Des Moines Area Community College President Rob Denson has been chosen to lead a national forum for college and university leaders to address the need for more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent. 

Denson will chair the STEM Higher Education Council, a new initiative announced today by STEMconnector, a national network and website launched in 2011 to identify and connect STEM programs throughout the United States. The Higher Education Council's mission will be to bring focused energy to higher education's leading high-impact practices, increasing the emphasis on STEM pipeline-to-jobs efforts.


Martha Kanter, who served as U.S. secretary of education from 2009 to 2013 and currently is a distinguished visiting professor of higher education at New York University, will serve with Denson as the council's senior adviser. Denson and Kanter will guide the design and implementation of the council's vision, goals and accomplishments.


"We're pleased Rob will take his passion and leadership to STEMconnector's Higher Education Council as its new chairman," said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who co-chairs the Governor's STEM Advisory Council in Iowa and chairs STEMconnector's Food & Ag Council. "Rob is an engaged member of the Governor's STEM Council and will help drive the message that great careers await students who obtain the STEM skills to fill the jobs."


The council will coordinate an Impact Summit to be held Oct. 8 in New York City, in which business and higher education leaders will showcase pioneering examples of partnerships that ensure student success in college and careers.


Participants will share best-in-class STEM models of workplace learning through internships, co-op programs and mentorships, especially focused on engaging underrepresented populations in STEM fields leading to employment.


Interested in Iowa's STEM efforts?

We recently invited five members of the community to the Business Record to talk about the opportunities and challenges facing STEM in Iowa. To read staff writer Kyle Oppenhuizen's takeaways and to watch a video of the discussion on STEM,Click here