University of Utah - Center for Science and Mathematics Education (CSME)
University of Utah
Profile submitted by Jordan Gerton
Vision and Goals
The Center for Science and Mathematics Education (CSME) was provisionally established in 2009 to provide a bridge between the College of Science and College of Education at the University of Utah, primarily to amplify institutional efforts to develop a more sustainable Math and Science teacher education program.
Since its inception, the CSME has broadened its mission and activities to include initiatives that focus on increasing student achievement and persistence in math and science. This broader mission is served by programs that seek to make an impact both over the long-term (K-12 teacher development) and short-term (undergraduate success). In addition, the CSME has a strong commitment to broadening participation of underrepresented populations in math and science through several K-12 student-focused initiatives.
The CSME is an independent center located between the College of Science and the College of Education. It supports a small but diverse staff and has grown dramatically since 2009. CSME staff members (approximately 11 FTE) include faculty members, administrative staff, program staff, and undergraduate students. The Center also collaborates with many researchers, faculty members, organizations, and contractors.
Description of Programming
Through programs that enhance K-12 teaching, engage K-12 students, and empower undergraduates, the Center for Science and Mathematics Education (CSME) strives to increase the number and diversity of graduates with competency in science and math. Our programs include K-12 teacher preparation and professional development, hands-on science education opportunities for diverse K-12 students, and cohort-based learning and research experiences for undergraduates.
- Our science and math teacher preparation programs are designed to enhance content knowledge and make teachers more effective in the classroom. Current programs include the Master of Science for Secondary School Teachers (MSSST), Teacher Research Fellows, an Elementary STEM Endorsement, and an annual Navajo Teacher Training Workshop.
- We bolster K-12 student involvement by promoting student-driven research, engaging diverse groups, and providing new ways to connect with math and science. K-12 programs include the Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Fair (an annual competition involving over 600 students in grades 5-12), the REFUGES program (providing academic support and enrichment activities for refugee students), and Sports 'n Science (using the popularity of sports to disseminate science content and generate interest in STEM).
- By offering programs for under-represented students and encouraging best practices in education, we promote retention and success in math and science. Undergraduate programs include STEM Mentors (providing students with science communications training), Undergraduate Sustainability and STEM Scholars (providing a diverse student cohort with scholarships, mentoring, and research opportunities), and a summer science bridge course (assisting incoming undergraduate minority, women, and refugee students with the transition to university life).
Successes and Impacts
Among CSME's greatest successes is the Master of Science for Secondary School Teachers (MSSST) program. MSSST is a two-year degree for in-service secondary school teachers and has graduated over 60 students since the CSME began in 2009. MSSST students and graduates teach in a variety of schools, from charter schools to high-need Title 1 public schools.