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WMU hosting national STEM education conference

June 16, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Two Western Michigan University professors are helping to organize a national working conference that may lead to improvements in the way science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM subjects, are taught and learned at U.S. colleges and universities. The conference, called "Facilitating Change in Undergraduate STEM: An Invitational Symposium Integrating Multiple Perspectives," will be held Monday through Thursday, June 16-19, at Brook Lodge in Augusta, Mich.

The event will bring together 42 of the leading and up-and-coming scholars in diverse research areas to identify theories and strategies for promoting sustainable enhancements in STEM education. Among the featured presenters will be Dr. Carl Wieman, a co-winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in physics. Wieman is affiliated with both the University of Colorado, Boulder and University of British Colombia, where he works with initiatives to improve science education by incorporating the latest research on teaching and learning.

"Many feel that our economic growth and national competitiveness depend on improved STEM education," notes conference co-organizer Dr. Charles Henderson, WMU assistant professor of physics and science education. "Researchers know a lot about effective teaching practices for STEM subjects. What we need to do now is find ways to expand the use of these practices so that all undergraduate students can experience them."

The conference is being hosted by WMU and funded by two National Science Foundation grants, with additional support from WMU's Mallinson Institute for Science Education and Office of the Vice President for Research. Along with Henderson, it is being organized by Dr. Andrea Beach, WMU assistant professor of educational leadership, research and technology; Dr. Noah Finkelstein, associate professor of physics at U.C. Boulder; and R. Sam Larson, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente.

Go to www.wmich.edu/science/facilitating-change for a full list of presenters and other conference details.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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