STEM Initiatives

Current and Ongoing Projects

For more information on research activities conducted by Faculty and Staff, visit our Faculty & Staff Profiles page. 

Project 1

USF is a committed member of the Science Mathematics Teacher Imperative (SMTI) to transform middle and high school science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education by preparing a new generation of world-class science and mathematics teachers. 

  • SMTI Mathematics Teacher Education (MTE) Partnership.
    As part of this effort, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Hillsborough County Public Schools have partnered with the mathematics education program faculty in the MTE-Partnership. The SMTI MTE Partnership effort will provide a coordinated research and development effort for secondary mathematics teacher preparation programs in order to meet the challenges of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and to embody research and best practices in the field.

Project 2 - Tampa Bay Robert Noyce Master Teacher Fellows (MTF) Program

PI: Sarah VanIngen; co-PIs: Robert Potter (Chemistry,  CAS), Diane Yendol-Hoppey (CELS-Teacher Leadership); Larry Plank (HCPS)
Funded by NSF for $1,210,115; 8/1/2012-7/31/17

The Tampa Bay Robert Noyce Master Teacher Fellows Program is a partnership effort between the University of South Florida (USF), Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS), and Helios Education Foundation (HEF). This program provides stipends to effective mathematics and science teachers who will engage in an extended teacher development program to become effective teacher leaders. The objectives of this program are to:

  • Recruit and select 20 content knowledgeable mathematics and science teachers with a proven track record of effectiveness who will participate in a program for developing teacher leaders.
  • Prepare MTF to assume leadership roles within their schools and school district so that they can mentor and support beginning and veteran inservice teachers.
  • Prepare MTF to assume leadership roles as part of the USF teacher education program so that they can support prospective mathematics and science teachers by serving as mentors, supervising teachers, guest presenters, and co-instructors.

MTF selected to participate in this program will have master’s degrees, will have demonstrated subject matter knowledge, and will have a record of effective teaching as defined by the HCPS’ Empowering Effective Teachers (EET) initiative. As part of this initiative, HCPS has reformed its teacher evaluation system utilizing a multi-metric approach. Thus, teacher effectiveness is calculated based on evaluations by principals (30%), evaluations by peer/mentor evaluators (30%), and measurable gains in student achievement (40%) that are based on a 3-year value-added growth model utilizing multilevel modeling. MTF will be recruited from those math and science teachers who are rated as “effective” or “highly effective” on the evaluation rating scale. Selected MTF will participate in a jointly developed and well-coordinated Teacher Leaders for Student Learning graduate certificate and a Teacher Leader Academy professional development program designed to enhance their skills so that they can support mathematics and science programs at both institutions.

Project 3 - Helios STEM Middle School Residency Program:  Transforming STEM Teacher Preparation for the Transition Years 

PI: Cheryl Ellerbrock (Mathematics Education); Co-PIs: Robert Potter (College of Arts and Sciences), Larry Plank (Director of STEM Education, HCPS)
Funded by the Helios Education Foundation: Planning Grant ($430,000; 10/1/11 – 12/23/2012); Implementation Grant ($2,736,000; 2/1/2013-12/31/2018)

This grant supports the development of a new teacher education program for STEM (science, technology, engineering, & mathematics) middle school teachers. This teacher education program will be collaboratively developed among the University of South Florida’s College of Education and College of Arts and Sciences faculty, Hillsborough County Public Schools, and the Helios Education Foundation. The goals of the planning effort are to:

  • Develop a new Teacher Education program to prepare middle school STEM teachers that takes into consideration middle school students’ developmental needs, curricular expectations (e.g., Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, Next Generation Sunshine Standards for Science), and the content and pedagogical knowledge needed middle school students effectively
  • Redesign the internship experiences so that it reflects a yearlong collaborative co-teaching model between middle school STEM teacher-scholars, cooperating teacher, and clinical faculty members.

Overall, this program will be research-based; make links to practice through a yearlong residency program; provide ongoing professional development for clinical faculty, cooperating teachers, and residents; support clinical faculty members who are jointly appointed to both the university and school districts, and dependent on the continuous assessment of program and teacher effectiveness.

Project 4

PI: Vomvoridi-Ivanović, E., February 2015-August 2019; Co-PIs: Sears, R., Sept. 2014-August 2016.
USF sub-award from Texas State University. NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative (EDPC) - Minority Serving Institution Teacher Educator Network (MSI-TEN). $145,000. Funded.

The purpose of this grant is to engage with other MSI faculty in:

  1. A comprehensive review of NASA STEM content and professional development resources to ensure that these materials are culturally responsive and can be integrated into high-impact instructional strategies that promote learning for all students;
  2. A collaborative design  and development effort that results in culturally relevant professional development materials for teachers and informal educators that advance teacher understanding of STEM careers; and
  3. A collegial knowledge sharing among other teacher educator members of the MSI TEN Network and beyond.