STEM Ed Centers: A National Conversation > Center Profiles > University of Kansas Center for STEM Learning, University of Kansas Main Campus
Author Profile

University of Kansas Center for STEM Learning

STEM Literacy for everyone

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Kansas Main Campus
Established: 2000

http://kuscied.ku.edu

Profile submitted by Steven Case

Vision and Goals

The University of Kansas Center for Science Education (CSE) was established in the Fall 2000 based on a recommendation from the Task Force on Science Education appointed by Chancellor Robert Hemenway. The CSE is an interdisciplinary collaborative venture intended to improve science education at KU and throughout the state of Kansas, and contribute to scholarship in science education on a national and international level. CSE activities involve scientists, science educators and education specialists from many units on the Lawrence campus including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Education, the School of Engineering, the Center for Teaching Excellence, the Center for Research on Learning, and the Natural History Museum & Biodiversity Research Center. The mission of the CSE is to provide leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education by:

  1. Promoting and improving K-12, undergraduate, and graduate STEM education to enhance the quality of all Kansas learners,
  2. Improving STEM teacher development, including recruitment, pre-service development, induction period support, and in-service development,
  3. Improving informal education and public outreach, and
  4. Developing and expanding innovative, interdisciplinary STEM education research that addresses the initiatives of the CSE.

Center/Program Structure

The Center is an interdisciplinary collaborative research center within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. intended to improve science education at KU and throughout the state of Kansas, and contribute to scholarship in science education on a national and international level. CSE activities involve scientists, science educators and education specialists from many units on the Lawrence campus including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Education, the School of Engineering, the Center for Teaching Excellence, the Center for Research on Learning, and the Natural History Museum & Biodiversity Research Center.

The Center has seven clinical faculty (Master Teachers), two academic advisers, a business manager and a director. Affiliated faculty come from across the university and have a home in within their department.

Description of Programming

The Center for Science Education has successfully developed several grant-funded programs and research initiatives to fulfill its mission. With funding from the Kauffman Foundation, the National Mathematics and Science Initiative (NMSI) and the University of Kansas, the UKanTeach STEM teacher development program was launched in 2007 and this program has become the focus of activity of the Center. The UKanTeach program gives clear focus for the several elements of the Center's mission statement. It is anticipated that the UKanTeach program will continue to be a programmatic point-of-focus for the activity of CSE for the next several years. Additional Center programs that help us achieve our mission include; NSF Noyce Scholarships, NSF GK-12 program STEM graduate student training program, the UKanTeach Induction Program, the Middle School Science Academy and the Kansas Science Initiative.

Successes and Impacts

UKanTeach is our highly successful, four year pathway to secondary STEM teacher licensure. In this program, students can complete a BS or BA degree in mathematics or natural science and the coursework required to obtain a secondary teaching license. This program is based on recommendations put forth by the National Academies of Science in the 2005 blue-ribbon panel report, "Rising above the Gathering Storm."

UKanTeach Program Staff

Center for Science Education staff associated with the UKanTeach program and ancillary support programs include the Master Teachers. UKanTeach Master Teachers are unique in the university structure because they are non-tenured faculty members with an MA, MS, or PhD who are Professors of Practice. They are part of the Center for Science Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Master Teachers are extremely skilled and knowledgeable, have strong credentials in public school teaching, and may or may not be involved in conducting research. Master Teachers are a core component of the UKanTeach teacher preparation program and are one of the most important elements of success. Master Teachers have experienced years of successful teaching and are widely recognized for their educational leadership. They are credible to the UKanTeach students because they have actually taught in the public school environment. It is also essential to have this credibility when working with school district administrators and teachers. People of similar cultures can talk to each other and be understood because they have a common language. Teachers know how to talk to other teachers, administrators, and students. Master Teachers are totally committed to the success of implementing and maintaining a quality teacher-preparation program, and must be willing to do whatever it takes for this goal to be obtained. Master teacher have the single pursuit of building a program to produce highly qualified teachers.

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