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Case Study: CREATE for STEM Institute

CREATE for STEM is a Michigan State University sponsored research institute with a broad mandate for Collaborative Research in Education, Assessment and Teaching Environments for the STEM fields. The Institute is a collaboration between the colleges of Education, Natural Science, Engineering, and the Lyman-Briggs Residential College in coordination with the Office of the Provost.
CREATE for STEM was implemented and endowed with university funds to coordinate educational activities across campus. (These activities include those associated with the AAU project as well as others not associated with the project.) The Institute brings together STEM faculty and faculty from the College of Education and serves as a springboard and hub for innovation, research, and intellectual collaboration to help bring to fruition ideas and projects that will make a difference in the teaching and learning of STEM for all learners. The Institute’s work has five major focus areas:

  1. Creating and investigating change in K-16 STEM education;
  2. educational policy in STEM fields;
  3. discipline-based undergraduate STEM education;
  4. developing innovative and digital materials, and;
  5. international engagement with the global STEM education community.

Within each of these areas, the Institute builds interdisciplinary and intergenerational research groups, fosters new talent, provides seed money for initial work, and supports the grant writing process. CREATE for STEM is also a hub for the exchange of information and ideas, sponsoring conferences, workshops, seminars, and visiting scholars to enhance the interest in STEM education and develop capacity in these fields here at MSU.

One key feature of the Institute that distinguishes it from many other teaching and learning centers is that rather than being staffed administrators, it houses respected tenured and tenure-track faculty members engaged in STEM reform. This provides a different relationship between the Institute and departments.