New STEM Education Ph.D. approved

New program will address issues critical to the economic security of the region, state, and nation

The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education has approved a Ph.D. program in STEM Education at UMass Dartmouth. The university will immediately begin accepting students into the program this fall.

“Improving STEM education is a matter of regional and national economic importance, but it is also a national security imperative as the United States faces a myriad of global science and technology challenges,” said UMass Dartmouth Provost and Chief Academic Officer Mohammad Karim. “Our world-class faculty in this field are poised to teach, mentor and inspire a new generation of STEM education innovators.”

The future-focused Ph.D. in STEM Education will prepare students for academic careers in improving STEM education throughout the region, state, and nation. Graduates will gain a deep understanding of strategies to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education while developing all-important soft skills in communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and data analysis needed to lead change.

UMass Dartmouth has an array of federally supported research initiatives already in place, and the approval of the degree will enable the university to build on this strength. The university is home to the Kaput Center for Research and Innovation in STEM Education, which conducts and shares research designed to enhance STEM education.

Among the faculty receiving major STEM research grants over the last few years are:

  • Kaput Center Director Chandra Orrill was awarded a $738,337 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop strategies that help teachers make sense of compelling mathematical structures and patterns.
  • Assistant Professor Shakhnoza Kayumova, a researcher at the Kaput Center for Research and Innovation in STEM Education, received a $778,770 National Science Foundation grant to help address the pressing national need for English language learners to study science.
  • Associate Professor Walter Stroup who received a $457,755 National Science Foundation grant to use technology to help students collaborate around complex mathematical tasks.

All three are National Science Foundation CAREER Award winners. The NSF CAREER Program is designed to support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.


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