2013 STEM Institute


The 2013 UGA STEM Institute on Teaching and Learning was held on Saturday, April 6 at the Classic Center in Athens. This one-day institute covered a range of topics related to STEM education including partnerships, funding and instruction. Dr. James E. Hamos, Program Officer for the National Science Foundation Directorate of Education and Human Resources, presented the keynote address on the federal funding landscape for improving STEM education.

The morning featured sessions where faculty shared innovative strategies for improving student learning in STEM classes. Afternoon sessions allowed faculty to discuss important issues related to STEM education.

To see photos from the event, click here.

We're at a Moment... What Is It?

       James E. Hamos, Program Director, Directorate for Education and Human Resoucres, National Science Foundation (Audio)

Flipping an Upper Division Undergraduate Science Course: Engaging Students to Promote Deeper Learning and Academic Success (Powerpoint)

Dr. Wendy Dustman, Department of Microbiology, The University of Georgia

We implemented a flipped introductory microbiology course based on a traditionally taught course.  In both, we employed identical collaborative group learning activities.  In the traditional course, approximately 15 minutes of class was devoted to performing each activity and solutions were posted for student review.  In the flipped version, activities were the focus of class time, and included discussion of the solutions (~ 40 minutes), while lectures were delivered via podcast outside of class time.  In both formats, students completed reflective blogs about the activities and group work to elucidate changes in attitude and motivation resulting from the new teaching strategy.  Authors: W.A. Dustman, C. M. Phillips, E. Er, L. Ding, and M. Orey


Expanding a Cultural Awareness Unit for Pre-service Mathematics Teachers (Powerpoint

Dr. Dorothy Y. White (Department of Mathematics and Science Education) and Dr. Bettye P. Smith (Department of Career and Information Studies), The University of Georgia

This session describes research on a cultural awareness unit taught in mathematics methods courses.  Participants learned about the unit and how it can unveil pre-service teachers’ multicultural mathematics dispositions. Authors: Dorothy Y. White and Bettye P. Smith

Create, Collaborate, and Innovate: Findings from a National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award (Powerpoint)

Dr. Georgia Wood Hodges, Department of Mathematics and Science Education, The University of Georgia.                                   

During this presentation, we discussed findings from a five-year NIH Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) where faculty from various colleges and teachers from multiple high schools collaborated to develop novel instructional materials for use in the biology classroom.  Authors: J. Steve Oliver and Georgia Hodges. (Audio)

Service-Learning in the STEM Disciplines (Powerpoint)

Dr. Anna Karls, Department of Microbiology, The University of Georgia

This presentation introduced how service-learning enhances academic learning objectives of courses in the STEM disciplines, while addressing personal development of the students and the needs of the community.  Authors: Anna Karls and Paul Matthews (Audio)

Pre-service Science Teachers’ Interdisciplinary Understandings of Design Technology (Powerpoint)

Dr. Deborah Tippins, Dongmei Zhang, Young-Ae Kim, and Celestin Ntemngwa, Department of Mathematics and Science Education, The University of Georgia 

In this presentation, we shared preliminary results of a pilot test of pre-service secondary science students’ application of interdisciplinary knowledge to design technology, specifically designing a model hand.  Also described was the second phase of the study in which pre-service elementary teachers responded to a design technology case, created and tested models of Earth-friendly birdhouses, and developed design technology lesson plans.  Authors: Deborah Tippins, Dongmei Zhang, Young-Ae Kim, and Celestin Ntemngwa

Proportional Reasoning of Pre-service Middle Grades Teachers (Powerpoint)                       

Dr. Sybilla Beckmann (Department of Mathematics) and Dr. Andrew Izsák (Department of Mathematics and Science Education), The University of Georgia

We described pre-service middle grades teachers’ ways of reasoning about ratios and proportional relationships using drawn models as expected in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Authors: Sybilla Beckmann and Andrew Izsák                                          

Finding Resources and Forming Collaborations to Capitalize on STEM Funding Opportunities

   Facilitator: Peggy Brickman, Division of Biological Sciences, The University of Georgia

Participants brainstormed ideas for proposals to improve STEM education and share resources to strengthen evaluation and collaboration.  Discussion included how to improve the Broader Impact Statements in NSF and other grant proposals.  Speakers and “Resource Experts” in this working group included:
      •  Pat Wilson, Department of Mathematics and Science Education
      •  Steve Lewis, Department of Physics and Astronomy
      •  Allan Cohen, Educational Psychology and Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Education and Human Development
      •  Erin  Dolan, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
      •  Karen DeMeester, Director, Program Evaluation Group, College of Education
      •  Shawn Glynn, Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology/Mathematics and Science Education

Innovative Strategies for Improving STEM Instruction (Discussion

   Facilitator: Wendy Dustman, Department of Microbiology, The University of Georgia

Participants engaged in discussion of innovative strategies to improve STEM instruction.  There were opportunities to connect with educators who have flipped their classrooms, made changes to instruction in large classrooms, and tried new assessment strategies.  After hearing from resource experts, they identified instructional strategies of interest to the participants and broke into smaller subgroups to discuss: 1) implementation – successes and stumbles, 2) suggestions to resolve implementation issues, and 3) assessing the impacts of instructional change.  The group reconvened to summarize findings and respond to the charge(s) issued.  Speakers and “Resource Experts” in this working group included:

      •  Rob Branch, Department Head, Career and Information Studies
      •  Craig Wiegert, Department of Physics and Astronomy
      •  Kathrin Stanger-Hall, Department of Plant Biology
      •  Gary Green, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources                           

Resources for Developing Effective STEM Education Partnerships (Discussion)

Facilitator:  David Knauft, Department of Horticulture and Director of Project FOCUS

Participants engaged in discussion of strategies for forming successful partnerships to improve STEM education.  The benefits of partnering with K-12 educators, service-learning professionals, faculty at two-year and technical colleges, and state education officials were explored. Speakers and “Resource Experts” in this working group included:

      •  Brent Beall, Athens Technical College
      •  Lynne Weisenbach, Vice Chancellor, USG BOR Office of Educational Access and Success
      •  Craig Kennedy, Dean, College of Education
      •  Noris Price, Deputy Superintendent, Clarke County School District
      •  Anna Karls, Department of Microbiology
      •  Georgia Hodges, Department of Mathematics and Science Education
      •  Mandy Latimer, Athens Technical College
      •  Angela Birkes-Grier, Director, Peach State LSAMP 

The USG STEM Initiative



This program was supported in part by the UGA President’s Venture Fund through the generous gifts of the University of Georgia Partners and other donors.