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First National Meeting of Science, Math Ed Centers

May 16, 2012 – More than 60 U.S. colleges and universities have created centers to promote science and math education, but there has been no organization to unite them. So on May 20-22, the University of Utah will take a leadership role by hosting the First National Conference for Centers of Science and Mathematics Education.

“Nationwide, we are experiencing an increased need for students who have completed higher education degrees in science and math,” says Nalini Nadkarni, director of the University of Utah’s Center for Science and Math Education. “Our center is working to enhance education efforts to meet that goal.”

The center at the University of Utah has taken the lead in addressing this issue. “By bringing multiple centers together for a national conference, we will enable the different centers to learn from one another, establish partnerships and lay the groundwork for future collaboration. Together, we can build powerful programs for enhancing math and science education across the nation.”

News media are invited to cover the conference. Three sessions are open to the public, particularly Utah educators:

  • 7-9 p.m. Sunday, May 20, University Guest House – Brief presentations from Centers for Science and Math Education from around the nation.
  • 1:15-2:45 p.m. Monday, May 21, University Guest House – Panel discussion, “Exploration of Existing Science, Technology, Engineering, Math Education Efforts and Challenges.”
  • 7:30-9 p.m. Monday, May 21, room 2110 Health Science Education Building – Panel discussion, “Orchestrating Collaborative and Transformative Science Education.”

Panelists Monday night will include Michael Hardman, the University of Utah’s interim senior vice president for academic affairs; Brenda Hales, Utah’s associate superintendent for instructional services; Pierre Sokolsky, dean of the university’s College of Science; Sarah Young, a teacher and National Science Foundation Einstein fellow; and Tami Goetz, Utah’s state science advisor.

So far, 13 science and math education centers plan to send representatives to the conference.

Nadkarni says the Herculean task of educating the next generation in science and math involves a massive financial investment of tax dollars, a huge cast of K-12 teachers and administrators, and far-thinking input from higher education to train teachers.

The Centers for Science and Math Education established around the country provide the academic backbone for these efforts: teacher training, development of curriculum and research on how to evaluate what students have learned. The University of Utah’s center was created in 2009, bringing the College of Science and the College of Education together to enhance math and science education at the university and in the community.

For a full schedule of the conference, see:

For more information on the University of Utah Center for Science and Math Education, see: