STEM Education Research Institute (SERI)
SERI will promote and coordinate STEM education research at IUPUI .
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, IUPUI
Profile submitted by Co-directors: Andy Gavrin, Charlie Feldhaus, Jomo Mutegi
Vision and Goals
The vision of SERI is to be a nationally and internationally recognized center of excellence for STEM education research, contributing to the advancement of STEM education in Indiana and the nation.
SERI, the STEM Education Research Institute, is an independent center, operated under the auspices of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at IUPUI. SERI was founded in November 2012, and presently is run by three co-directors. As a sign of its collaborative foundation and goals, the three co-directors were chosen to represent three academic units at IUPUI: the School of Education, the School of Engineering and Technology, and the School of Science. Collaboration among these schools is a cornerstone of SERI, and collaboration with external entities is also expected. In addition to the three co-directors, SERI currently supports two research associates (one part-time) and one postdoctoral fellow. Overall, 2.75 FTE positions are currently filled. As SERI develops, we hope to add a second postdoctoral fellow soon, and to search for a full-time Director.
Description of Programming
In its 10 months of operations, SERI has moved to establish partnerships within and beyond the confines of IUPUI. The audience is wide ranging, including IUPUI faculty, K12 teachers and administrators, and civic organizations with a focus on education. The majority of our projects focus on SERI researchers providing project evaluation services to STEM education programs. Internal and external grants support these initiatives, as well as a major effort to provide professional development and research experiences to local HS teachers in mathematics and the sciences. We are also working to develop a comprehensive database of STEM education initiatives based on our campus. Overall, these efforts involve direct collaborations with approximately 80 project directors, faculty members, K12 teachers, and leaders of community-based groups.
Successes and Impacts
SERI has had a great many initial successes; this is especially so considering the short amount of time we have been in operation. In the past year we have had 3 grants funded totaling well over $500,000. This includes an external grant of $450k, and two internal grants. We have submitted 4 additional grants totaling over $3.4M which were not funded. We have also published 15 manuscripts in journals and proceedings, 4 book chapters, and 1 book, and made numerous conference presentations.
Elements Contributing to Success
Given the relatively short time that SERI has been in existence (< 10 months as of this writing), it is difficult to answer this question directly. Rather, we prefer to note the elements that we believe provide a good foundation for success, and to identify, as honestly as we can, those areas where we believe we need to develop greater strength.
- SERI has the full support of campus administration, as exemplified by newly renovated space in the heart of campus, and seed funding to support the hiring of research staff.
- SERI is founded on collaboration among the schools of Education, Engineering and Technology, and Science.
- SERI has strong partners on campus and within the community, including the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Center for Research and Learning, the Indiana Afterschool Network, the I-STEM resource network, and public school systems across central Indiana.
- Collaborative leadership can only take us so far. Our goal is to conduct a search for an Executive Director who can build on the foundations we have established. We expect this search to be international in scope, and to occur during the 2014-15 academic year
- SERI is not as widely known as it needs to be, either faculty across the campus, or by many potential partners in the community. We need to "build our brand."
- We need to expand our portfolio of projects, both in terms of scholarship and in terms of external support.