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Stephen Witzig

Associate Professor

STEM Education & Teacher Development



Liberal Arts 398E


2012University of MissouriPhD in Science Education





Synthesize critical research processes, theories of learning, and current research themes in STEM Education to which students are introduced in their first year. From this synthesis, students are expected to select and refine a researchable topic for their pilot study to be conducted during the Introductory and Preparatory phases of the doctoral program (Years 1&2).

Qualifying Exam Preparation Capstone Course. Prepare students for their qualifying exams by synthesizing the lessons learned by the authentic I.earning experience and focusing research questions in preparation for their advanced coursework. In addition, the course will focus on formal writing both for grant applications, scholarly articles and the dissertation.

Research skills development. Students will focus on building the skill set necessary to conduct research for the dissertation with an emphasis on background fundamental issues in STEM education research. It will build on exploration, analysis, and writing skills critical to the research process. The course also addresses ethics of research, including issues associated with human subjects research. Students will learn skills that give shape to their thinking. As part of the course, students will be expected to identify a problem for which they will conduct a pilot study during the Introductory and Preparatory phases of the doctoral program.

STEM curriculum design, development, implementation, and reform. Students will focus on analyzing grades K-16 curriculum, intentions for students' learning outcomes, associated pedagogical styles and integration. Students will examine existing reform and basal curricula texts, and the development of new activities and activity structures that replace or transform existing texts based upon present STEM education theory and new technologies. Students will also be introduced to issues behind curricula reform and integration focusing on fidelity of implementation.


Research Interests

  • Development of teachers’ specialized knowledge for teaching science
  • Socioscientific issues based education
  • Informal science contexts & field based teaching/learning
  • Scientific practices & formative assessment in science

Select publications

Sickel, A. J. & Witzig, S. B., (Eds.) (2017).
Designing and teaching the secondary science methods course: An international perspective

Witzig, S. B., Halverson, K. L., Siegel, M. A., & Freyermuth, S. K. (2013).
The interface of opinion, evaluation, and understanding while learning about a socioscientific issue
International Journal of Science Education, 35(15), 2483-2507.

Witzig, S. B., Freyermuth, S. K., Siegel, M. A., Izci, K., & Pires, J. C. (2013).
Is DNA alive? A study of conceptual change through targeted instruction
Research in Science Education, 43(4), 1361-1375.

Dr. Witzig holds a Ph.D. in Science Education from the University of Missouri. He joined the UMass Dartmouth faculty in 2012 and teaches courses in both the Ph.D. program in STEM Education as well in the Masters of Arts in Teaching programs. Stephen’s research focuses on the development of teachers’ specialized knowledge for teaching science, scientific practices, and bridging research relationships among scientists, classroom teachers, and science teacher educators. His work focuses on the sources of teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge, how experience shapes knowledge, socioscientific issues based education, qualitative methods in science education, and areas of student learning including the roles of students and teachers in learning science. He has published his work in the International Journal of Science Education, Research in Science Education, Journal of College Science Teaching, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, among others and has a co-edited book entitled Designing and Teaching the Secondary Science Methods Course: An International Perspective.

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