Joan and James Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education
The Leitzel Center transforms Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education and Literacy in formal and non-formal settingsusing both established and current research, carefully examined practice, and interdisciplinary collaboration.
Leitzel Center, University of New Hampshire-Main Campus
Profile submitted by Ruth Varner
Vision and Goals
The Leitzel Center is a regional leader in delivering exceptional professional development content, programming and curricula to STEM educators inmultiple settings and formats
The mission, purpose and services of the Center are well understood by both internal and external stakeholders
The Leitzel Center team acts strategically to better serve stakeholders and meet objective
The Leitzel Center team issustainably managed
The Leitzel Center is an independent entity within the UNH Office of Engagement and Academic Outreach. Both internal and external collaboration is expected. There is a director (1.0 month - not enough), three full-time professional staff, one shared full-time professional staff (shared with cooperative extension), one half-time professional staff, and one full-time administrative assistant.
Are there advantages of being structured this way?
Are there particular challenges that result from this structure?
Significant challenges from the overhang of continuous need for grant funds, when the institution also has high demand for Center's services.
The center is primarily funded by two sources - 1) External grant funds and 2) return from a small endowment. The center is not part of any college or departmental budget.
How has this funding structure influenced the undergraduate STEM education programming the center offers?
No strategic approach to undergraduate STEM education has been possible. We are chasing opportunities and funds.
What are the specific advantages of having a center funded in this way?
None that I can think of.
What are the challenges?
Many - continuous funding. Gaps in funding eat up reserves. Makes retaining staff a challenge. The endowment has not been added to since the Center's inception in 2003!
Has this funding structure has changed over time?
No, it has always been this way.
Description of Programming
Teacher Professional Development - Research Experiences for Teachers programs, a past Geo-TEACH grant, past GRK12, NSF EPSCoR Teacher programs, we have a new DRK12, various CAREER awards to UNH faculty
Undergraduate Education - Pipeline development with community colleges, primarily in engineering disciplines
K12 - GLOBE US Country Coordinator is in Leitzel Center, NSF EPSCoR programs
Successes and Impacts
Need to work on developing this message.
Evaluation and Assessment
How does your center demonstrate its value, both in terms of assessing its own programming and responding to external evaluation?
We have evaluators on our externally funded projects. We also have an evaluator from the UNH Education Dept., who serves as a faculty fellow to the Leitzel Center. The evaluator is working with us on assessing or impact.
Elements Contributing to Success
Partnerships with STEM faculty
Partnerships with NH high needs and urban school districts (largest districts in the state)
Great core group of Leitzel Center staff that enjoy working together
A committed Director