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The Maine Center for Research in STEM Education
(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 Current RiSE Parking Map


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.

Maine Elementary Sciences Partnership logoMAINE ELEMENTARY SCIENCES PARTNERSHIP
The Maine Elementary Sciences Partnership (MaineESP) is an exciting expansion project of the MainePSP. Supported for three years by a $1.7M grant from the Maine Department of Education’s Math Science Partnership Program, the MaineESP seeks to create an infrastructure to strengthen rural science education in grades PK-5. To find out more about this partnership, click on the link above.

Job Opportunities
All professional positions are filled at this time. Please click on the “Open Positions” link on the right.



Click. Michelle Smith leads charge for active learning in science educationMichelle-Smith
by Beth Staples, UMaineTODAY, Spring/Summer 2015

Teaching science clicks for Michelle Smith.

The assistant professor in the School of Biology and Ecology is a national leader in a charge to improve science education. And clickers — wireless personal response systems (think of a television remote control) — are part of the equation.

For students in Smith’s spring 2015 genetics course, learning about sister chromatids and homologous chromosomes involved pointing and clicking.

And for Smith, understanding how undergraduates grasp genetic concepts is a rewarding aspect of teaching. To read the article, click on the link (above).

Rules of Engagement: Transforming the Teaching of College Level Science
National Science Foundation

Remember BIO 101? The professor lectured uninterrupted while some students scrawled pages of notes and others zoned out. Tests usually meant memorizing life cycles, cell parts and classification schemes. For many college freshmen, the introductory course still involves memorization, note-taking and a few energy drinks.

For students at the University of Maine (UM), however, each introductory biology lecture requires active participation. Armed with electronic clickers, the 800 students enrolled in the course’s three sections power through questions about DNA, genetics and other life science topics. To read the article, click on the link (above).

Helping Struggling Students in Introductory Biology: A Peer-Tutoring Approach That Improves Performance, Perception, and Retention
CBE – Life Sciences Education, January 8, 2015

University of Maine professor’s research is popular topic for ScienceInsider
The Weekly – Bangor Daily News, February 5, 2015

Michelle Smith in Interactive Classroom

University of Maine photo Michelle Smith, assistant professor in the school of biology and ecology, instructs a class at the University of Maine. Her work on teaching approaches led to an article based on the research of Smith and others. Titled “Lectures Aren’t Just Boring, They’re Ineffective, Too, Study Finds,” the article made the 2014 top-10 most read articles list in ScienceInsider magazine.

ORONO, Maine — In 2014, an article about a University of Maine professor’s research made a best-read list.
Michelle Smith, assistant professor in the school of biology and ecology, co-authored a paper about teaching approaches. Aleszu Bajak then penned “Lectures Aren’t Just Boring, They’re Ineffective, Too, Study Finds,” for ScienceInsider about the research that Smith and others conducted with lead author Scott Freeman of the University of Washington, Seattle.

The piece was ScienceInsider’s third most popular of the year, just behind pieces on plagiarism and Ebola.

The researchers re-analyzed 225 studies that compared grades of students enrolled in undergraduate science, engineering and mathematics courses taught in a typical lecture format with the grades of students in STEM courses that utilized active learning methods.

For more information on this topic, please click on the link (above).
Additional article from UMaine News – Smith’s Research a Hot Topic for ScienceInsider.


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

The RiSE Center Colloquia and Seminar Series is over for another semester. Please be watching for new listings in the fall!

Upcoming Conferences:

RiSE Conference 2015: Teaching, Learning, and Assessment in the Context of the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics

To be held at the University of Maine, Orono, Maine
June 28th-June 30th

Co-hosted by: The Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center)
and the Jackson Laboratory

For: All current and future middle level and high school science and mathematics teachers.

Registration is closed.

Upcoming Thesis Defenses:

Joshua Case – MST Student – Mathematics
Friday, June 12 – 10:00 a.m. at Hill Auditorium, 165 Barrows Hall.

Calculus Students’ Understanding of Logical Implication and its Relationship to their Understanding of Calculus Theorems


 Congratulations to the following MST Students who will be graduating this season:

Sundance Campbell (May, 2015)

Joshua Case (August, 2015)

Jonathan Dumont (May, 2015)

Ryan Weatherbee (May, 2015)




Pi Pi Baby

The Resource Coordinator and the Owl Rescue



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