Parameters for image-map-2:{}
University of New Haven logo

IRCs: Academic Year 2011-12

The first three clusters described below are focused on the areas of STEM Education, Education Research and Sustainable Communities; other clusters are anticipated as UNH gains experience with this construct and as faculty of like interests come forward to utilize the opportunities available. The scope of their activities and the areas of research interest are deliberately flexible. It is expected that they will evolve rapidly to reflect the scholarly interests of the individuals who join the clusters. Anyone interested in joining a research cluster should contact the faculty convener(s) noted below. Information on adding clusters will be forthcoming later.

Research clusters will conduct a range of activities such as: discussing literature, best practices, and current issues; exploring areas of overlap between the academic interests of individual faculty; hosting talks and presentations by members and guests; promoting faculty involvement with external professional organizations, funding agencies, and publishers; and promoting collaboration on grant applications, research, and publications. The research clusters will meet at least once a month during the academic year.

The participating faculty members will be responsible for directing the activities of the cluster to address their academic interests. The following cluster topics have been identified as areas of existing research activity, and faculty working in the main topic areas have identified the preliminary scopes of interest described below.

RESEARCH CLUSTER - STEM Education. Scope of Interests:

Broad perspective of STEM Education from pre-K to continuing education, mid-career retooling, and employment issues. The cluster will promote collaboration across age and content specializations.

Misperceptions and missing preparation. The cluster will study technical deficits as precursors for student failure and communication of these between age-based specialists.

Goals for STEM Education: science literacy, expert knowledge, philosophical understanding, job preparedness, career flexibility, national security. The cluster will share their ideas on what motivates individuals in STEM Education.

Contemporary Issues: globalization of the STEM workforce, gender, retention, on-line STEM education, employment trends, changing curriculum standards. The cluster will share ideas to maintain currency with issues in STEM Education.

Broad Issues: philosophies of Science, Engineering, and Math, brain science, learning, language and communication. The cluster will share ideas that provide intellectual context for the content areas to deepen our knowledge of our disciplines.

Teaching Techniques: Socratic variants, constructivist and described knowledge, hands-on, mentoring, coaching, tutoring, theoretical, lecture, homework, labs, report writing. The cluster will share knowledge and research findings on teaching techniques.

Practical applications: promoting best practices in STEM teaching at UNH, the UNH Magnet School, and education of PK-12 teachers. The cluster will apply its knowledge of best practices to promote good teaching amongst ourselves, our colleagues and in the local K-12 schools.

National STEM reform efforts and funding initiatives. The cluster will review changes in PK-16 STEM curricula and state, national, and international standards. Members will be encouraged to be active in external STEM curricula and standards organizations.

RESEARCH CLUSTER - Education Research. Scope of Interests:

Accountability and Assessment. The cluster will maintain currency with best practices for assessment in Education.

Literacy – early, visual, critical, media, boys’. The cluster will maintain currency with the best knowledge of all types of literacy.

New teacher retention and development. The cluster will assess contemporary issues in teacher retention and development and will explore ways that UNH can be pro-active in supporting new and in-service teachers.

Relationships between societal gender equity and schooling (K-12 as well as higher ed). The cluster will maintain currency and sustain a research program in gender equality.

STEM schools and curricula. The cluster will collaborate with the STEM Education cluster to promote knowledge of curricula developments in STEM subjects and promote involvement in external STEM curricula and standards organizations.

Nature of Science. The cluster will study the roles that the nature of science plays in our US Education system, such as in the concept of “science literacy,” and as it is perceived by engineers and by scientists.

The initial meeting will combine the STEM Education and Education Research clusters. For more information contact the Research Cluster conveners: Matthew Griffiths, Physics; Nancy Niemi, Education; or Jean Nocito-Gobel, Engineering

On Friday, December 9th, the inaugural joint meeting of the Interdisciplinary Research Clusters (IRCs) on STEM Research and Education Research will be held in the TCoE Dean’s Conference Room (B329C) from 8:30-10:00 AM. The preliminary agenda includes questions of structure (joint or separate IRCs for STEM and Education Research), discussion of possible scopes of activities and academic topics, and planning the schedule for Spring 2012. All faculty with an interest in these topics are invited to attend. Please bring your ideas to help make the IRCs valuable and interesting.

Preliminary agenda Minutes


Meeting: February 9; 12:15-1:30

Preliminary agenda Minutes


Meeting: Thursday, March 8; 12:15-1:30; Maxcy 309 (Arts & Sciences Lounge)

Preliminary agenda

RESEARCH CLUSTER - Sustainable Communities. Scope of Interests:

The Sustainability cluster will bring together faculty from diverse disciplines across campus to collaborate on research, scholarly activities, innovative projects, curriculum development, outreach activities, or other activities related to the theories, philosophies, principles and practices of Sustainability (broadly defined). The specific activities of the cluster will be determined by its members, but will include forming goals for each year, hosting events, and identifying opportunities to work together. Topics of interest will also be determined by cluster participants, but some possible areas may include environmental law, environmental science, global sustainability and education, corporate social responsibility, sustainability metrics and indicators, environmental economics, energy technologies, energy efficiency, alternative energy, design, green chemistry and materials, green architecture and planning, sustainable food and supply chains, philosophy, literature, history, artistic, cultural considerations, and the social aspects of sustainability.

For more information contact the Research Cluster conveners: Jeff Debies-Carl, Sociology; or Amy Thompson, Engineering.


The first meeting of the Sustainability cluster will be held on Tuesday, December 13, 5:00-6:00 PM in Buckman Hall B225.



Meeting: Tuesday, March 6; 12:15-1:30; TCoE B225

Preliminary agenda