NSF Establishes Five New Centers to Develop Teaching Leadership in Science and Mathematics

October 24, 2002

The new centers – established at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C., Washington University in St. Louis and at the universities of Wisconsin, Washington and Georgia – will receive an estimated $10 million each over the next five years.

Individual efforts continue in the K-12 component of the program, ranging from development of new math and science curricula, to instructional materials and professional development of teachers. Meanwhile, a higher-education component, which is new in this year’s awards, will provide for coordinated reform of teaching and learning through a wide array of research, faculty professional development and education practice.

The 10 nationwide K-12 Centers for Learning and Teaching represent an estimated NSF commitment of $100 million to increase the numbers, professionalism and diversity of K-12 math and science teachers, and faculty members who prepare future teachers. The two additional higher education centers, initiated this year with an NSF commitment of $20 million, provide coordinated efforts in research, faculty professional development and education practice at colleges and universities.

“The Centers for Learning and Teaching are our test sites for innovative approaches to preparing a new generation of science, engineering and mathematics faculty who can work well together, who can introduce a strong research component into their educational approaches, and who can create the capacity for challenging, engaging learning opportunities for students in formal and informal settings,” said Judith Ramaley, NSF’s assistant director for education and human resources. “These centers, in company with our other research efforts, including our proposed Science of Learning Centers, will give us the ability to share new ideas in teaching, learning and educational research while preparing and supporting educators who can inspire their students.”

The K-12 centers, in addition to countering the expected impact of mass retirements of teachers and higher education faculty, are also expected to build a body of research, especially in emerging and interdisciplinary mathematics and science topics. Centers are also gearing up efforts to reduce the high proportion of teaching professionals who are teaching “out of field.” Meanwhile, higher education centers are designing programs to enhance the content knowledge and pedagogical skills of current and future faculty. The research agendas of these centers will focus on undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“We want to increase the mathematics and science achievement levels of our students and prepare them for a society increasingly shaped by science and technology. So we need to provide a nucleus of coordinated reform efforts that reach into and coalesce teaching, learning and research across K-12 and higher-education boundaries,” Ramaley concluded.

For more information see:


List of current Centers for Learning and Teaching


Awards for 2002 – K through 12

The Center for Proficiency in Teaching Mathematics – University of Georgia

The St. Louis Center for Inquiry in Science Teaching & Learning – Washington University (St. Louis)

Center for Instructional Materials in Science – American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Washington, D.C.

Awards for 2002 – Higher Education

Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education – University of Washington

Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning – University of Wisconsin, Madison

Previously funded Centers for Learning and Teaching – 2001

The Diversity in Mathematics Education Center for Learning and Teaching – University of Wisconsin

The Appalachian Collaborative Center for Learning, Assessment, and Instruction in Mathematics – University of Tennessee

The Center for Informal Learning and Schools –

The Exploratorium (a San Francisco-based museum)

The Center for Learning and Teaching in the West -Montana State University

The Center for Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning – WestEd Inc. (nonprofit research, development and service agency)

Centers for Learning and Teaching – 2000

Mid-Atlantic Center for Mathematics Teaching and Learning – University of Maryland

Information Technology (IT) in Science – Texas A&M University

* Note: Funding for these programs comes primarily from the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources, with additional funding from the Directorate for Engineering and the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Program contacts

Janice Earle

(703) 292-5097


Susan Hixson

(703) 292-4623