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Watson College News

STEM Leaders Attend Two-day Roundtable Seminar at UNCW

Saturday, May 09, 2015

UNCW faculty began work on the development of an integrated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teacher education program in January, with a goal of opening enrollment to the program in fall 2017. The project, called the Integrated Certificate In STEM Education (INCISE), is a joint initiative of the Watson College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences with support from engineers at NC State University.

"The goal of the program is to prepare participants to teach integration of important concepts across STEM disciplines in order to prepare future students to enter the workforce with the skills needed to solve complex, global problems," said Mahnaz Moallem, professor in the Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations and Secondary Education at the Watson College and principal investigator for the INCISE project.

Stem2A large team comprised of faculty from across the university, STEM professionals and educators in the field has been assembled to ensure that the teacher education program will address needs in schools and in the workplace, Moallem said. About 40 leaders attended a two-day roundtable seminar at UNCW May 14-15 to discuss work in progress.

"It's important to bring people together for a collaborative effort early on," Moallem said. "Input from leaders in the schools, the business and broader community and organizations like the NC Department of Public Instruction will help guide our program development efforts, ensure that we have the support of local leaders and stakeholders, help us recruit students for enrollment when the program is introduced and ensure successful employment when they graduate."

STEM leaders in area school districts said they enthusiastically support the project and hope programs like this will eventually steer schools away from a culture of compliance to a culture of student engagement and innovation.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), through the Noyce Foundation, is funding the INCISE project. Under terms of the grant, the development team will establish a conceptual framework by summer 2015 and design an undergraduate STEM teacher education program by spring 2017. The innovative career pathway for educators at the secondary level will be offered to incoming freshmen at UNCW in fall 2017. An integrated STEM certificate program for secondary math, science, engineering and technology teachers and mid-career STEM professionals will also be developed. In the future, UNCW hopes to expand the program to include educators in grades K-12.

Stem4In addition to Moallem, Carol McNulty, Chris Gordon, Gabriel Lugo, Sridhar Narayan, Gene Tagliarini and Amy Reamer are also principal investigators on the INCISE grant. McNulty is associate dean for Academic and Student Affairs at the Watson College, Gordon is assistant director of UNCW's Center for Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CESTEM), Lugo is an associate professor of mathematics and statistics at UNCW, Narayan and Tagliarini are professors in UNCW's Department of Computer Science, and Amy Reamer is engineering adjunct faculty at NC State.

Six scientists and educators on the faculty at UNCW are on the curriculum design and development team. They are Sridhar Varadarajan, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Russ Herman, professor of physics and mathematics, Stuart Borrett, associate professor of biology and marine biology, Dennis Kubasko, associate professor of secondary science education, Angelia Reid-Griffin, associate professor of middle grade science education and Shelby Morge, associate professor of middle grade mathematics.

UNCW academic leaders including Ron Vetter, Martin Posey, Cecil Willis and Sue Kezios have also made a strong commitment to the project.

The roundtable seminar was featured in a story on the UNCW homepage on May 13. View the story here: https://uncw.edu/articles/2015/05/roundtable-seminar-to-explore-innovative-stem-education-programs.aspx