Science educator leading national STEM educators association

Ellen Granger, director of FSU's Office of Science Teaching Activities.

Ellen Granger, the director of the Office of Science Teaching Activities within Florida State University’s Department of Biological Science, has been named president of the newly formed executive board of UTeach STEM Educators Association (USEA).

USEA is dedicated to addressing the ongoing need for improved teaching and learning in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“I am proud and not at all surprised that Ellen was selected as the inaugural president of the UTeach STEM Educators Association,” said Don R. Levitan, professor and chair of the Department of Biological Science. “Ellen consistently pushes herself, and the outreach activities she has developed, to the highest level. She has spearheaded our outreach activities for decades and is a prized member of our faculty.”

In her role as president of USEA, Granger will play a key role in the creation of a permanent and sustainable national network of UTeach programs and alumni. The USEA executive board will govern the association and set the direction for the newly established organization. USEA was established this spring by the UTeach Professional Association Advisory Committee under the auspices of the UTeach Institute, which is overseeing the replication and expansion of this STEM teacher preparation program.

“This is an exciting new phase in the life of the UTeach network,” Granger said. “The partnerships begun through the network have the opportunity to thrive as USEA seeks to achieve its mission.”

USEA will provide a platform for its members to sustain and disseminate continued innovation and excellence in STEM teacher preparation, according to Granger.

“In this inaugural year of the association, my goal is to lay a strong foundation for open collaboration among USEA members upon which we can together build toward our goal of excellence in STEM education and science literacy for all,” she said.

The other members of the inaugural USEA executive board are Martha Day of Western Kentucky University, serving as vice president, and members-at-large Lawrence Abraham of the University of Texas at Austin, Paige Evans of the University of Houston, Joanne Goodell of Cleveland State University, Theresa Hopkins of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Mariam Manuel of the Katy Independent School District.

The UTeach Institute was established in 2006 in response to national concerns about the quality of K-12 education in the STEM fields and growing interest in a teacher certification program started at the University of Texas at Austin in 1997. There are currently 40 UTeach programs in 19 states that have replicated the UT-Austin program.

“As one of the first 13 universities to replicate the UTeach program model, FSU has been a leader among the replication groups,” said Granger, who also co-directs FSU-Teach, Florida State’s UTeach program. “Our program faculty and master teachers have been active in helping new replication sites and in sharing our work with the entire group. We hope to continue in this role as we work to make our FSU-Teach program stronger and to build its national prominence.”