Director’s Message – June 2017



Dear Friends,


As we leave the hustle and bustle of the academic year behind, I welcome the opportunity to contemplate and discuss with you our work at the CSME.  Over these past two and a half years as Director, I have been privileged to work with many exceptionally talented and dedicated people, both inside and outside our Center.  As I’ve learned the ropes, I’ve come to appreciate the value of clear and open dialog with our numerous stakeholders, and through many conversations, our purpose has come into sharper focus.  We have made a number of changes at the CSME during this time, both in the scope of our work, and also in how our staff is structured to execute that work.  I would be happy to discuss these changes at length, so please don’t hesitate to contact me!


At the CSME, our programs, activities, and aspirations are guided by three principles:

  • improving the quality and equity of K-12 math and science instruction in the State of Utah leads to students who are better prepared to pursue a college degree in STEM;
  • increasing access to high-quality math and science experiences at the University of Utah broadens the STEM talent pool while addressing important social inequities; and
  • improving the academic success and career readiness of undergraduate students in math and science at the University of Utah leads to a stronger STEM workforce.


These guiding principles are inextricably linked to each other in the service of our overall mission, to empower students from all backgrounds to succeed in math and science.  We have set numerous goals commensurate with our priorities, and thanks to the hard work of our staff, together with many on- and off-campus partners, we are making progress!  You can learn more about specific achievements from the past year by visiting our Accomplishments page.


We have a very busy summer with some new projects booting up, including the Utah Pathways to STEM (UPSTEM) initiative recently funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.   UPSTEM involves a strong collaboration with Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) to create highly-supportive pathways for highly-diverse SLCC students to Math and Science degrees from the U ( facultystaff/pathways-to-stem/ ).  We are also running a new week-long professional development workshop called the SEEd Swap for 75 6-8th grade teachers who would like support in adopting Utah’s new Science with Engineering Education (SEEd) standards.  And we have made major changes to our REFUGES Bridge program for incoming UofU STEM students this summer to better accelerate underrepresented students into their STEM degree plans.


To learn more about these and other programs and activities, and the amazing people responsible for them, please visit the CSME website.  There you can also sign up to receive communications from us based on your interests.


With warmest regards,

Jordan Gerton
Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Physics & Astronomy
Director, Center for Science and Mathematics Education
University of Utah