STEM Ed Centers: A National Conversation > Center Profiles > Center for Science Education, Kansas State University
Author Profile

Center for Science Education

The Center for Science Education seeks to improve the quality of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning throughout Kansas.

College of Education, Kansas State University
Established: 1987

http://coe.k-state.edu/departments/science/index.html

Profile submitted by Jacqueline D. Spears

Vision and Goals

The Center for Science Education seeks to improve the quality of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning throughout Kansas.

Center/Program Structure

The Center for Science Education (CSE) is housed by the College of Education. Its budget supports the Director, who is a tenured professor in the College of Education, a half-time administrative assistant, and a graduate research assistant. The Director currently teaches an online course designed to prepare in-service teachers for the Physics Praxis and directs doctoral student dissertations as well as serves as the administrator for the CSE. The FTE equivalent of this staff is approximately 2.0. The Center provides administrative support for state-funded and federally-funded grants in math education and science education. The state-funded projects are typically initiated by science education and math education faculty in the College of Education, but include relevant collaborators from the College of Arts & Sciences. Federally-funded STEM education projects have been initiated by the College of Education's Professional Development Schools (U.S. Department of Education), by the Director of the CSE (National Science Foundation), and by STEM faculty members in collaboration with the CSE (National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, Kansas Health Foundation, and U.S. Department of Agriculture). In general, collaboration with faculty members in STEM disciplines and K-12 schools/informal science education providers is expected.

Description of Programming

For the past six years, much of the work has focused on integrating contemporary STEM research and development into K-12 classrooms. The audience with which the Center works includes STEM faculty in the Colleges of Engineering, Arts & Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and Agriculture as well as K-12 teachers throughout the state. Two projects place STEM graduate students in K-12 classrooms as 'resident scientists' or 'resident engineers.' Over the past five years, Evidence-Based Inquiry into the Distant, Remote, or Past: Linking Evidence to Inference in the Kansas Science Classroom (EIDRoP), has placed approximately 40 graduate students from biology, physics, chemistry, geography, geology, and entomology in grades 9-12 science classrooms at Junction City Middle and High School. Classroom activities focus on integrating lessons on each graduate student's research as well as examining how scientists move from evidence to inference. Infusing System Design and Sensor Technology in Schools (INSIGHT) has placed approximately 20 graduate students from Computer and Information Sciences and Biological and Agricultural Engineering with 40 K-12 teachers in schools throughout the state of Kansas. Graduate students work as 'resident engineers,' engaging K-12 teachers and students in programming sensors for classroom use. Other projects have focused on sustainability and climate change in an effort to explore how STEM classrooms could support youth engagement in contemporary social issues.

More recent work is exploring how to integrate STEM education across the three campuses (Salina, Manhattan, and Olathe) with employment and industry needs. K-State Salina offers certificates specific to the airline industry (Air Traffic Control, Airport Management, Unmanned Aerial Systems Operator) and associate degrees in applied business, applied technology and aviation maintenance. Bachelors of Science degrees are available in fields such as technology management, aeronautical technology, and engineering technology. K-State-Olathe is a graduate-only campus focused on industry needs in the Greater Kansas City area. Initial programs offered include Adult Education, Horticulture-Urban Food Systems, Food Science, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and Veterinary Biomedical Sciences. Programs are being added in Industrial Engineering, Professional MBA, and Masters of Agribusiness. K-State Olathe currently hosts summer workshops on food safety, one-health concepts, and careers in public health. Separate workshops serve K-12 teachers and predominantly high school students.

Successes and Impacts

For the past six years, much of the work has focused on integrating contemporary STEM research and development into K-12 classrooms. The audience with which the Center works includes STEM faculty in the Colleges of Engineering, Arts & Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and Agriculture as well as K-12 teachers throughout the state. Two projects place STEM graduate students in K-12 classrooms as 'resident scientists' or 'resident engineers.' Over the past five years, Evidence-Based Inquiry into the Distant, Remote, or Past: Linking Evidence to Inference in the Kansas Science Classroom (EIDRoP), has placed approximately 40 graduate students from biology, physics, chemistry, geography, geology, and entomology in grades 9-12 science classrooms at Junction City Middle and High School. Classroom activities focus on integrating lessons on each graduate student's research as well as examining how scientists move from evidence to inference. Infusing System Design and Sensor Technology in Schools (INSIGHT) has placed approximately 20 graduate students from Computer and Information Sciences and Biological and Agricultural Engineering with 40 K-12 teachers in schools throughout the state of Kansas. Graduate students work as 'resident engineers,' engaging K-12 teachers and students in programming sensors for classroom use. Other projects have focused on sustainability and climate change in an effort to explore how STEM classrooms could support youth engagement in contemporary social issues.

More recent work is exploring how to integrate STEM education across the three campuses (Salina, Manhattan, and Olathe) with employment and industry needs. K-State Salina offers certificates specific to the airline industry (Air Traffic Control, Airport Management, Unmanned Aerial Systems Operator) and associate degrees in applied business, applied technology and aviation maintenance. Bachelors of Science degrees are available in fields such as technology management, aeronautical technology, and engineering technology. K-State-Olathe is a graduate-only campus focused on industry needs in the Greater Kansas City area. Initial programs offered include Adult Education, Horticulture-Urban Food Systems, Food Science, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and Veterinary Biomedical Sciences. Programs are being added in Industrial Engineering, Professional MBA, and Masters of Agribusiness. K-State Olathe currently hosts summer workshops on food safety, one-health concepts, and careers in public health. Separate workshops serve K-12 teachers and predominantly high school students.

Elements Contributing to Success

Several elements have contributed to the Center's success. NSF's inclusion of broader impacts as part of the review criteria for research proposals has created opportunities for collaboration between the CSE and STEM departments. K-State has a campus culture that values collaboration, which has also been an important element in CSE's success. Mechanisms for sharing overhead across departments and colleges are well established, enabling faculty members to focus on building strong proposals. College and central administrative structures for supporting proposal development, processing, and administration are also very strong.

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