Teacher Preparation > Supporting Practicing Teachers > Browse Professional Development Programs > Western Washington University: Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (SMATE)

A part of the SERC Teacher Professional Development Program Collection

Photo of the Science Mathematics and Technology Education building at Western Washington University.
The SMATE Building at Western Washington University.
Photo courtesy of the SMATE program.
Page prepared for SERC by Jennifer L. B. Anderson, Ph.D.

Western Washington University: Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (SMATE)

Program URL: http://www.smate.wwu.edu/smate/
Program Type:
Geoscience-Education Partnership

Program Size:
Regional


Jamie Harrington - Assistant Director (website)
SMATE Program at Western Washington University

Program Summary


"The Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Program at Western Washington University is dedicated to the enrichment and education of K-12 pre-service teachers. The SMATE program is engaged in the reform of undergraduate courses in the respective disciplines as well as in education. Building on their research expertise, the faculty works as a multidisciplinary team while exploring how to provide the best training and support for future teachers. The program is a national model for improving teacher preparation." (From the SMATE website. )

What was the impetus for the program?

Since the 1930's, faculty at Western Washington University have been active in science education; in particular, the concept of incorporating scientists in the science education program. When a need arose in the mid-1990's for a building to house the new science lecture halls and the Learning Resource Center, the Science, Mathematics and Technology Education facility was built. This facility houses the Science Education Program (which is the SMATE program), the Learning Resource Center, and a number of classrooms for science education courses, as well as professional development activities for teachers.

How is the program structured?

There is a director, assistant/technical director and an administrative assistant as well as faculty from across the science and education departments as members of SMATE. The faculty all hold half-time positions at SMATE and half-time in their respective science or education departments. Thus, faculty in the SMATE program come from two different colleges at Western Washington University: the Woodring College of Education and the College of Sciences and Technology. The SMATE program itself is housed in the College of Sciences and Technology. All faculty are dedicated to the improvement of the science education courses at Western Washington University. The SMATE program does all of the pre-service teacher training at Western Washington University as well as houses the Learning Resource Center, and other resources for science educators.

Who is involved?

Two faculty from each of the content departments (Geosciences, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Education) hold half-time appointments in the SMATE program. These faculty have split teaching loads, teaching half-time in their respective departments and half-time through the SMATE program. "SMATE faculty members, active researchers in their respective science disciplines, teach all of the science education courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including the elementary and secondary science methods courses, supervise the science experiences for all preservice teachers, and supervise all secondary science student teachers. SMATE faculty members work closely with the Woodring College of Education and the regional schools."

Preservice teachers at Western Washington University do all of their science training and advising through the SMATE program. Western Washington University is the largest producer of new teachers in the state of Washington, including teachers of mathematics, science and technology. Each year, over 500 students receive their initial teaching certificates from Western Washington University.

(Quotes and summarized text above is from the full NCOSP grant proposal (word download).)

How is the program maintained and funded?

The SMATE Program is funded in the same manner as a typical program on a university campus.

References and Notes: