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Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education

Department of Mathematics & Statistics

2018 ETSU STEM Education Conference
Conference Theme:  STEM & LIteraCy in Education (SLICE)
Dates:  Thursday, May 31st and Friday, June 1st, 2018 
Will be held at  The Millennium Centre in Johnson City, TN
The Carnegie Hotel will be hosting the conference.  Rooms are listed at the state rate of  $93.00 per night plus all applicable taxes.  Please inform the front office you will be attending the conference when you make your room reservations. 
There is a Registration fee of $75.00 per participant that is sponsored by an individual that has been specifically invited to attend this SLICE Conference.  
 If you are interested in attending the conference, please fill in this Survey of Interest (click for the link). Our conference coordinator will reach you and work with you within 48 hours.
Conference Plan (click for the link)

Breakout session plan (click for the link)

The Math plus Computing Initiative at CEMSE 

Title of Project: Integrating Computing into the High School Mathematics Curriculum via Science and Engineering Data Sets

Partner Districts: Bristol City, Kingsport City, Washington County, Sullivan County

Focus Area: HS Math with science- and engineering-based data sets analyzed using the open source R coding language.  All STEM areas will thus be brought to the table.

This past summer (2016), we received funds from the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN), operated by the Battelle Memorial Institute, that allowed us to launch a pilot project that involved the incorporation of computing into the high school mathematics curriculum. We have now acquired THEC funding for an Improving Teacher Quality project in summer 2017 that will expand on the same theme.  In addition, Battelle has funded us for a second workshop that will augment, support, and strengthen the THEC project.

Dates:  Tentatively 2 days at the Annual ETSU STEM conference on June 1-2 and workshop on June 5-9

Location: ETSU Room 308 Warf-Pickel Hall (a computer classroom)

Participants: 30 high school math teachers will participate, and will be trained to seamlessly incorporate R into the teaching of the (quite significant) Statistics portion of their Algebra 2 or similar classes, using data sets that relate to science and engineering.  Other areas of the mathematics curriculum will be similarly addressed. 

Trainers: Dr. JeanMarie Hendrickson, a specialist in Statistics Education, Assistant Professor at ETSU and Dr. Ryan Nivens, a specialist in Mathematics Education, Associate Professor

Workshop Length: 30 hours, plus (i) mandatory attendance at the 12 hour STEM conference and (ii) post-workshop meetings as the “Algebra 2+R” content website is built by participants.  The STEM conference will have Computing in Mathematics Courses as its theme.  Participants will receive credit for MATH 5015, Probability and Statistics for K-12 Teachers.

Stipend: Each participating teacher will receive a stipend, Raspberry Pi computing device and required peripherals, and textbooks/materials.

The Science Literacy Initiative at CEMSE

Dr. Chih-Che Tai

ETSU colleges of Education, Arts and Sciences receive grants for teacher quality program

Two grants totaling more than $650,000 have been awarded to a joint effort between East Tennessee State University, Hawkins County School District and the Northeast Tennessee STEM Hub. These grants will sustain continued efforts to increase teacher quality in science and literacy education.

Teachers from across the region will participate in learning opportunities and receive instructional materials funded by the grant through July 2018. Faculty and staff from the Clemmer College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Graduate Studies are involved in the initiative.

Dr. Chih-Che Tai, assistant director of the ETSU Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education, says the goal of the grants is to support neighboring school districts in preparing students for college and career readiness.

“The data show that only 30 percent of Tennessee high school graduates meet ACT science benchmarks and only 38 percent meet ACT reading benchmarks, yet 62.5 percent of the students in Tennessee go to college,” Tai said.  “These percentages indicate that a large number of students attending college are not academically ready to complete the work required of them when they enter college.”

To help teachers better prepare their students for the work they will do when they enter the college classroom or the workforce, school administrators and ETSU faculty worked closely to start an initiative to help teachers learn how to help students read and write about science.  “We are grateful to be able to continue this initiative the next two years,” Tai said.

The incoming teacher quality program will include over 100 teachers in grades 3-12 science, English-language arts (ELA) and mathematics teachers representing Hawkins County (lead school district), Bristol, Elizabethton, Greeneville, and Kingsport cities as well as Carter, Greene, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties. The grants were awarded by the Tennessee Department of Education Math and Science Partnership program.

“This is an opportunity for ETSU to share the latest, best-practice methods in ELA and science education and to also open dialogue among the teachers about strategies that have been successful in the classroom,” said Dr. Karin Keith, chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the Clemmer College of Education.

“Yes, science and language arts are very different, but they share some common methodologies and themes. For example, both have a process by which students review information and analyze it to make predictions about what the outcome might be. We believe that by helping students see these similarities between science and language arts they will develop a love and passion for both.”  Tai added, “We plan to expand the program to project-based learning, integrating math with science and literacy, and instructional technology to support on-site and on-line learning.”

The joint team has received over $1.6 million in grant funding to support initiatives integrating science learning and literacy. The initiative also includes regional business partners Cooper Standard, Domtar, Eastman Chemical Company, Nuclear Fuel Services and Wellmont Health System.  “In brief, the project is all about effective instruction, meaningful learning, college/career readiness, collaboration and partnership,” Tai said.



ETSU has submitted a proposal to the National Science Foundation STEM+C Program.  We await the panel's decision.  In the meantime, however, here is information regarding

Our Research Questions

An Undergraduate Research Project

An exciting Pilot Project funded by the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network that will allow us to inject the open source program R into the high school curriculum. 

Best Practices in Professional Development: Lessons Learned    

Dr. Jack Rhoton

ETSU Northeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub

ETSU, through its Center of Excellence for Mathematics and Science Education and, more recently, through the ETSU Northeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub, has provided professional development for hundreds of math and science teachers, at all levels. Our professional development has focused on improving instructional strategies/practices with the ultimately goal of improving student achievement. Based on our work, we have identified several best practices in our professional development for math and science teachers. Our findings are consistent with several recent students that have documented the importance of professional development on teaching practices and student learning. The ETSU model of professional development has been published in various journal articles and books. Although there is a large body of research that has examined the effectiveness of professional development, the evidences is often uneven given the differences in resources, system level and school leadership, and teacher knowledge gaps. These factors can be complicated when teachers return to the classroom without the necessary support structure to practice and reflect upon the innovation. Also, district policy changes and budgetary constraints can influence researchers who need to control these changes. However, the best practices in professional development that we have been able to identify are listed below.

Please click here for entire document.

ETSU Northeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub

One of the premier initiatives of the Center is the establishment of the ETSU Northeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub. The Hub interconnects K-12 schools, higher education institutions, businesses, foundations, and community organizations to design, develop, and demonstrate innovative, sustainable and transferable STEM learning experiences. These STEM partnerships and collaborations seek to engage students, develop a skilled workforce, and increase STEM literacy in the fifteen school districts in the Northeast Tennessee region and throughout Tennessee.


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