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Jackie Spears

Assoc Dean Jackie SpearsDr. Jackie Spears works part-time at Kansas State University Olathe in a role that focuses on helping school districts and higher education strategically reform and improve students' education in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics — or STEM — fields so that their knowledge and skills better translate to industry needs.

Spears is collaborating with the Shawnee Mission School District on research and reform efforts that better connect K-12 STEM education with workforce needs in the Greater Kansas City area and across the U.S. She also is looking at how to get youth excited about the STEM fields so that they pursue the tract when earning a university degree. 

Additionally, Spears is working with higher education on putting more emphasis on bachelor's and master's degrees in STEM fields. This is intended to increase the nation's skilled labor force and help the U.S. address its projected shortage of 1 million fewer professionals in the STEM fields than are needed in the next decade. 

She also works as a professor of curriculum and instruction and director of the Center for Science Education in the College of Education at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

Spears and collaborators currently work on projects funded by the National Science Foundation: two GK-12 projects; a research project focused on student math placement in moving from high school to postsecondary education; and projects linking climate change research with K-12 education. She also works on a Kansas Board of Regents STEM teacher development initiative.

Jackie can be reached at jdspears@k-state.edu or at (913) 307-7313.