The STEM Research Center

The Center was established in 2012 under OSU’s Research Office and is reporting to the office of the Vice President for Research. The Center enhances the university’s capacity in STEM learning research across campus colleges and disciplines, and strengthens the impact of this research on the practices of teaching and learning at OSU, the state of Oregon and throughout the nation. Within the context of OSU, “STEM” includes the natural, physical and social sciences; technology; engineering; and mathematics as single disciplines or in any combination, and extends to the integrative STEM disciplines of forestry, agriculture, fisheries, (veterinary) medicine, and health sciences. The Center is unique among STEM center counterparts around the country in its focus on understanding learning and engagement across all settings (in and out of school) and across the lifespan for all audiences. These audiences range from young to old learners, laypeople to STEM professionals, and occur within both formal educational and free-choice or “informal” learning contexts.

Within OSU, the Center serves as a neutral broker for a diverse and decentralized community of those who engage in STEM learning research by functioning as a central hub and institutional support structure. Externally, the Center serves as a representative for OSU’s STEM learning research at the state, national and international levels. Major initiatives at the center include 1) institutionalizing of tools and capacities to expand the societal benefit or “broader impacts” of the OSU research enterprise, 2) redefining and modeling undergraduate success, and 3) leading research in both free-choice and formal learning arenas. 


We envision a world in which evidence from research and wisdom from practice guide all learning experiences. 


The STEM Research Center conducts applied research with a broad range of partners and nurtures community engagement toward improved systems of STEM Learning for all.


The research focus of the center includes a diverse suite of research and evaluation efforts focused on how people with diverse backgrounds and life circumstances build knowledge and understanding about STEM, develop identities as STEM learners and dispositions to engage with STEM-related issues, and ultimately build capacity to apply that knowledge and understanding to their daily and professional lives. Our STEM learning research also includes the study of methods, institutions, media, and people who play a role in mediating learning (e.g. schools, museums, magazines, teachers, etc.) and therefore includes research and evaluation of STEM education and science communication.  Learn more about our research.

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Updated 9/11/2018