About the Center

The world is changing; the multiple issues that we face in the 21st Century invariably revolve around some aspects of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). These issues can only be resolved with a STEM-educated workforce and a STEM knowledgeable citizenry, which will require significant improvements in our understanding of how, why and when individuals learn STEM across their lifespan. 

The Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning was established in 2012 with a mission to enhance understanding of how individuals with diverse life circumstances and identities become lifelong STEM learners, practitioners and researchers.  The OSU Center is unique among STEM center counterparts in its focus on research and commitment to understanding learning across all settings (in and out of school) and across the lifespan.

Our vision of STEM learning research is centered on an appreciation that learners of all ages develop the understanding of STEM content and practices over many years in and out of school using a wide variety of community resources and networks.  STEM learning is rarely, if ever, instantaneous. Individuals acquire understanding through an accumulation of experiences from different sources at different times. The OSU STEM Center is committed to expanding the frame for investigating STEM learning in regocnition of the contingent, interdependent, lifelong and diverse experiences that support an individual’s engagement with STEM.

The Center is headquartered at OSU an international leader in the arena of lifelong STEM learning research with faculty engaged in investigations ranging from STEM-related undergraduate and pre-college education to community-based STEM learning and public decision-making. OSU has particular strengths in Free-Choice Learning and Discipline-Based Education Research. The Center works to advance these capacities by initiating new, foundational lines of research, coordinating existing activities across disciplines, curricular levels and research areas and by providing a forum for the cross-pollination of ideas with a wider-base of expertise to address cross-cutting STEM-learning-related challenges.

Through our strategic initiatives, the Center strives to achieve three overarching goals by 2015. 

  1. Significantly broaden the OSU community’s understanding of STEM learning as a complex, life-wide and lifelong process that occurs across multiple settings and contexts.
  2. Raise the profile within the OSU community for the importance of conducting basic and applied research on issues of learning, particularly as related to STEM, on and beyond the OSU campus.
  3. Put in place mechanisms that support and empower interested faculty from across the OSU campus that coalesce around two critical lines of inquiry:
    • Undergraduate student success in the STEM disciplines at OSU.
    • STEM interest trajectories of under-served youth.

Updated 8/20/2013