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

The Center for Science & Mathematics Education provides infrastructure to support multiple K-20 science, mathematics, and engineering education projects that are collaborative in nature.

Colleges of Science & Mathematics, Human Development & Education, and Engineering, North Dakota State University
Established: 1998

Profile submitted by Donald Schwert

Vision and Goals

The Center for Science & Mathematics Education (CSME) at NDSU:

  1. Provides an infrastructure for the operation of multiple science and mathematics education projects.
  2. Promotes collaboration with other North Dakota institutions to implement a statewide plan for the improvement of undergraduate teacher preparation and graduate professional development for science and mathematics teachers.
  3. Provides opportunities for faculty and students to become involved in K-16 science and mathematics education projects.
  4. Supports the ongoing efforts of individuals, departments, and groups of faculty involved with K-12 activities such as science fairs, Governor's School, math contests, and other science/math functions.

Center/Program Structure

The current CSME Director is a professor of geoscience, supported by an administrative assistant and six staff supporting CSME projects. Faculty from a variety of STEM and Education disciplines in four NDSU colleges are affiliated with the CSME through their collaboration on funded interdisciplinary grants, outreach projects, and an interdisciplinary STEM Education PhD program.

Description of Programming

The primary focus of the CSME over the past 15 years has been on coordination and administration of externally funded grants, including by the NSF, NIH, and ND state agencies. Major projects have included CoMSTeP (an NSF Collaborative for Excellence in Teacher Preparation), GraSUS (an NSF GK-12 project), INBRE (NIH), FORWARD (NSF-ADVANCE), PERT and NOYCE (NSF), and Instructional Materials Development (virtual worlds) projects with NSF funding.

More recently the CSME has provided oversight of a new interdisciplinary STEM Ed PhD program with a half dozen faculty from math, science and education departments. The program has a focus on discipline based undergraduate STEM education.

The CSME also coordinates a variety of outreach projects such as ND Governor's Schools, ND State Science Olympiad, science fairs, and campus-wide professional development for faculty and graduate assistant teaching.

Successes and Impacts

The CSME has come to reflect a habit on campus of looking for collaborative educational projects that span multiple departments and colleges, bringing together faculty and staff with diverse talents and expertise. It also has promoted strengthened collaborative relationships between university faculty and K-12 teachers, particularly in science and mathematics. A significant dimension of this work has included collaboration with teachers, including those in rural and native American communities.

Elements Contributing to Success

The CSME has built on and strengthened the culture on the NDSU campus of interdisciplinary projects that draw faculty from multiple colleges. Many science, math, engineering and education faculty have collaborated on wide ranging projects with a focus on teaching and learning of STEM disciplines at the collegiate, middle school and high school levels.

Supplemental Materials

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