STEM Education Research Institute (SERI)

SERI will promote and coordinate STEM education research at IUPUI .

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, IUPUI
Established: 2012

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.

Center/Program Structure

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 one SERI fellow, two research associates, three graduate researchers, two undergraduate researchers, and two part-time research assistants. SERI will also be adding a new postdoctoral fellow in January 2016. SERI is still in the process of identifying its first full-time director.

Description of Programming

In its three years of operations, SERI has moved to establish partnerships within and beyond the confines of IUPUI. The audience is wide ranging, including university faculty, K12 teachers and administrators, and civic organizations with a focus on education. While much of our work continues to focus on project evaluation services for STEM education programs, SERI researchers have been developing substantial research projects in the realms of STEM teacher professional learning, informal STEM education, problem-based education student outcomes, STEM study abroad programs, workforce development programs, and STEM ethics education. Many of these evaluations and projects are funded through internal and external grants; however, some of our current research projects are pilot programs that aim to stimulate future research proposals. In collaboration with other campus institutions, SERI was recently awarded an NSF-RET award to deliver and research a teacher professional development program offering nanotechnology research experiences to secondary STEM teachers. We are also working to develop a comprehensive database of STEM education initiatives based on our campus. Overall, these efforts involve direct collaborations with over 100 project directors, faculty members, K12 teachers, and leaders of community-based groups.

Successes and Impacts

SERI has had many successes within its first three years of existence. Our biggest successes have revolved around the growth of SERI funding and the broad dissemination of our research findings. Currently, SERI has funding for 10 projects comprised of either research grants or STEM program evaluations. This includes our recently awarded NSF-RET project. Since opening in 2012, SERI researchers have published 27 articles in peer-reviewed journals, seven book chapters, and more than 50 paper/poster presentations. These academic products cover a variety of STEM education topics and impact a considerably broad audience of academics and practitioners.

Elements Contributing to Success

SERI has the full support of campus administration, as exemplified by our recently renovated space in the heart of campus and continued internal funding to support the hiring of research staff. Since SERI was founded through the collaboration of the schools of Education, Engineering and Technology, and Science at IUPUI, we have a substantial support network of partners and stakeholders invested in our success. Moreover, SERI has additional partners on campus and within the community, including the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Center for Research and Learning, the Center for Service and Learning, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, the Indiana Afterschool Network, the I-STEM resource network, and public school systems across central Indiana.

Supplemental Materials

SERI Annual Report 2015 (Acrobat (PDF) 34.5MB Oct5 15)