STEM Education Center Resources

Here you can find publications, essays, and webinars that provide guidance, tools, and resources for STEM education centers.

STEM Education Center Toolkit

Cropped Org Chart
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Provenance: John McDaris, Carleton College
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There are as many ways of organizing the activities and people of a center as there are centers. But that doesn't mean that there aren't some common lessons to be learned. Each section of the Toolkit draws on the real experiences of centers to illuminate guidance and best practices in a particular area of activity. Over the course of several workshops, the NSEC community has recognized areas where there is expertise available in the network that should be shared more widely. At the 2016 Workshop in San Antonio, participants synthesized guidance on these 5 topical areas from essays and stem center profiles submitted by network members. The sixth section on Communication Strategies was added after the 2018 working meeting.

Communicating Vision and Mission

Time spent developing vision and mission statements is an investment in success, but being able to communicate that vision and mission is just as important.  read more »

Organizational Structures

There are as many ways of organizing the activities and people of a center as there are centers. But that doesn't mean that there aren't lessons to be learned. read more »

Funding and Resources

There are multiple, interconnected parts to funding and supporting center activities. Each is important and needs to be understood in terms of how all of them play together as a system. read more »

Evaluation and Assessment

It is critical to develop and execute a plan to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of a center's programming and activities. Short and long term evaluation will help you to adjust your programming to best suit the needs of your stakeholders. read more »

Building Partnerships

Regardless of size, scale, or mission and vision, all STEM Centers require strong and diverse partnerships for success. read more »

Communication Strategies

With the right communication strategies, every STEM Center can effectively communicate with its network about its importance, programs, participant support, and policy impact. read more »

Building a Successful STEM Center on Campus

There is no single mechanism for building a strong STEM center, but participants at the 2013 Workshop: Creating a National Network of STEM Education Centers brainstormed ways to improve STEM education on campus. read more»


Crowd-sourced resources from NSEC 2020 - including anti-racism resources and teaching remotely resources

We know STEM Education Centers play a vital role on campuses in helping disseminate information to STEM faculty. To aid that work, we are compiling resources related to two pandemics: COVID-19 and teaching remotely and anti-racism resources. If you have items to share, please email Kacy Redd at kredd@aplu.org.


ADDIE Model of Instructional Design
Graphic of the ADDIE Model of Instructional Design. ADDIE stands for Analyze, Design, Development, Implement, Evaluation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADDIE_Model[reuse info]
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Reuse: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

Webinar on Evaluating Centers

Watch a webinar that features two successful evaluation approaches: one from the Center for STEM Research, Education, and Outreach at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE) presented by Sharon Locke, and the second from the UCLA Center for Education, Innovation and Learning in the Sciences (CEILS) presented by Rachel Kennison and Shanna Shaked. Each center provides an overview of their center's approach to the evaluation process highlighting key features, lessons learned, outcomes, and challenge areas.


STEM Centers
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Webinar on Advancing Teaching Evaluation Practices 

The recording and presentations are now available for the NSEC webinar on institutional models of advancing teaching evaluation practices. We thank Ginger Clark, University of Southern California; Sierra Dawson, University of Oregon; Andrea Follmer Greenhoot, University of Kansas; Gabriela Weaver, University of Massachusetts Amherst; and Deborah Carlisle, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Williams College for sharing their institutional efforts to advance teaching evaluation.   You can access the recording, presentation slides, and additional resources. 



Capacities and Roles of Centers in Undergraduate STEM Education

Our research examines the development of individual centers, including STEM Education Centers, SECs, and Centers for Teaching and Learning, CTLs, their functional and structural features, focusing on current areas of emphasis and impact, as situated within their institutional contexts. We gathered data across organizational levels seeking to understand the roles of Centers from varied perspectives: through STEM faculty and department chairs engaged with the Center, from the director and staff of the Center, as well as the perceived value of the Center by the upper administration. We also sought to identify the ways in which centers work together on their campuses to sustain, scale, and support undergraduate STEM education.

Model of how different DBER disciplines could intersect.

STEM DBER Resources

Many STEM disciplines have groups of researchers studying education issues in their own context, but now there is a growing movement to share expertise across these boundaries through the creation of networks of discipline-based education research (DBER) practitioners. NSEC asked the DBER community to share resources from within their discipline that may be of interest to others and these pages present listings of useful links and information.

Two figures putting puzzle pieces together

Collaborating at the Centers

The Collaborating at the Center report, written by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the POD Network in Higher Education, presents key recommendations on ways STEM Education Centers (SECs) and Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTLs) can work more closely to further national STEM education improvement efforts. The report is based on some of the key findings of 46 leaders from SECs and CTLs who gathered at a November 2015 workshop convened with support from the National Science Foundation.

Collaborative Learning Network

Netweaving Resources

Guidance for Network Leaders

This guide provides network leaders with questions to think through the purpose, organization, operation, and evaluation of their network. The guide builds on Plastrik's Connecting to Change the World (2014), Kezar and Gehrke'sCommunities of Transformation (2016), Network Impact's Network Framework for Re-AMP, and Social Innovation's Network Evaluation guide as well as other resources. This guide was shared at the Network Leaders Workshop on June 22, 2017. The workshop was hosted by the NSEC and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), with support from NSF. For this workshop, APLU and NSEC convened network leaders from some of the most exciting multi-institutional/organizational networks engaged in improving STEM education, primarily at the undergraduate level.  Paper is here»

Transformative Learning Networks

Transformative Learning Networks: Guidelines and Insights for Netweavers provides insight from four learning networks on how their leadership manages the network, creates learning opportunities within the network, and leverages community participation to enact change within the network. The report's primary audience are the designers and members of learning networks in the improving STEM education space. Paper is here»

Inventory of Statewide STEM Education Networks

Inventory of State-wide STEM Networks

This inventory of statewide and regional STEM education networks in the United States is a resource for P-12 schools, higher education, business and industries, and other community stakeholders to advance collaboration, engagement, stakeholder support, and further understanding of best practices to sustain these partnerships.


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