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The Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (The Maine RiSE Center) provides an integrated approach to University-based research and professional development in science and mathematics education. The Center is a joint effort of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Development and College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture.  The activities of the Center bring together faculty from the science and mathematics disciplines with faculty from education.  With this combination of resources, the Center is reevaluating and reforming introductory level science and mathematics  courses, establishing new practices for K-12 science teacher preparation, and building infrastructure with teachers, schools, and administrators through out the state.

Activities undertaken by the Center are targeted to create attractive, content-rich teacher preparation and continuing education options for mathematics and science teachers. The Center is working to develop well-qualified science and mathematics teachers for grades K-12 and to spearhead the development of coherent, developmentally appropriate curricula for mathematics and science.

You can find us by accessing the Map to RiSE.


Director: Susan McKay, 207-581-4678
Administrative Specialist:
Leisa Preble, 207-581-4672


A partnership bringing together over 45 rural Maine schools, the University of Maine, three Maine non-profits with expertise in science education, and science and technology leaders at the Maine Department of Education to target the teaching and learning of physical sciences in grades 6-9 and the preparation of science teachers at the University of Maine.  To find out more about this partnership, click on the link above.

Job Opportunities
All positions are filled at this time.



EqualityMaine Out Front Volunteer Leadership Awardee
The EqualityMaine Awards 30th Anniversary Celebration Banquet was held in Portland on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Our Project Coordinator, Travis Hall, won the Out Front Volunteer Leadership Award. To read more about Travis, please click on the link above. Way to go, Travis!!

Duke Alum Michael Wittmann Specializes in Physics Education Research
     Like many physicists, Michael Wittmann (’93) was drawn to the subject because it’s a way of understanding how the world works. But Wittmann is also interested in understanding how teaching and learning work. “I come from a line of teachers and physicists and engineers,” he says. “So I grew up with dinner table conversation about both of those topics.”
To satisfy both of his interests, Wittmann specializes in physics education research (PER) at the University of Maine, where he was recently promoted to full professor. He is a member of the research group at the Physics Education Research Laboratory there, as well as the Center for Research in STEM Education, which he co-founded in 2001. He also co-chairs the biennial Foundations and Frontiers of Physics Education Research conference in Bar Harbor, Maine.
To Wittmann, there’s a little bit of physicist in everyone—or there ought to be. “It irritates me when I’m at a party and someone says, ‘What do you do?’ and I say, ‘I’m a physicist,’ and their response is, ‘Oooh, that’s hard.’ They are forgetting that they are scientists by nature—they have questions about the world, and we can answer them. As a teaching community, we’re missing the boat if people have that reaction.”
For more information, please click here.

Smith Leads a Science Transformation
     A University of Maine researcher is participating in five projects aimed at improving nationwide science instruction and assessments.
Michelle Smith, assistant professor in UMaine’s School of Biology and Ecology, is the principal investigator on four projects and co-principal investigator on another granted $6.8 million in total funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF); UMaine’s portion is $1,012,269.
The projects, three of which are collaborative with other universities, involve UMaine administrators, faculty, postdoctoral and graduate students, undergraduates and area K-12 teachers. “All of these stakeholders … will contribute to national initiatives to improve science education,” says Smith, a member of the Maine Center for Research in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education (Maine RiSE Center).
For more information, please click here.

Promotions, Promotions!
If you see them around, please congratulate Michael Wittmann on his promotion to Full Professor, and Natasha Speer on her promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure. We are so proud of them!!

Poster Presentation at the PhysTEC Conference Summarizing Current Work of the Partnership


2014 Jackson Laboratory Teaching Sabbaticals
Read about one teacher’s sabbatical experience in “Spirit of discovery”!


Maine RiSE Center Colloquia & Seminar Series:
3:00-4:00 pm, First Monday of the month
Arthur St. John Hill Auditorium, 165 Barrows Hall (unless otherwise indicated)

March 17 – Lauren Barth-Cohen, RiSE Center, University of Maine.  Evidence Construction in a Field Geology Environment

SPECIAL – March 21 – Warren Christensen, North Dakota State University. Student reasoning about matrix multiplication: a window for investigating math/physics frame shifts

April 7 – Eric Pandiscio, University of Maine. Differentiated student thinking while solving a distance vs. time graph problem.

April 28 – Vicki Sealey


Upcoming Thesis Defenses:

April 9 – Shahram Firouzian – MST Thesis Defense – Arthur St. John Hill Auditorium – 4:30-6:30 pm
“Correlations Between Students’ Multiple Ways of Thinking About the Derivative and Their Abilities to Solve Applied Derivative Problems

April 17 – Jon Janelle – MST Thesis Defense – 207 Boardman Hall – 2:00-4:30 pm
Proof Conceptions of College Calculus Students”
(Note Different Venue)


 Congratulations to Levi Lucy, who graduated in December 2013!


Save-the-Date (Note Date Change)!
7th Biennial National Conference

Watch for information about our next National Conference -
coming on June 20-22, 2014 at the Wells Conference Center, University of Maine!



Pi Pi Baby

The Resource Coordinator and the Owl Rescue

Maine PSP Indoor Soccer Team – 2011-2012

Team RiSE 2012 Winter Schedule

Directions to Fields:


The Center was created by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Education, Award Number R125K010106.


Past Center News