CU STEM Education Programs
Alliance for Technology Learning & Society (ATLAS) creates and facilitates innovative interdisciplinary research, education, and creative outreach programs in which information and communication technology is an enabling force.
Baker Residential Academic Program is an academic program in Baker Hall that focuses on Natural History and the Environment. It specializes in offering freshman introductory courses in Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Environmental Studies. Internships are offered for academic credit during which students can learn about various professions in the sciences: Wild Animal Experience, Denver Zoo, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Aquarium, Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation, etc. It holds a research symposium each fall to encourage students to begin doing research with professors in various majors. Such opportunities have led previously open-option students to choose to major in a science field.
BeSocratic, a collaboration between Clemson University and CU Boulder, offers examples of various Socratic, i.e. metacognitive, exercises and activities designed to provoke explicit articulation and reflection on various scientific and mathematical ideas and skills. This NSF funded project is based on easily authored, graphical-based activities with dynamic, research based responses to students and robust data collection systems for researchers.
Biological Sciences Initiative envisions scientific literacy among all citizens, increasing their understanding of the relevance of science to their lives and empowering them to make informed health, environmental, and political choices. To promote diversity and inclusiveness in the sciences and scientific literacy, BSI provides research, classroom and professional development experiences to those interested in the biosciences at all levels, while particularly serving those with limited opportunities and/or from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.
Boulder Area STEM Education Coalition (BASEC) and the Latin American Center for Arts, Science, and Education (CLACE) facilitate communication and collaboration among businesses, communities, families and the media to promote STEM and STEM Education in the Boulder region. CLACE seeks to inspire and encourage diverse youth to learn, love, live, and embrace science as an everyday experience. CLACE develops bilingual programs for local students and families who differ culturally and linguistically from the norm and promotes proactive interactions between diverse communities.
Broadening Opportunities through Leadership and Diversity promotes diversity in race, socioeconomic representation, and gender within the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Center for Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning works to improve excellence in the education of undergraduates by developing a nation wide committee which enacts and advances the teaching practices for diverse learners.
CIRES Education and Outreach educates people about Earth and environmental science issues that are relevant to our everyday lives, through outreach to the public and to the K-12 education community. They also run a GK12 project.
Center for Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) - the CIRTL program has made rapid progress due to its tie to the nationally recognized Graduate Teacher Program (GTP) that manages lead graduate teachers in all STEM departments. The program's main goal is to connect with other research institutions through the national CIRTL Network in the improvement of teaching and learning in the STEM fields and to benefit from shared resources and expertise.
Colorado Diversity Initiative in science, math and engineering is the overseer for two major grants that support diversity initiatives. Both the National Science Foundation Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professorate (AGEP) and the National Institutes of Health Initiative for Minority Student Development (IMSD) grant award assistantships to incoming underrepresented graduate students, offer professional development opportunities, and support undergraduate research efforts.
Colorado Momentum Implements oral assessment in courses in Applied Math that have improved student's passing rate in Calculus I and Calculus II.
Computational Optical Sensory Imaging Integrative Graduate Education and Research partners Graduate students and faculty members in collaborative research environments for the purpose of training the students in computational optical sensing and imaging.
CU Museum of Natural History is very involved with STEM education. Many of its exhibits target students of all ages. In particular, the museum's Fossils in the Classroom program is designed to engage and support elementary school students' learning, as the study of fossils has been recently added to the list of Colorado Academic Standards by the Colorado Department of Education.
CU President's Teaching Scholars Program is designed to honor faculty who have excelled in effective and exemplary teaching, creative work, scholarship, and research. The President’s Teaching Scholars are chosen from three campuses designated not only for skill in their own classrooms, but for their promise of improving education and enlarging its possibilities across the University.
CU Science Discovery offers an myriad of summer, after-school, and overnight informal science camps. Science Discovery brings the expertise of CU into the community.
CU Teach - New teachers frequently assert their most powerful learning moments occur during hours spent in local classrooms. Yet many lament the paucity of quality teaching pre-service teachers encounter in university practicum and student teaching experiences. The low number of truly outstanding veteran math and science teachers is partially explained by the high attrition rate of new teachers. We recognize that in order to provide high quality practicum and student teaching experiences, we need to "grow our own" mentor teachers. Check out CU Teach Pod Casts.
Discipline Based Education Research is a weekly working seminar where faculty engaged in discipline-based education research can present their work, share their ideas, and coordinate with each other. DBER takes place every Wednesday in Porter B121 at 3:00pm. For more up to date topics, please visit our events page.
eCSite- Engaging Computer Science in Traditional Education oversees two GK12 projects in Computer Science and Engineering. Computing, computational thinking, and computer science have become essential to many fields, but this fact has not been communicated clearly to the public. In particular, K-12 students and teachers are largely unaware of the current ubiquity of computing and the revolution it has on the different areas of science. There are two ways this is apparent - the dramatic decline in the number of students directly entering computing related majors, and the only limited integration of computing into existing curricula.
Exploring Informal Science Education through the Arts (aka BLOrk) is an effort to develop methods that enhance the teaching of science, math, and technology through music. With the aid of the Boulder Laptop Orchestra (BLOrk), an electronic music ensemble at CU, it is able to expand the possibilities available to pedagogy in math, science, and technology and develop ways to engage in informal science education with students and audiences through the arts.
Ethnography and Evaluation Research draws upon a network of colleagues through STEM Education and University of Colorado at Boulder to distribute research findings to other programs looking to improve their own STEM programs.
Faculty Teaching Excellence Program (FTEP) develops the art and craft of teaching among faculty and has been "teaching teaching" to professors, because good teaching is rarely innate, but is rather a learned skill. FTEP is founded on the principles that there is no one right way to teach and that faculty learn best from one another. These processes vary by discipline and vary with faculty members' own styles.
Fiske Planetarium and Science Center is a resource for STEM faculty wishing integrate hands-on learning in non-lab courses. A popular field trip destination, Fiske has a strong K12 outreach program and also develops nationally disseminated planetarium curriculum.
Graduate Teaching Program (GTP): Provides professional development opportunities for all graduate student from all colleges based on students' current teaching, research, and service responsibilities and on future career goals.
(GAMES) Girls at the Museum Exploring Science os a unique program designed to encourage interest and excitement about science in 4th through 6th grade girls.
GK12 Project EXTREMES is a series of continuously free, public, open houses held on the Sommers-Bausch Observatory's Observing Deck on Friday Evenings (weather permitting) throughout the year whenever the University of Colorado is in session. Starting time is 8:00pm (fall and spring semesters) and 9:00pm (during the summer).
Herbst Program for the Humanities: equips engineering students with the right tools to gain intelligent and relevant access to the great ongoing conversations of human existence. They offer small core classes (12-14) that are highly interactive and practical.
IDREAMs - Integrative Design-based Reform-oriented Educational Approach for Motivating Students strives to engage students' interest in computer science through video game design. The ultimate goal is to encourage students to pursue careers in the field of information technology.
Inquiry Hub: Customizing Curriculum and Digital Resources for STEM Education - The inquiry hub is an online instructional tool designed by teachers, for teachers, to assist in planning and implementing differentiated instruction for diverse student populations. Through an ongoing participatory design process, classroom teachers provide feedback on the system and propose new development ideas based on their current needs. The iHub provides educators with access to materials aligned to standards and the curriculum, including publisher materials (i.e. electronic textbooks and assessments), vetted digital STEM resources (i.e. animations, videos, images, and data) from the Digital Library for Earth System Education and the National Science Digital Library, and teacher-contributed materials (i.e. PowerPoints, images, homework assignments).
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program & Lab provides and hands on learning environment for introductory engineering courses. In addition to the lab and all of its resources, the ITL program offers a K12 outreach program that utilizes GK12 funding.
Integrative Design-based Reform-oriented Educational Approach for Motivating Students strives to engage students' interest in computer science through video game design. The ultimate goal is to encourage students to pursue careers in the field of information technology.
Introduction to Engineering: Preparing First-Year Students - Based upon research into how the first-year experience influences engineering-discipline major choices and retention a 1-credit course, designed to introduce the engineering profession and to prepare students to make an informed discipline-major choice was piloted in fall 2011. A second, 2- credit pilot is currently underway with an enrollment of about half the incoming freshman class that includes the majors of aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering, and those choosing the open option. In the original pilot, each student attended a 50-min plenary session and a 50-min discipline module each week. These are now expanded such that each student now attends a 75-min plenary session and a 75-min “discipline module" each week.
JILA PFC Education & Outreach: PISEC- Partnerships for Informal Science Education in the Community provides opportunities for university students (undergraduates, graduate students, and post docs) to teach inquiry-based science activities to K-12 populations under represented in science, such as Hispanic, African American, and economically disadvantaged youth.
K-12 Engineering Education Initiative: Programs that Make a Difference - These efforts link university-based education of undergraduate and graduate students to the K12 transformations in local schools by brining engineering to the schools. These efforts include Engineering K12 materials and GK12 program to support graduate students.
LASP Education and Outreach is a solar system science research institution where spacecraft and spacecraft instrumentation are built to support our research mission. The researchers explore planets and planetary bodies, the sun, space weather, and Earth's atmosphere and magnetic field. The Office of Communications and Outreach at LASP creates programming surrounding the research efforts. It serves K-12 teachers, undergraduate students, journalists, and the general public. The program creates and distributes curriculum based upon LASP's research efforts. The office's mission is to improve the quality of space science education at all learning levels.
Learning Assistant Program uses the transformation of large-enrollment science courses as a mechanism for recruiting and preparing talented science majors for careers in teaching, to engage science faculty in the recruitment and preparation of future teachers, to improve the quality of science education for all undergraduates, and to transform departmental cultures to value research-based teaching for ourselves and for our students.
Miramontes Arts and Sciences Program encourages students to develop a collaborative community while giving them a challenging program that enriches their academic experience.
Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities presents a unique opportunity for educating a new generation of engineers who contribute to the relief of the problems faced by developing communities worldwide. The Center emphasizes an integrated and participatory nature of humanitarian development.
National Center for Women & Information Technology is a coalition of more than 170 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase women's participation in information technology (IT).
Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program strives to address the need for excellent high school and middle school educators in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The program offers support to prospective teachers in the form of a generous scholarship, collaborative education research opportunities with university faculty, professional development and networking with past and present Scholars. In exchange for this support, Noyce Scholars agree to work on a Noyce project of their choosing, participate in regular meetings, and upon graduation, work in a high-need school district for two years for each year they receive the scholarship.
PhET Interactive Simulations Project has developed over 120 simulations for teaching and learning science and mathematics, all of which are available free of charge at http://phet.colorado.edu. The simulations are interactive, game-like environments in which students learn through scientist-like exploration and experimentation. They emphasize the connections between real life phenomena and the underlying science and mathematics, make the invisible visible (e.g., electrons, atoms, field vectors), and utilize the visual models that experts use to aid their thinking. PhET simulations are created by a team of scientists, developers and educators, and are informed by student interviews. Here we present recent developments in new simulation topics and research projects, as well as highlight the use of PhET simulations in classroom, lecture, and laboratory environments to effectively enhance student learning and engagement.
Physics Education Research Group is one of the most productive and largest research groups in physics education. The group engages in foundational research studies, the development of research based instructional materials and assessments, and studies faculty development and systemic change.
The Saturday Physics Program offers talks by faculty in the Physics Department and associated units at CU-Boulder once a month during the academic year. The program was created for high school students and adults who are interested in the physical sciences. Each month, on a Saturday afternoon from 2:00-3:00 p.m. in the Duane Physics building on the CU-Boulder campus, lectures are presented free of charge on cutting edge research happening today right here on the CU-Boulder campus. Topics have included "Atom Computers," "Black Holes," "Lasers," and the "Subatomic Universe." The program creates an opportunity for high school students and community members to hear about the most current topics of research from faculty members actively involved in research. After the lecture finishes, there is always time for additional questions and clarification to deepen the understanding by the audience. The series provides an occasion for personal interaction with faculty, furthering an individual's connection to the university, as well as provides the faculty a chance to discuss their research with an interested audience.
Science Education Initiative Funded by Chancellor DiStefano and President Benson, the Science Education Initiative (SEI) at University of Colorado Boulder aims to engage and support faculty in applying a scholarly-approach to teaching, and ultimately, to achieve sustainable institutional change towards effective, evidence-based science education. The program funds departments to take a four-step, scientific approach to undergraduate education: 1) Establish what students should learn; 2) Scientifically measure what students are actually learning and thinking; 3) Use instructional approaches guided by research on learning and evidence of student thinking; and 4) Disseminate and adopt what works. Over the past 6 years, the SEI has funded 7 departments, including the departments of Geology, Integrative Physiology, Chemistry, MCD-Biology, Physics, Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Outcomes include substantial adoption and adaptation of research-based instructional practices by faculty across numerous courses that were previously taught in a traditional style, impacting over 10,000 student-courses per year.
Women in Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering Group was started in the spring semester of the 2010-2011 academic school year. Sponsored by iSTEM and the ECEE department, the Women in ECEE group strives to increase the number of female undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty members in Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering.
This is only a partial listing of the STEM education programs at CU Boulder