University of Idaho STEM Initiatives

Our mission is to lead cutting edge integrated STEM research, teaching practices and outreach efforts using Idaho as a learning laboratory, targeting under-represented students, and focusing on UI strengths.

University of Idaho
Established: 2012

Profile submitted by Melinda Hamilton

Vision and Goals

Objective 1: Inspire and Prepare
Aimed at K-12 students in Idaho, University of Idaho will be a leader in programs that excite students

about the possibilities of STEM higher education and STEM careers, make them aware of the educational and workforce opportunities and pathways, and prepare them to successfully pursue those pathways.

Objective 2: Support for Success
The University of Idaho will develop, implement and adopt best practices for undergraduate and graduate education that increase student achievement in, involvement in, and successful completion of STEM programs, degrees, and courses. Support programs will assist students from all backgrounds in their pursuit of STEM education. Particular focus will be placed on key attrition points in the first 2 years of the undergraduate experience.

Objective 3: Integrate Research
Educational research efforts will be assimilated into disciplinary research efforts at the University. As more and more sponsors require education and outreach components in funded programs, the expertise of faculty in teaching and learning will be critical assets of STEM disciplinary research teams. University of Idaho's reputation as a leader in research fields such as agricultural science, natural resource and conservation and engineering will be enhanced further with this integration.

Center/Program Structure

UI STEM Initiatives is an independent center that reports to the Vice President for Research and the Provost and is housed in the College of Education. The program has one full time Director and is otherwise a virtual network of programs encompassing the College of Education, the College of Science, the College of Natural Resources, and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Description of Programming

Our programs cover the spectrum of K-12, undergraduate and graduate STEM education. Our focus is on preparing students for higher education pathways in STEM, developing programs to ensure success of STEM undergraduate and graduate students. Programs are evidence based and UI is proud to participate in a variety of government and private funded research to better understand the impacts on interventions on learning outcomes and student achievement. Our research programs are interdisciplinary and involve faculty from the STEM disciplines as well as learning research faculty from the College of Education. UI is particularly invested in research and development of professional development for in-service teachers that utilizes the natural environment as a learning laboratory.

Successes and Impacts

The UI conducted the first of its kind 5 year research program to understand the perceptions and attitudes of Idaho's students, parents and teachers with respect to science and math education and the barriers that prevent students from pursuing and achieving STEM careers. Pilot interventions are now being investigated to address the barriers based on these findings.

Elements Contributing to Success

The establishment of the center as a campus wide entity rather than a specific college program has opened up a dialogue and collaboration cross campus.

Supplemental Materials