SMEC Mission and History
Overview of the Center
The ESU Science and Mathematics Education Center (SMEC), located in Science Hall Room 177, contains more than 9000 items available for checkout. Most SMEC materials can be searched using the Kellogg on-line catalog of the ESU William Allen White Library.
The major types of activities conducted by the Science and Mathematics Education Center include dissemination of curriculum materials, hand-on outreach activities, staff development, curriculum consultation, research within school districts, state-wide research, and science and mathematics curriculum development.
Mission and Goals
The general mission of the Science and Mathematics Education Center is the improvement of pre-service and in-service preparation of teachers in the sciences and mathematics. More specific goals and objectives are as follows:
- To maintain a comprehensive repository of up-to-date K-12 science and mathematics curriculum materials, including activity resource books, children’s literature, videos, computer software, manipulatives, textbooks, lab books, journals, catalogs, kits, and other science and mathematics teacher materials.
- To assist in the coordination of programs and courses leading to teacher licensure in biological, physical, and mathematical sciences, and teacher education, including elementary, middle school, and secondary levels of science and mathematics teaching.
- To sponsor and direct staff development projects, workshops, and special courses in science and mathematics education for K-12 teachers from area school districts.
- To coordinate the efforts of ESU professors in the Departments of Biological Sciences; Physical Sciences; and Mathematics, Computer Science, and Economics; and the Teachers College who regularly serve as consultants and resource persons to the classroom teachers and administrators of state, regional and national educational organizations.
- To coordinate proposals (and their writing) submitted by the University to outside agencies for funding of special projects for enrichment of K-12 science and mathematics teaching.
- To maintain an ongoing research program in science and mathematics education with the primary purpose of gathering data concerning the needs and direction of pre-college science and mathematics education programs in Kansas.
- To serve as a regular meeting place for the advisory committee, department faculty meetings, committee meetings, and executive committee meetings of statewide mathematics and science teacher organizations.
Emporia State University has a tradition that is deeply rooted in teacher education. Founded as Kansas State Normal School in 1863, the teacher education tradition endured from 1923 to 1974 as Kansas State Teachers College. The teacher preparation mission remains strongly rooted at Emporia State University.
Out of a long-standing tradition of excellence in the preparation of teachers of science and mathematics at Emporia State University, the Science and Mathematics Education Center was formally established in the mid-1970s by a committee formed from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with representatives from the Teachers College.
During the academic year 1976-77, the Department of Biological Sciences made space available for the Center from a converted laboratory, Science Hall room 177. The collection was started with K-12 science and mathematics curriculum materials. All current materials are available for use by university students and faculty as well as teachers from area school districts.
Gradual expansion of the Center's mission led to the establishment of a half-time director's position in 1981. During the 1990-1 academic year, the Center's name was changed to the Science and Mathematics Education Center to better reflect the mission of the Center. The Director of the Center is assisted by an advisory committee consisting of representatives of the Departments of Biological Sciences, Mathematics, Computer Science, and Economics, Physical Sciences, and the Teachers College. In 2005-6, the director’s position became full-time.
The Kansas Science Teacher, an annual publication serving science and mathematics teachers, was begun in 1984. It continues (as an e-journal) as a means of publishing original articles that address the goals of improving science and mathematics teaching K-12, and bringing hands-on experiences to existing science and mathematics curricula. The current edition and archives will be available on-line beginning Fall 2007 from a link on the SMEC homepage at www.emporia.edu/scimath/