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A recent survey showed that an estimated 30,000 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) jobs in Washington will go unfilled in the next five years due to a lack of qualified candidates.

The University of Washington Bothell campus is helping to fix that.

The UW Board of Regents officially approved the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) last week. The school of STEM will bring together two existing programs — computing and software systems, and science and technology — and house them under one school.

“The designation of the School of STEM recognizes the growth and development of our science and technology programs over the past four years,” Kenyon S. Chan, UW Bothell chancellor, said in a press release. “The new school will build on existing strengths and facilitate increased collaboration among faculty, staff, and students in curricula, research, and community partnerships.”

The creation of the school was also due to the increased interest in STEM-related degrees — enrollment in the computing and software systems has doubled in the past 15 years.

The school, which now serves more than 600 students, will offer seven undergraduate and two graduate degrees, with three more (Chemistry, Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering) coming in fall of 2014:

  • Applied Computing (BA)
  • Biology (BS)
  • Climate Science & Policy (BS)
  • Computer Science and Software Engineering (BS and MS)
  • Cyber Security Engineering 
  • (MS – begins fall 2013)
  • Electrical Engineering (BSEE)Interactive Media Design (BS) Mathematics (BS – begins fall 2013)

A School of STEM advisory board has also been created, with reps from Microsoft, Boeing, Phillips Healthcare and other prominent companies helping to provide guidance to make sure the school is keeping up with industry needs.

Elaine Scott was named the school’s first dean.

“We are working with our colleagues in the UW Bothell education program, along with partners in the K-12 system to encourage and equip young people from all backgrounds to consider a career in math, science, computing or engineering,” Scott said.

The UW-Bothell branch campus was established in 1990 and is one of three campuses of the UW, along with the main Seattle campus and the UW-Tacoma school.

In overwhelming fashion last week, the Washington State House voted 95-3 to pass a new bill in the Washington State Legislature that may allow computer science classes to count as a math or science requirement toward high school graduation. The bill now moves onto the Senate.

UPDATE, March 27: Previously, we wrote that UW-Bothell was the first school in the state to combine STEM fields into one academic unit. Though it is technically the first “school,” to do this, Western Washington has combined STEM fields under one roof at its College of Science and Technology for more than ten years.

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