeholders.

Here are the top 10:

1. Science literacy is critical for all Americans young and old, scientist or non-scientist.

2. U.S. global economic leadership and competitiveness are intrinsically linked to a robust science and technology innovation pipeline and workforce.

3. America’s future STEM leadership is dependent on the country’s ability to recruit and retain more women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians (underrepresented minorities) in STEM fields.

4. Science interest and ability are color-blind and gender-neutral: from an early age, boys and girls of all races, and ethnic backgrounds are interested in science.

5. Parents and teachers are critically important to nurturing children’s science interest, even if they themselves are not scientists or don’t have all the answers.

6. In elementary school, science should be the “4th R” and given the same emphasis as reading, writing, and mathematics.

7. A hands-on, minds-on approach to science education is the best way for students to learn science and build crucial science literacy skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to work in teams.

8. Students and teachers benefit from having direct access to scientists and engineers on a regular basis in the classroom.

9. America’s leading research colleges and universities should rethink how they define academic success when it comes to undergraduate STEM students.

10. America’s STEM industries and communities need to more effectively communicate with all of today’s students about a range of issues including job opportunities, and the fact that they are wanted and needed in these jobs.

To learn the remaining five beliefs from this study, view the online version of the full report.