Center for Science, Mathematics & Computer Education

The CSMCE focuses on improving the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at both the K-12 and collegiate level.

Center for Science, Mathematics & Computer Education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Established: 1993

http://scimath.unl.edu

Profile submitted by Jim Lewis

Vision and Goals

The mission of the Center for Science, Mathematics & Computer Education (CSMCE) is to support UNL faculty engaged in educational activities (teaching, research and outreach) focused on improving the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at both the K-12 and collegiate level. With support from UNL's Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Sciences, and Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the CSMCE works to build partnerships among leaders in the higher education and K-12 education sectors that further our basic mission.

Center/Program Structure

The CSMCE is an independent unit housed in the College of Arts and Sciences. It brings together faculty from three colleges. It provides an infrastructure to support faculty in three colleges who are engaged in STEM education research, teaching and outreach. Eleven faculty have partial appointments in the CSMCE and many more are involved in externally funded projects that receive administrative support from CSMCE staff. Leadership of the CSMCE is provided by Director Jim Lewis, a professor of mathematics [currently serving as Deputy Assistant Director at the National Science Foundation's Directorate of Education and Human Resources], Acting Director Judy Walker, professor and chair of mathematics, and Associate Director Wendy Smith. Six full-time employees comprise the CSMCE staff: an accountant, communications director, events coordinator, information technology coordinator, administrative technician and receptionist.

Description of Programming

The CSMCE supports a broad range of activities from grant funded research to outreach programs for K-12 students to professional development opportunities for teachers. Through two Programs of Excellence, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has made a major investment to support the education of teachers of math and science. Current programs include:

  • NebraskaMATH: A $9.2 million Math Science Partnership grant (2009-2013) from the National Science Foundation supports a partnership among UNL, Lincoln Public Schools, Grand Island Public Schools, Papillion-La Vista Public Schools, the Omaha Public Schools and Nebraska's Educational Service Units. See http://scimath.unl.edu/nebraskamath/index.php for more information.
  • NebraskaNOYCE and UNL Science Scholars are National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program grants, See http://scimath.unl.edu/noyce/ for details.
  • NebraskaMATH Omaha Public Schools Teacher Leader Academy: Supported by a $5.5 million grant from The Sherwood Foundation┬« and the Lozier Foundation in Omaha, the OPS Teacher Leader Academy is a major extension of the NebraskaMATH grant to strengthen math teaching and learning in the Omaha Public Schools. See http://scimath.unl.edu/opstla/ for details.
  • UNL-Lincoln Public Schools Title I Mathematics Professional Development Partnership: Supported by over $1.1 million in Title I Professional Development funds from the Lincoln Public Schools, this partnership supports K-8 mathematics teachers in Title I buildings to participate in Primarily Math and Math in the Middle.
  • Math Early On: Supported by over $1.1 million grants from the Buffett Early Childhood Foundation, Math Early On extends work with mathematics teachers to the preschool/early childhood levels. Working with educares in three locations, this project is developing longitudinal professional development in mathematics for early childhood educators.
  • Nebraska Math and Science Summer Institutes: Courses for K-12 math and science teachers are offered at up to a dozen locations statewide each summer, as well as online. In-person classes are offered in condensed formats; teachers enjoy reduced tuition (20% off) and are eligible for fellowships to further reduce costs.
Outreach activities for high school and college students include:
  • All Girls/All Math: 30 high school students are provided a stimulating and supportive environment to develop their mathematical ability and interest during a week-long summer camp
  • Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics: 275 undergraduate math majors from across the country meet to discuss undergraduate research in mathematics.
  • IMMERSE: Intensive Mathematics: a Mentoring, Education and Research Summer Experience is a six-week long workshop for 22 students who are about to enter their first year of graduate study in mathematics that also develops the teaching, research and mentoring skills of graduate students and early-career faculty.

Successes and Impacts

Our biggest successes are the results of three major grants from the National Science Foundation (Math in the Middle Partnership, NebraskaMATH Partnership and NebraskaNOYCE). Reports about the work of these grants are available on our website, http://scimath.unl.edu/csmce/index.php.

Elements Contributing to Success

The CSMCE's success has greatly benefited from administrative support at UNL, including permanent infrastructure (budget and facilities) and two Programs of Excellence, Nebraska SCIENCE and Math & Science Teachers for the 21st Century and funding from the National Science Foundation. The creativity of UNL faculty interested in STEM education have led to several major external grants that further contribute to the center's success.

Supplemental Materials

NebraskaMATH Final Report (Acrobat (PDF) 3.3MB Oct5 15)

Primarily Math: Success Stories (Acrobat (PDF) 3.3MB Jul18 13)

Math in the Middle Final Report (Acrobat (PDF) 806kB Jul18 13)

Master of Arts with emphasis in secondary mathematics teaching (Acrobat (PDF) 1.5MB Jul18 13)

NebraskaMATH 2011 Report (Acrobat (PDF) 1.4MB Jul18 13)