STEM Education Centers, like the Center at CU Boulder, serve as incubators for transformational changes of higher education practices and culture. By creating and studying a national network of university-based centers of STEM education, we will incubate, support, and leverage key institutional resources – both individual centers and a national network of centers. research on a network of these centers can delineate the potential impacts of the network itself, the nature of such a network, and foundational studies on how such a network is created. These studies will serve to inform the development of the network itself, providing a dynamic, more robust, and more likely-to-be-sustained network.
While individual centers can have dramatic impact on local campuses and regional communities, a national network can both support transformation within individual campuses and link them together as a formidable engine for transforming STEM education. A learning network or community of practice that engages leaders of STEM Ed Centers would lead to two important outcomes:
- collaborative learning among the leaders of centers would nurture professional expertise within this community strengthening the work of each center individually
- collective learning by the group about national reform of STEM education would provide a conduit for information flow between institutions and national efforts
This project will engage in three intertwined components:
- seeding the development of a network through programmatic work,
- studying the capacities and mechanisms of individual centers (how they operate within institutional contexts), and
- researching the development of a network of such centers, identifying how such a network forms, and what this network may accomplish.
Noah Finklestein, Director of the Center for STEM Learning at CU Boulder, is a partner on this project. Kacy Redd, Director of Science and Mathematics Education Policy at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), is a cooperator on this project.