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CWU-Des Moines Helps Define Global Role of 21st Century School Teachers

CWU-Des Moines Helps Define Global Role of 21st Century School Teachers

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Five educators from the Eastern European country of Georgia will visit CWU-Des Moines to learn about CWU’s innovative Teach STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program. Their visit is part of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

“It’s a three-week, professional exchange program through the US State Department,” explained Julianna Patterson, program coordinator for the World Affairs Council of Seattle’s International Visitor Program (IVP). “All of the visitors are current or emerging leaders in their field and they were nominated by the embassy in their country. They have to be doing great work in their field and their community to be selected for the program.” 

Run through its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, IVLP is regarded as the State Department’s premiere professional-development program and is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. The State Department partners with nearly 90 community organizations throughout the United States, including the World Affairs Council of Seattle, to create opportunities for IVLP visitors to meet with their professional peers, exchange ideas, and build bridges of peace and understanding.  

This specific IVLP program, “The Role of School Teachers in the 21st Century,” is aimed at connecting educators and institutions working in teacher training and retention in exploring unique approaches to teaching certification that address the need for teachers in fields like STEM. 

“The Teach STEM program that CWU is doing offers a really unique case study on another way to get students involved in teaching, help solve teacher shortages, and increase the number of students from diverse backgrounds getting into the field,” said Camille Adkins-Rieck, World Affairs Council IVP program officer. “So, I suggested the program to our State Department liaisons and proposed it as a good fit for our visiting educators. They loved it.” 

Jennifer Dechaine-Berkas, who is co-director of CWU’s Teach STEM program and serves on the biology and science education faculty, acknowledged, “It’s an honor for Teach STEM at CWU-Des Moines to be highlighted to these respected educators! This is a great opportunity for our program and students to learn about education in Georgia.”

CWU’s Teach STEM program is a collaboration between the sciences and education that helps students get certified to teach in science and math fields. The two-year program was first offered this fall at CWU-Des Moines. It’s been available for the past two years on the Ellensburg campus.

Darin Knapp, a master teacher, who oversees Teach STEM at CWU-Des Moines, added, “I'm eager to host our visitors from Georgia and share about our Teach STEM model, and how we recruit and prepare future STEM teachers,” said “This will be a collaborative visit and we look forward to learning from the work they are doing to train and keep teachers in the field of education in their country as well.”

While at CWU-Des Moines, the visiting delegation will attend a class and participate in a question-and-answer session.
The delegates coming to CWU-Des Moines are principals or head teachers in K12 schools, and university retention personnel. During their three-week visit, they will also spend time in Baltimore, Boston, Portland, Oregon; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Washington DC. 
“While the theme is around education, in each city they’re hoping to explore different topics,” Adkins-Rieck pointed out. The delegation will be at CWU-Des Moines on Monday, February 10. 
CWU-Des Moines is a partnership with Highline College that provides classes based on community and workforce demands through programs that allow students and working professionals to earn degrees and certifications in education and a number of other disciplines.
The World Affairs Council of Seattle was founded in 1951 to advance global understanding and engagement throughout the Greater Seattle area. Their core programs include community events, classroom program design for K-12 educators and students, and citizen diplomacy initiatives and global exchange programs.


Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,

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