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Our Mission

The mission of the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education (CSMCE) is to support UNL faculty engaged in educational activities focused on improving the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at both the PK-12 and collegiate level. With support from UNL’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Sciences, and Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the CSMCE works to build partnerships among leaders in the higher education and PK-12 education sectors that further our basic mission.

The CSMCE assists not only faculty and organizations across campus but also education-focused organizations associated with the university community to host events, conferences, or workshops both in-person and online. Center staff members bring expertise in Zoom conferences and webinars, event planning and on-site coordination, design of promotional posters, written marketing communications, copy editing of proposals, and the creation and design of nametags, programs, and web pages.

News and Events

  • Register now for the in-person Nebraska Physics and Astronomy Fall Summit and biannual meeting of the Nebraska Chapter of the American Association of Physics Teachers. The Summit will be held Saturday, Oct. 16, in Jorgensen Hall on the UNL City Campus from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. We will be joined by two keynote speakers, Dr. Matt Vonk from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and Pivot Interactives, and Yoni Brande of the University of Kansas, representing NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope team.
  • As both a biology instructor and an award-winning researcher of biology instruction, UNL’s Brian Couch understands the magnitude of asking someone to reconsider what they teach and how they teach. That was the ground-shifting charge laid down by the National Science Foundation in its 2011 report “Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology: A Call to Action." Biology had seen massive changes in the decades prior, spurred by technological leaps that were revealing big-picture, big-data connections long obscured by their sheer complexity. New theories of learning, meanwhile, had raised questions about the value of rote memorization, the limits of conventional lecturing and the potential of injecting interaction into classrooms.
  • Congratulations to the nine teachers who earned master’s degrees in August 2021 and two who earned doctorates. Seven teachers earned a Master of Arts for Teachers (MAT) degree from the Department of Mathematics: Allison Brown, Gretna; Andrew Campbell, Millard; Roseanne Gartner, Kearney; Kayla Geiger, Grand Island; Lori Johnson, Dallas, Texas; Cady Maple, Boone Central; and Lauren Taylor, Gretna. Two teachers graduated with a Master of Arts from the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education and a minor in Mathematics: Chantelle Schroeder, Meadow Lane Elementary in LPS, and Kimberly Wright, a Millard Public Schools teacher at Disney Elementary. Marlene Grayer-Chisulo, a Math in the Middle participant, earned her Ph.D. in Educational Studies, and teaches at Davis Middle School in Omaha Public Schools. Christine Olsen, a Primarily Math participant, earned her Ed.D. in Educational Studies, and teaches at Hartman Elementary in OPS.
  • The National Science Foundation has awarded UNL a grant totaling $4.3 million to recruit and develop secondary science teachers as leaders with a strong focus on aspects of equity and inclusive teaching and learning in Nebraska schools. The project, “Meeting the Needs of Diverse Students through a Next Generation of Science Teacher Leadership in Nebraska,” will be implemented by an interdisciplinary group of faculty researchers and funded by a six-year, $2.9 million grant from the NSF’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, with $1.4 million in matching funds from project partners. The team, led by Elizabeth Lewis, associate professor of science education in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, will recruit 26 exemplary secondary science teachers to participate in a rigorous educational specialist degree program and long-term professional development as teacher leaders. The two cohorts of 13 teachers with master’s degrees will be required to maintain their classroom teaching for five years as Noyce Master Teacher Fellows and complete an educational specialist degree program focusing on science education and equity, teacher leadership, and science content for teaching. Each teacher will be provided a salary supplement of $10,000 per year for the five years. Co-principal investigators include Husker faculty members Wendy Smith, associate director of the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education and research professor of mathematics; Dan Claes, professor and chair of physics and astronomy; David Harwood, professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences; and Gina Matkin, professor of agricultural leadership, education and communication. Apply by Oct. 15 to be a Master Teaching Fellow.
  • The second online Math Day, referred to as Math Day 2.0, will be held virtually on Thursday, December 2, 2021, hosted by the Department of Mathematics. Nebraska high schools are invited to join us online for a day of fast-paced mathematics. Registration will open in September. Math Day 2.0 will consist of a team mathematics competition and the individual PROBE I (Problems Requiring Original and Brilliant Effort) Exam.
  • A book co-edited by Wendy Smith of the CSMCE has been published. "Transformational Change Efforts: Student Engagement in Mathematics through an Institutional Network for Active Learning" describes how the grant helps launch institutional transformations in mathematics departments to improve student success. The book reports findings from the Student Engagement in Mathematics through an Institutional Network for Active Learning (SEMINAL) study. SEMINAL's purpose is to help change agents, those looking to (or currently attempting to) enact change within mathematics departments and beyond—trying to reform the instruction of their lower division mathematics courses in order to promote high achievement for all students.

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