News from the Aurora University community

STEM Partnership School continues to move forward with floor plan

Posted by on March 7, 2013

The progress of the John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School continues to move forward and a floor plan has been developed by Aurora University architects. Staff from the Institute for Collaboration and faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences have provided input into the design, which will include eight classrooms for the 200 students enrolled in the STEM Partnership School from our partner school districts: Aurora East, Aurora West, Indian Prairie and Oswego. The university is continuing to raise funds to support the construction and equipping of the school, which will be built as an addition to Stephens Hall on the east side of campus.

In addition to the classrooms, six laboratories are being designed and equipped as part of the initiative. The laboratories will be multi-generational, serving third through eighth grade students in the STEM Partnership School as well as undergraduate and graduate students at Aurora University. Faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences have aligned the laboratories to the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core Standards for Mathematics. In addition, they have identified specific AU courses that can be taught in each of the laboratories and will select furniture that will support the multi-generational use. For example, lab tables can be adjusted in height with the push of a button.

Corporate and non-profit partners are also staying involved, creating lessons and field experiences for school district educators aligned to the laboratories. This work is being coordinated by Dr. Ray Dagenais, an adjunct professor at Aurora University, and Peter Wright, Supply Chain Manager with Caterpillar.

The laboratories will greatly enhance the university’s science facilities and enable faculty to provide inquiry-based and interdisciplinary lab courses to university students that will highlight the merging of several STEM areas. In addition, the laboratories will allow children from the local school districts to engage in hands-on experiences that will connect content knowledge to real-world applications. The STEM Partnership School will also create opportunities for collaboration between STEM faculty and non-STEM faculty, promote faculty interaction with K-12 teachers and corporate partners, and allow faculty to stay current with K-12 curriculum and corporate challenges. It will be an exciting place for learning and innovation!

For more information on the John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School, visit