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 focuses on natural history and the environment. They specialize in offering freshman introductory courses in biology, chemistry, math, and environmental studies. They offer internships for academic credit, during which students can learn about various professions in the sciences. They hold 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 (BSI) 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) facilitates communication and collaboration among businesses, communities, families and the media to promote STEM and STEM Education in the Boulder region.

Broadening Opportunities through Leadership and Diversity (BOLD Center) promotes diversity in race, socioeconomic representation, and gender within the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The BOLD Center fosters success through academic resources, student leadership opportunities, and a supportive community in order to break down barriers that prevent or hinder achievement.

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. The CU-Boulder CIRTL program is working to connect with other research institutions through the national CIRTL Network, to expand current graduate student professional development activities in CU-Boulder STEM disciplines, to encourage STEM faculty to develop their own courses through teaching as research, diversity, and learning communities, to encourage graduate students in the STEM disciplines to view college teaching through the lens of teaching as research, and to develop an institute that supports and develops research on graduate education on the CU-Boulder campus.

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.

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 (COSI IGER) 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 Teach is a four-year program that leads to a degree in a mathematics or sciences major and a Colorado teaching license. It is a unique collaborative program between the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Education, and one of the first thirteen teacher education programs in the U.S. awarded a grant by the National Math and Science Initiative to model their program after UTeach, a highly successful math and science teacher preparation program at the University of Texas at Austin. Check out CU Teach Pod Casts.

Discipline Based Education Research (DBER) is a weekly seminar series that emphasizes discipline-based STEM education research. It is a forum for faculty, staff, researchers, and students interested in education research and course transformation to share their ideas and get feedback on their work. These seminars bring together faculty and graduate students from roughly 45 different departments and programs across four schools/colleges. The average attendance is more than 20 people. In addition to being intellectually rich, these meetings also serve to create community among many STEM education researchers on campus. For a current DBER calendar, please visit our events page.

Engaging Computer Science in Traditional Education (eCSite) 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.

Ethnography and Evaluation Research draws upon a network of colleagues through STEM Education to distribute research findings to other programs looking to improve their own STEM programs.

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.

Faculty Teaching Excellence Program (FTEP) was founded on the principle that faculty best learn from one another. The FTEP provides a wide range of opportunities for CU's faculty to share insights into teaching and research. The FTEP embraces al pedagogies and technologies, from the most traditional to the most innovative.

FiskeFiske 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.

Girls at the Museum Exploring Science (GAMES) is a unique program from the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History designed to encourage interest and excitement about science in 4th and 5th grade girls. This study aims to investigate the role of informal education programs in increasing science participation among women, as well as ways in which schools and universities can collaborate to close the achievement gap by effectively serving populations who are traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.

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.

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 students) that are highly interactive and practical.

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).

Integrative Design-based Reform-oriented Educational Approach for Motivating Students (IDREAMS) 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. (news release)

ITL LogoIntegrated Teaching and Learning Program & Lab provides a 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.

K-12 Engineering Education Initiative at the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences links 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 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.

Latin American Center for Arts, Science, and Education (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.

The 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 is an academic community supporting motivated students who want to be part of a diverse community (including high-achieving traditionally underrepresented undergraduate students) in their successful matriculation in, retention and graduation from the College of Arts & Sciences.

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.

NCWITNational Center for Women & Information Technology is non-profit community of more than 300 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase women's participation in technology and computing. NCWIT helps organizations recruit, retain, and advance women from K-12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers by providing community, evidence, and action.

Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program strives to address the need for excellent high school and middle school educators in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 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.

Partnerships for Informal Science Education in the Community (PISEC) 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.

PhET Interactive Simulations provide fun, interactive research-based simulations of physical phenomena. To help students visually comprehend concepts, PhET simulations animate what is invisible to the eye through the use of graphics and intuitive controls such as click-and-drag manipulations, sliders and radio buttons. In order to further encourage quantitative exploration, the simulations also offer measurement instruments including rulers, stop watches, voltmeters, and thermometers. All of the simulations are extensively tested and evaluated. All of the simulations are freely available from the PhET website and are easy to use and incorporate into the classroom.

Physics Education Research Group (PER@C) 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 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.

Project EXTREMES is a GK12 project offering free public open houses at the Sommers-Bausch Observatory's Observing Deck on Friday evenings (weather permitting) throughout the year whenever CU-Boulder classes are in session.

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. Lectures are presented free of charge and offer 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.

CU Science Discovery offers an myriad of summer, after-school, and overnight informal science camps. Science Discovery brings the expertise of CU-Boulder into the community.

Science Education Initiative 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.

The Teaching Institute for Graduate Education Research (TIGER) works to enhance creative synergy that exists between graduate student teaching and research. TIGER's goal is to show graduate students who aspire to be future faculty members how to utilize their disciplinary knowledge and research experience to developer innovative teaching practices for undergraduate education.

Women in Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering Group was started in the spring semester of the 2010-2011 academic school year. Sponsored by the Center for STEM Learning 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