STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

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Joan Ferrini-Mundy

Assistant Director, Education and Human Resources Directorate, National Science Foundation

Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy is Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Education and Human Resources, a position she has held since February 2011, and is responsible for the leadership of the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). She had served the Foundation in a number of capacities since 2007 including as inaugural director (through an Intergovernmental Personnel Act appointment) of the EHR Directorate’s Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings.

From 2007 through 2009, Ferrini-Mundy was a member of the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC) Subcommittee on Education, and currently co-chairs the Strategic Plan workgroup of the National Science and Technology Council Committee on STEM Education. She is a member of the Mathematics Expert Group of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), and in 2007-2008, representing NSF, she served as an ex officio member of the President’s National Mathematics Advisory Panel, and co-chaired its Instructional Practices Task Group. From 1999 – 2011 Ferrini-Mundy held an appointment at Michigan State University (MSU), where she was a University Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Education in the Departments of Mathematics and Teacher Education, and Associate Dean for Science and Mathematics Education in the College of Natural Science. Her research interests include calculus teaching and learning, mathematics teacher learning, and mathematics and science education policy at the K-12 level. Ferrini-Mundy holds a PhD in mathematics education from the University of New Hampshire. She was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011.

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Susan Singer

Division Director, Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE), National Science Foundation

Susan Rundell Singer is Division Director in the Division of Undergraduate Education at NSF. Her home academic appointment is as the Laurence McKinley Gould Professor, in the Biology and Cognitive Science Departments at Carleton College. She pursues a career that integrates science and education. In addition to a PhD in Biology from Rensselaer, she completed a teacher certification program in New York State. A developmental biologist who studies flowering in legumes and also does research on learning in genomics, Susan is an AAAS fellow and received both the American Society of Plant Biology teaching award and Botanical Society of America Charles Bessey teaching award. She directed Carleton’s Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching, was an NSF program officer in Biology, and is a co-author of the Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology report and an introductory biology text. She has served on numerous boards, including the NSF EHR advisory committee, Biological Sciences Curriculum Study Board, and the Botanical Society board of directors; is a member-at-large for the AAAS Education Section; participates in the Minnesota Next Generation Science Standards team; and was a member of the National Academies’ Board on Science Education. She has participated in six National Academies studies, including chairing the committees that authored America’s Lab Report, Promising Practices in STEM Undergraduate Education and Discipline- based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering.

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Vincent Tinto

Distinguished University Professor Emeritus, Syracuse University

Vincent Tinto is a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Syracuse University and the former Chair of the Higher Education Program. He has carried out research and has written extensively on higher education, particularly on student success and the impact of learning communities on student growth and attainment. His book, Leaving College, published by the University of Chicago Press, lays out a theory and policy perspective on student success that is considered the benchmark by which work on these issues are judged. His most recent book, Completing College, also published by The University of Chicago Press, lays out a framework for institutional action for student success, describes the range of programs that have been effective in enhancing student success, and the types of policies institutions should follow to successfully implement programs in ways that endure and scale-up over time.

He has received numerous recognitions and awards. He was awarded the Council of Educational Opportunity Walter O. Mason 2012 Award for his work on the retention of low-income students, the Council of Independent Colleges 2008 Academic Leadership Award, the National Institute for Staff Development International 2008 Leadership Award and was named Distinguished Fellow in the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations. He has some 50 notable publications, including books, research reports, and journal articles, to his credit and has lectured across the United States, South America, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. From 1990 to 1996 he was associate director of the National Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment.  He has worked with a number of organizations, foundations, and government agencies on issues of student success and sits on a number of advisory boards including the Community College Survey of Student Engagement and the Lumina Foundation.

Dr. Tinto received his B.S. from Fordham in Physics and Philosophy, his M.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Physics and Mathematics, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Education and Sociology.

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Jo Handelsman

Frederick Phineas Rose Professor & HHMI Professor, Yale University

Dr. Jo Handelsman is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University. She served on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1985 until moving to Yale in 2010. Her research focuses on the genetic and functional diversity of microorganisms in soil and insect gut communities. She is one of the pioneers of functional metagenomics, an approach to accessing the genetic potential of unculturable bacteria in environmental samples for discovery of novel microbial products, and she recently served as President of the American Society for Microbiology. In addition to her research program, Handelsman is also known internationally for her efforts to improve science education and increase the participation of women and minorities in science at the university level. Her leadership in education led to her appointment as the first President of the Rosalind Franklin Society; her service on the National Academies' panel that wrote the 2006 report, "Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering;" her selection by President Barack Obama to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring; her position as co-chair of a working group that produced the 2012 report to the President, “Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics,” about improving STEM education in postsecondary education; and Nature listing her as one of the “ten people who mattered” in 2012 for her research on gender bias in science.

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Connie Della-Piana

Program Director, Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation

Connie Kubo Della-Piana has a master’s degree in evaluation from the University of Illinois and a doctorate in communication with emphasis on organizational communication and qualitative, quantitative, and critical theory methodology.  She has primary interests in undergraduate STEM education, program evaluation, science and technology policy, and organizational studies.  As program director in the Division of Undergraduate Education she is the lead for the STEP program and is responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of NSF programs geared to improving undergraduate STEM education.  She is also a lead on the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education program.

She was a consultant on evaluation to the BBC World Trust, Research and Learning Group and has designed and conducted evaluations for projects funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health Minority Access to Research Careers, NASA, the Smithsonian Institute Folk Art Festivals, and the Red Cross.  She is currently on the Advisory Board of a NOAA-funded Center focused on remote sensing and continues to publish in the area of evaluation of programs focused on undergraduate education.

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José Herrera

Professor and Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Western New Mexico University

Jose Herrera is currently Professor and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Western New Mexico University where he focuses much of his energy on developing strong educational and scientific initiatives at a small, open-enrollment, Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).  He graduated from Whitney Young High School at 15 before attending Northern Illinois University where he majored in biology and minored in chemistry, graduating Magna cum laude in 1988.  After obtaining his high school science teaching certificate, he continued at Northern, earning a Master’s degree in biology before continuing (and finishing) his doctorate in microbiology at Kansas State University in 1996.  After teaching and focusing on undergraduate research at Truman State University (serving as Departmental Chair from 2009-2011) he served as Program Director at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) from 2011-2013.  He is co-organizing this year’s STEP meeting.