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Research and Evaluation Portfolio

As the university's central hub for interdisciplinary education research, the Center is involved in several long- and short-term projects conducted by STEM researchers.

Recent Projects

All Projects

Teaching for PROWESS

2020 - 2025

Teaching for PROWESS aims to increase access and success for community college students in mathematics courses on the STEM pathway. Guided by the IMPACT: Improving Mathematical Prowess and College Teaching document (American Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges, 2018), the project will convene teams from eight community colleges mathematics departments to transform the teaching and learning of mathematics at both the classroom and department levels. This project is guided by a definition of active learning in mathematics (ALM) as described by Laursen and Rasmussen (2019); active learning in mathematics is grounded on four principles: (1) students’ deep engagement in mathematical thinking; (2) instructors’ interest in and use of student thinking; (3) student-to-student interaction; and (4) instructors’ attention to equitable and inclusive practices.

Revealing Progress toward Promotion and Tenure Reform in the Academy

2018 - 2020

This project assumes that the current academic system of reward and professional advancement: a) does not live up to current university values and fails to support improvements in teaching, engagement, innovation, inclusivity, convergence research and team science; and b) can be improved and is already being improved through disruptive actions by champions of change.

Well-Rounded Access Program (WRAP)

2022 - 2025

The Well Rounded Access Program (WRAP) is the Oregon Department of Education’s (ODE) approach to increase access to well-rounded courses through funding from the US Department of Education’s Expanding Access to Well-Rounded Courses Demonstration Grant. This five year, $9.8 million federal grant was awarded to ODE in October, 2020. ODE proposes to focus its approach to developing, expanding, and implementing, a course-access program by expanding access to STEAM-related courses as well as building capacity to develop and maintain an arts program. Course options developed through the proposed grant will be accessible to students through a combination of in-person, online, and distance learning formats to meet the diverse and evolving needs of Oregon’s students and communities. The STEM Research Center will head up formative and summative evaluation of all program elements.

Undergraduate Field Experiences Network (UFERN)

2017 - 2022

Field stations and marine labs often provide specific types of training not provided anywhere else in the undergraduate education system. Because of the potential of these programs for reaching a broad range of undergraduates across the U.S. and the world and the tremendous investment in field stations and marine labs it is critical to consider how to best provide effective educational experiences at these venues and other extended field programs. The Undergraduate Field Experiences in Research Network (U-FERN) worked to understand the impacts of these types of experiences and to build a community of practitioners working together with education researchers to share and develop effective practices that are inclusive of all students. The network connects current knowledge about the persistence of underrepresented students in Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) with practitioners of undergraduate field experiences to harness the power of active learning as a potential for increasing participation and persistence in the field-based sciences.

The Virtual Field: A Mitigation Strategy for the COVID-19 Pandemic

2020 - 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing massive disruptions in higher education. Faculty across disciplines are struggling to quickly transition to virtual classrooms. Nowhere has this been more difficult than in the field sciences, where first-hand experience with the complexity of the natural world is essential for applying classroom learning to authentic settings, developing deep content knowledge and skills, and fostering identity as a field scientist.

The Circuit: A Platform for Increasing Access to, Deepening and Researching Patterns of Family and Adult Participation in Informal Science

2019 - 2023

Funded by the National Science Foundation and led by director Dr. Martin Storksdieck, Center researchers Dr. Heather Fischer and Kimberley Preston are collaborating with several partners to research and develop, a mobile phone and web-based application designed to empower families and the general public to discover the full spectrum of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) informal learning opportunities available in most communities. Currently, there are no “one-stop” search platforms for these resources. This groundbreaking resource would allow users to efficiently search a rich informal STEM database enabling them to identify resources by location, geography, age levels, science discipline, type of program, and more. This will be accomplished through the aggregation and organization of digital content from trusted informal STEM networks of content providers. The development of this app will also provide researchers with new opportunities to analyze how families and adults engage with informal STEM resources in their communities.

Enhancing STEM Education at OSU (ESTEME@OSU)

2014 - 2018

ESTEME@OSU was a project born out of action research and broadly implemented innovative evidence-based instructional practices - specifically, interactive engagement in lecture and formal cooperative learning in studio workshop laboratories - into core undergraduate courses in biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics at OSU.

SYNERGIES: Customizing Interventions to Sustain Youth STEM Interest and Participation Pathways

2015 - 2021

The SYNERGIES: Customizing Interventions to Sustain Youth STEM Interest and Participation Pathways was an NSF Research in Service to Practice project (DRL 1516718) which leveraged research findings from a previous longitudinal study to support a systematic design phase involving a variety of educational partners (both informal and formal) to develop a set of customized, connected and coordinated learning opportunities to address the well-documented decline of youth attitudes, interest, and motivation to participate in STEM during early adolescence and beyond.

Students to Launch

2022 - 2025

Students to Launch is a 3-year program that will allow approximately 2,300 youth and their adult mentors from informal science education programs to attend NASA space launches. These intense experiences will serve as the anchor for hands-on, informal science education programs for both youth participating in the launch and associated pre-launch activities and for youth who engage in pre-launch programming but do not travel to the launch. Further, social-media based outreach developed and promoted by youths who attend the launches and become “Space Ambassadors” has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of science-interested youths nationally and internationally.

Belonging in Field Education

Envisioning STEM field courses as spaces where students feel welcomed and can celebrate their various identities in an equitable environment.

Learn more about the Belonging in Field Education project 

Course Assessment for Skill Transfer Framework (CAST)

The CAST framework is a conceptual tool for course designers, instructors or external evaluators to create and implement a custom 21st-century skills assessment for existing or in-development courses.

Learn more about the CAST Framework