Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm
1000 E. University Ave.
Wyoming Hall 453
Laramie, WY 82071
The Science and Mathematics Teaching Center (SMTC) was established with a National Science Foundation grant to the Physics Department at UW in 1970. The SMTC was developed as an NSF regional center to work with numerous school districts in Wyoming and Colorado. When NSF funds were exhausted, the SMTC was able to continue with support from the State of Wyoming.
The SMTC is an intercollegiate interdisciplinary program committed to excellence in K-20 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning. The SMTC is jointly governed by the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences, with a Director, Coordinator, Outreach Science Educator, and Wyoming State Science Fair Coordinator as full-time faculty. The Center’s programs, projects, and outreach are supported by over 100 Affiliate Faculty drawn from community colleges and other agencies and four colleges within the University: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; College of Arts and Sciences; College of Education; and College of Engineering and Applied Science.
The SMTC has a 42-year history that includes the leadership of 15 Directors, beginning with the Founder, William Tillery (1970-1972). In 1987, the name of the Center was changed to the Wyoming Center for Teaching and Learning (WCTL) and expanded its mission to include other disciplines. At the same time, the Wyoming Conservation Connection was established to provide environmental knowledge which promoted environmental ethics. Ron Beiswenger (1984-1987) served as the Director during this period. In 1989, the name of the Center was changed to the Wyoming Institute for the Development of Teaching (WIDT). This name was later changed to the Natural Science Program in 1993. The Center established the Natural Science Advisory Board under the leadership of Patricia McClurg (1996-2001). In 2001, the Center was renamed the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center while Judith Ellsworth (2001-2005) was the director. Under the leadership of Robert Mayes (2006-2011), the Center focused on delivery of its master degree programs (i.e., Master of Science in Natural Science (MSNS) in Middle Level Science or Middle Level Mathematics; Master of Science in Teaching for Secondary teachers; and the MSNS Natural Science Education program offered in collaboration with the Teton Science Schools); provided professional development courses, programs, and workshops for K-12 teachers; collaborated on grants partnering with K-12 schools, the Wyoming Department of Education, and Wyoming Community Colleges; and served as a Center for research-based change in K-12 STEM education.
At the foundation of the Center is a vision of the University of Wyoming and the SMTC as a recognized leader in STEM education. That potential is part of what drew Jacqueline Leonard, the current Director to UW and Laramie in fall 2012. “This institution is moving towards being a regional and a national player,” Leonard says. “The people who are here, coming from across the country, are phenomenal.” Leonard envisions building upon the already strong stable of SMTC-sponsored teacher professional development programs and research projects. The SMTC remains committed to serving the state of Wyoming and the region by engaging teachers and paraprofessionals in cutting-edge research that leads to best practices.