NISE Enters Its Fifth Year
The National Science Foundation's National Institute for Science Education (NISE) was funded in 1995 for five years as a cooperative agreement. NSF directed the Institute to "address the totality of the [science] education enterprise, to assess its effectiveness, and examine what new activities need to be established, what activities are no longer needed, and what new approaches will enhance science education."
is based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Washington, DC, through
its partnership with the National Center for Improving Science Education. The
NISE's vision is that all students leave the educational system with an ability
to make informed decisions about the science, mathematics, engineering, and
technology (SMET)-related matters that they encounter in their daily lives. In
this vision, all stakeholders in SMET education engage in active, contextual
learning to acquire both a strong foundation in SMET and the ability to enhance
that foundation as lifelong learners.
fourth line of work is on preservice teacher education, an area of effort
tightly tied to the first three: professional development, college-level SMET
education, and systemic reform. The research is needed to address such key
questions as, How can scientists and educators better work together to prepare
outstanding K–12 teachers of SMET? and How can preservice and inservice
teacher educators be more tightly coupled so that teacher professional growth
and development over time is enhanced?
themes cut across all of the Institute's work. One is a deep concern for
understanding how equity in SMET education can be achieved. Another is the role
of technology in improving the quality of SMET education and providing
strategies for implementing successful innovations on a national scale. The
third cross-cutting theme is a commitment to disseminating NISE products and
knowledge to everyone who might benefit. The Institute responds to the National
Science Foundation directly, by taking on work requested, and indirectly, by
identifying what needs attention and placing effort there.
NISE operates as a highly interactive collegial system, while maintaining clear
lines of leadership and responsibility necessary to ensure work of
high quality. The NISE fosters collaborative work and cooperation among the
education and science faculties at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and
throughout the nation. The multidisciplinary nature of NISE's work is reflected
in parity between scientists and educators throughout the management structure
and in the composition of project teams.
pursue its work, the NISE is organized into interdisciplinary teams. Team
Leaders meet regularly with the director, Andrew Porter, associate directors
Robert Mathieu and Barrett Caldwell, and the project manager, Paula White, to
make decisions about implementing NISE strategies. A nine-person Advisory Team,
consisting of scientists, education researchers, education practitioners, and
representatives of the industrial sector, provides advice and oversight to all
The NISE recruits Fellows from industry, K-12 teachers, and higher education faculty. NISE Fellows work on projects related either to NISE teams or, in some cases, to the Institute as a whole. The breadth and diversity of the NISE Fellows Program enhances the quality of discourse and extends the effects of NISE work. Selection criteria include candidates' qualifications, match with the NISE mission, significance of the proposed work, the ability to work collaboratively, and the ability to produce valuable work in a timely fashion. To date, the NISE has accepted 43 Fellow applicants (a 50 percent acceptance rate). Twelve Fellows currently work with the NISE.
Organizational Process Programs
National Institute for Science Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Last Updated: May 05, 2003