SEIRI: STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute

Our mission is to advance the state of the art of STEM education research and practice across IUPUI's campus and beyond.

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
Established: 2016

Profile submitted by Pratibha Varma-Nelson

Vision and Goals

Our vision is to be a nationally and internationally recognized institute of excellence for STEM education research and innovation, contributing to the advancement of STEM education across IUPUI, the nation, and the world.

We strive to accomplish our vision mission through the following strategies and goals:
  • Innovation: Developing and promoting novel pedagogies to facilitate the competence and persistence of STEM learners from all backgrounds
  • Research: Investigating fundamental questions of how people learn STEM
  • Evaluation: Assessing the effectiveness of STEM faculty's existing and proposed educational practices
  • Consultation: Supporting STEM faculty in participating in the scholarship of STEM teaching and learning in order to reform STEM curricula


SEIRI functions as an independent campus unit administered by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. We serve as the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education innovation, research, evaluation, and consultation hub. We bring together discipline-based educational researchers with STEM instructors and practitioners in order to inform and reform undergraduate and graduate education across IUPUI's campus and beyond.

Description of Programming

Our work largely centers around evaluation of STEM education programs, SEIRI researchers have also been developing substantial research projects in the realms of Cyber Peer Lead Team Led Learning, course-based undergraduate research, and STEM ethics education. Many of our projects are funded through external grants although we also have ongoing research projects that will stimulate future research proposals. A list of our current projects is available on our web page.

Successes and Impacts

SEIRI has had many successes. Our biggest successes have revolved around the growth of SEIRI funding and the broad dissemination of our research findings. SEIRI has received funding for more than 15 projects comprised of either research grants or STEM education program evaluations. In addition, SEIRI organizes the SEIRI SEED Grant (SSG) competition to promote curricular innovations and discipline-based educational research across IUPUI's campus. In 2017, we funded seven projects for approximately $30,000 each. A list of our projects and SSG awards is available on our web page.

Evaluation and Assessment

SEIRI works closely with the deans and faculty of partnering schools (Science, Engineering, Informatics, and Education), who we rely on for continual and ongoing feedback to improve our operations. In addition, we have a 10 person advisory board consisting of faculty from these partnering schools. Advisory board members serve in three year rotations to ensure that we are continually gathering novel insights. In addition, SEIRI is actively exploring methods to improve our own practices. For example, we intend to evaluate faculty's experiences in our SEIRI Seed Grant competition to improve subsequent offerings.

Elements Contributing to Success

SEIRI 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 SEIRI personnel. We have a substantial support network of partners and stakeholders invested in our success. Moreover, SEIRI has additional partners on campus and within the community, such as the Center for Teaching and Learning. SEIRI is located in University Library at the center of Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis. This also situates SEIRI at the center of both IU and Purdue University.