Science and Mathematics Teaching Center

The University of Wyoming Science and Mathematics Teaching Center (SMTC) is an intercollegiate, interdisciplinary program committed to excellence in K-20 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning.

University of Wyoming
Established: 1970

Profile submitted by Jacqueline Leonard, PhD

Vision and Goals

Mission statement: The mission of the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center is to prepare teacher-leaders to empower students to use scientific processes and critical mathematics by infusing interdisciplinary, culturally relevant, place-based instruction into STEM education.

Center/Program Structure

THE SMTC is an independent unit, jointly sponsored by the College of Education and the College of Arts & Sciences. Collaboration occurs among faculty in these colleges as well as the College of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Energy Resources, and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The SMTC is served by four faculty and three staff. Faculty include the SMTC Director (tenured professor of mathematics education), SMTC Coordinator (Academic Professional Lecturer), Wyoming State Science Fair Coordinator/Research Project Director, and Science Outreach Educator (tenure-track faculty). Staff include two full-time office associates and one part-time education liaison.

Description of Programming

The SMTC pursues its mission of improving STEM teaching and learning through:

  • Master's Degree Programs: Master of Science in Natural Science (MS NS) programs for Middle School Science (MSC), Middle School Mathematics (MMA), Natural Science Education (NED), and Master of Science in Teaching (MST) for secondary STEM teachers
  • Endorsement Programs: related to the Master's degree programs are Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB) sanctioned teaching endorsement programs in middle level science and mathematics and a collaboration with the College of Education, Wyoming Teacher Education Program for a secondary biology certificate
  • Grant Funded Collaborative Projects: K-12 schools, community colleges, universities, and informal science education collaborative programs that provide content-based professional development for STEM teachers
  • Research: related to STEM education (see SMTC website for projects and faculty accomplishments under What's Up with SMTC?)

Successes and Impacts

The SMTC's greatest success during the past year was increasing funding for sponsored research from state and federal agencies. SMTC faculty and affiliated faculty are actively involved in about a dozen research and training grants. This past year SMTC faculty and affiliated faculty submitted four MSP proposals to the Wyoming Department of Education, five proposals to the National Science Foundation, one proposal to the Department of Education, and two proposals to foundations. At the present time, four of these proposals have been funded and four are still pending. Three grants were acquired via institutional transfer or subcontract during the period. Among these pending awards are three Noyce Scholarship proposals and an Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) grant for $1.2 million that is under negotiation.

Elements Contributing to Success

The vision of the new Director and past-Director have led to its recent success in garnering federal grant support for STEM education and outreach. Administrative support from the Office of Research and Economic Development as well the President's office have helped to put the SMTC on solid footing.