University of Vermont

Vermont Quarterly

STEM: A Beginner’s Guide


STEM: A Beginner’s Guide

It’s a familiar acronym at the University of Vermont and other universities these days. For those not immersed in education, STEM is shorthand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Strengthening education and research in these academic areas is a national priority for developing thinkers able to take on the critical complex issues that face our society and for strengthening our position in the world economy. Closer to home, STEM graduates are essential for the state’s workforce and broader well-being.

“As Vermont’s public research university, we have an obligation to step up—and we are both prepared and excited to do so,” Provost David Rosowsky told UVM’s Board of Trustees this winter. “We have deep applicant pools in the STEM disciplines, with some of the most well-qualified students. If we make it a priority, redirect existing resources and strategically invest new resources, we can double our STEM enrollment.”

The provost also stressed the role that STEM plays in the academic life of the entire campus. “Scientific literacy, technological competency, and an understanding of the role science and technology play in shaping our society must be considered core competencies for a UVM graduate, as important to an undergraduate education as the humanities and the arts, the social sciences, writing, cultural competency, and global understanding,” Rosowsky said.

New and improved facilities are key to the university’s ability to meet the STEM imperative. As the project promises to be at the forefront of UVM priorities across the next several years, we offer a brief guide to STEM Complex essentials.


A 250,000 square foot complex, consisting of both new and renovated space, dedicated to research and teaching in the physical sciences, engineering, computer science, and mathematics disciplines.


New structures would be built on the sites of Angell and Cook halls; Votey Hall would be renovated; all will be connected into a single complex.


Phase I, consisting of a research and teaching lab located roughly where Angel Hall is now, would be completed in December 2016. Phase II, a classroom and office building located roughly in the space occupied by Cook, would be completed in June 2018. The Votey renovation would occur in multiple phases and finished in June 2018. 


The UVM Board has authorized $2.0 million to fund the programming, conceptual and schematic design phase of the project. Trustees have also granted preliminary approval to the university to issue bonds to fund 75 percent of the project, contingent on several variables: the university’s ability to raise the remaining 25 percent in private philanthropy and other non-debt funding, the board’s approval of schematic drawings of the project, and UVM’s ability to stay within its debt limit of 5.75 percent.


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