The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation has renewed its partnership with Michigan Technological University to support the operation of Mi-STAR. In 2014, the foundation provided the inaugural $5 million gift to Michigan Tech that resulted in establishment of Mi-STAR, which stands for Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform. The foundation’s board of trustees approved the partnership renewal at its annual meeting.
The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation President Ruth Alden Doan stated, "The Board of Trustees is pleased to continue its support of the Mi-STAR program. Michigan Technological University’s ability to expand their funding base to support the Mi-STAR program is validation of the value school districts and science education advocates found in the curriculum."
Mi-STAR’s curriculum was designed to fully align with all of the Michigan Science Standards and the national Next Generation Science Standards. Each unit in the curriculum focuses on a problem related to one or more of the 21st-century grand challenges identified by the National Academy of Engineering and other professional science/engineering societies (e.g., energy, water, sustainability, health).
Teachers who use Mi-STAR are supported by the Mi-STAR Professional Learning Program, which includes web-based modules, a help desk and a community forum. They learn to use the curriculum and enhance students’ "transferable" or "employability" skills (e.g., communication, problem-solving, critical thinking). Membership in the Mi-STAR Network, which includes teachers and others who have completed the professional learning program, reached an all-time high of 1,187 in 2019.
Michigan Tech President Richard Koubek said, "We appreciate the commitment of the Mi-STAR team to advance the educational outcomes of middle school students throughout Michigan. They exemplify the role Michigan Tech plays in advancing the vitality of our state."
Stephanie Tubman, Mi-STAR’s coordinator of curriculum development and implementation in Michigan Tech’s Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, stated: "The Mi-STAR program was founded five years ago through a partnership between The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation and Michigan Tech. Due to that partnership, the program has had the freedom to make tremendous innovations over the last five years. Mi-STAR is now generating substantial benefits for middle school students and their teachers around Michigan. None of this would have been possible without The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation’s collaboration."
Michigan Tech’s Mi-STAR program has also received support from the National Science Foundation, the MiSTEM Advisory Council through the Michigan Department of Education, and from schools and districts throughout Michigan.