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The Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center)

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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 the RiSE Ctr.


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.

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. Post doctoral positions may still be available. Please click on the “Open Positions” link on the right.



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

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.


Rules of engagement: Transforming the teaching of college-level science -

December 18, 2014,, Discovery page
A science education advocate (Michelle K. Smith) who trained as a molecular biologist uses her analytical background to create teaching strategies that energize both students and faculty.




2015 Jackson Laboratory Teaching Sabbaticals

The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) and The University of Maine announces the final Teacher Research Sabbatical program: a paid academic-year research experience open to all STEM teachers in Maine and other rural New England states.  This will be the LAST year for the sabbatical program as JAX shifts resources to a more broadly-disseminated model for teacher professional development in genomics.

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 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:

No Question Left Behind: 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.

Stipended teacher slots are full, but we would be glad to put you on the waiting list.  Graduate students, faculty, and administrators, please register by Friday, May 15th at

Upcoming Thesis Defenses:

None at this time


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

Jonathan Dumont

Ryan Weatherbee




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.

Image Description:

Image Description: Maine Physical Sciences Partnership

Image Description: Maine Elementary Sciences Partnership logo

Image Description: Michelle Smith in Interactive Classroom

Image Description: Michelle Smith gives a talk at the University of Adelaide, Australia, about the benefits of interactive teaching to student learning, and the data collected from STEM classroom observations at the University of Maine. Smith's talks involve asking the audience to vote on clicker questions and discuss findings with their colleagues. Credit: Robert Williams Photography


Past Center News

Additional Links

Contact Information

The Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center)
5727 Estabrooke Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5727
Phone: (207) 581-4672 | Fax: (207) 581-9555E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469