STEM Ed Centers: A National Conversation > Center Profiles > FHSU Science and Mathematics Education Institute (SMEI), Fort Hays State University
Author Profile

FHSU Science and Mathematics Education Institute (SMEI)

Our primary mission is to raise the STEM literacy of our community.

Teacher Education, Fort Hays State University
Established: 2005

http://www.fhsu.edu/smei

Profile submitted by Paul Adams

Vision and Goals

  1. Provide professional development in science and mathematics content for pre-service and in-serivce science and mathematics teachers strengthening subject matter knowledge and developing pedagogical skills.
  2. Seek external funds to support science and mathematics education programs
  3. Function as a central coordination for outreach and professional development offerings in science and mathematics available through the FHSU science and mathematics departments and community programs.

Center/Program Structure

The FHSU Science and Mathematics Education Institute (SMEI) operates independently within the College of Education and Technology. It is expected that SMEI collaborate across all colleges (Arts & Science, Health and Allied Sciences, Agriculture, and Education) to identify and seek funding for projects, workshops, etc. Externally SMEI collaborates with other colleges and education programs in our region and nationally. It is run by one faculty member, Paul Adams, as part of his service load. There are no FTE positions, only shared help from the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science an early entry to college program.

Description of Programming

SMEI sponsors STEM summer camps (very successful)for youth, K-12 teacher workshops, Science Cafes for the community (five years and 50 programs - very successful community outreach), a Science and Engineering Fair for the region, Robot Competition for middle school students. Audiences - teacher workshops on the order of 75 teachers a year, camps on the order of 150 youth, Science Cafe 400 people per year. The Science Fair reaches 50 youth, and Robotics reaches 220 youth.
Other programs: digital planetarium, space week with community rocket launch, and a NSF Noyce Scholarship grant..

Successes and Impacts

Our greatest success has been the Science Cafe. It is an informal monthly presentation on a current science topic. Over 400 people a year attend our programs coming from all walks of life - high school students, university faculty and students, and citizens in the community. A survey was conducted in the Fall of 2012 to measure the impact of the program; the indications were that this is very successful. Another successful program has been our digital planetarium check-out for schools and community groups, which was funded through a private donation. Over 5000 youth have had the opportunity to experience the program within its first year. The NSF NOYCE Noyce Scholarship program has just started, but shows promise of being very successful.

Elements Contributing to Success

We have no funding except through the indirect that is provided from grants, grants, and donations. Adams, the director, is given permission to run the organization within his service time, and permission from the president to utilize on a shared basis, financial management and secretarial help.

Supplemental Materials

SMEI Trifold (Acrobat (PDF) 841kB Jul8 13)

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