STEM Ed Centers: A National Conversation > Center Profiles > Center for Science and Mathematics Education, North Dakota State University

NDSU Center for Science and Mathematics Education

The North Dakota State University Center for Science & Mathematics Education (CSME), established in 1998, works with North Dakota institutions to provide support and opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to become involved in K-20 science and mathematics education programs.

NDSU's CSME collaborates with the Colleges of Science & Mathematics, Human Development & Education, and Engineering, North Dakota State University.


The Center for Science & Mathematics Education (CSME) at NDSU supports and promotes active learning based science and mathematics education programs for youth statewide, and individuals who teach those youth. We promote effective science and mathematics education programs follow these guiding principles.

  1. A strong foundation in science and mathematics education is useful for all students.
  2. STEM continually impacts our lives, and our teaching and learning can acknowledge this.
  3. All students can learn.
  4. Active learning means students are at the center of the process.
  5. Years of continuing studies support the validity of the active learning approach.

Program Structure

CSME is operated under the Office of Teaching and Learning at North Dakota State University. The current director is Paul Kelter, Ph.D., who operates CSME with a staff of ten. Faculty from a variety of STEM and Education disciplines in four NDSU colleges are affiliated with the CSME through their work on funded interdisciplinary grants, outreach projects, and an interdisciplinary STEM Education Ph.D. program.

Description of Programming

CSME provides oversight of two interdisciplinary programs.

    The STEM Education Ph.D. interdisciplinary program prepares future college faculty whose research focus is on teaching and learning at the collegiate level and who can successfully teach at the undergraduate/graduate level in their selected science, technology, engineering, or math discipline.

    The College Teaching Graduate Certificate provides a structured program in pedagogy for NDSU graduate students from across campus who plan to teach in a college or university. Students study contemporary education research focused on higher education issues, as well as gain experience in the teaching and learning process through micro-teaching modules, field experience, peer observations, and a structured practicum.

The CSME also coordinates a variety of outreach projects such as the North Dakota Governor's Schools, North Dakota Science Olympiad State Tournament, Avenues of Scientific Discovery and campus-wide professional development for faculty and graduate teaching assistants.

Over the past 15 years CSME has coordinated and administrated externally funded grants, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and North Dakota state agencies. Major projects have included an NSF Collaborative for Excellence in Teacher Preparation (CoMSTeP), an NSF GK-12 project, GraSUS, INBRE (NIH), NSF-ADVANCE FORWARD, PERT and NOYCE (NSF), and Instructional Materials Development (virtual worlds) projects with NSF funding.

Successes and Impacts

The CSME has come to reflect a value on campus of looking for collaborative educational projects that span multiple departments and colleges, bringing together faculty and staff from varied backgrounds along with diverse talents and expertise. It also has promoted and strengthened collaborative relationships between university faculty and K-12 teachers, particularly in science and mathematics. We build bridges so "We Learn Together."

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