Collaborative Research on Evaluating, Advancing, and Transforming Education in STEM

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As part of the recent National Science Foundation award (#1644470), a special issue of Journal of Research in STEM Education (J-STEM) was devoted to results presented at the Breaking the Boundaries in STEM Education Conference. The conference brought together approximately 100 faculty members from the Southern California region interested in transforming classroom practice with Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER) and through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), with a particular focus on equity, problem-solving, and computing – all pressing issues in STEM education.

CREATE-STEM is an interdisciplinary LMU group of faculty aimed at advancing and promoting STEM education activities on the LMU campus and in the greater community of Southern California. The group is interested in a wide variety of STEM education activities that pertain to undergraduate STEM education, K-12 student learning, and teacher preparation.

Goals of the group include:
  1. provide support to faculty undertaking research in STEM education,
  2. provide a forum for interested parties to discuss STEM education issues,
  3. provide coordination and organization to STEM education initiatives,
  4. improve communication among interested parties working in STEM education,
  5. promote interdisciplinary work in STEM education,
  6. connect interested parties with funding resources, and
  7. provide connections between faculty and the greater community on all STEM education related issues.

Together, the group has secured more than $10.5M of funding (NSF, Boeing, Dept. of Ed IES, Leonetti/O'Connell Family Foundation, 100Kin10 and many more) and has over 20 partnerships with either local school districts or industry. Overall, members' results have culminated in more than 50 publications, 350 workshops for K-12 teachers, 80 presentations having impact on approximately 450 teachers, 50,000 K-12 students, 1,300 undergraduate students, and 20 faculty members.

The group also maintains a monthly seminar series that is well attended by LMU faculty, district administrators, high school teachers, doctoral students from the school of education, and faculty members from other area universities. In addition to the monthly seminar, CREATE-STEM faculty members meet twice a semester for business meetings during which ongoing projects, collaborations, vision goals, and upcoming funding opportunities are discussed.

The strength of CREATE-STEM is the diversity of the faculty- Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Health and Human Science, Physics, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Economics, Psychology and Specialized Programs in Urban Education. While they bring different perspectives, all share a common goal of advancing STEM education on the LMU campus as well as in the greater Los Angeles area.