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News & Events

Summer 2017 News

Joel K. Abraham, Associate Director of Catalyst and Associate Professor in Biological Science, was awarded (co-PI) an NSF IUSE grant for a collaborative project entitled “Grappling with Graphs: Researching and Improving Student Graphing Skills Using An Interactive Digital Graphing Tool”. Over the next three years, Joel will be working with project PI, Stephanie M. Gardner, and co-PI Eli Meir to develop and test computer-based research and instructional tools to improve our understanding of student difficulties with common graph types used in biology instruction.

Catalyst Center Hosts Dr. Steven Pollock

Catalyst Center hosted Dr. Steven Pollock as the fall 2017 invited scholar on Friday Octover 6. Dr. Steve Pollock is a professor of physics at the University Colorado at Boulder. His PhD is in theoretical Nuclear Physics from Stanford University. He is an APS Fellow, a Pew/Carnegie teaching scholar, a University of Colorado president's teaching scholar, and the 2013 Carnegie US Professor of the year. His current research is in the field of PER (Physics Education), investigating student learning in large and small scale physics classes, and the constraints and opportunities involved in replicating "proven" curricular practice, as well as extending educational models to the upper division. 

The workshop was well attended by full time and part time faculty in many departments in CNSM. 

Barbara Gonzalez appointed to ACS Exams Institute's Board of Trustees

Barbara GonzalezBarbara GonzalezCatalyst Fellow Dr. Barbara Gonzalez has been appointed to the Board of Trustees for the American Chemical Society's Examinations InstituteThe Board of Trustees oversees all aspects of the Exams Institute. They meet at each ACS National Meeting where they receive reports from the Director and set overall policy for the Institute. Member of the Board are appointed by the Executive Committee.



Catalyst Members Attend Winter Conferences

AAPT 2013 winter meeting

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January 5-9, Catalyst Center director Michael Loverude, postdoctoral scholar Sissi Li and physics graduate student April Hankins attended the 2013 winter national meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers in New Orleans, LA. The conference provided an opportunity to interact with researchers and teachers in physics education. The CSUF researchers presented research talks and posters, met with collaborators, and discussed ongoing and future research projects. Hankins collaborated on one poster with students and faculty from Cal Poly Pomona presented a second poster on her own research titled “Do Proportional Reasoning Skills Affect Student Performance in Intro. Astronomy?” Dr. Li presented research on how physics community norms are developed and supported in an upper-division course in a talk titled “Fostering Future Members of the Physics SissiPoster2Community.” Additional research findings and context for physics major identity development were presented in a poster titled “Peer Influence on Student Physics Learning: in Class and Beyond.” Li also co-organized a session titled “Insights and Benefits from Framing a Class as a Discourse Community” which was well attended. Dr. Loverude presented findings about ways in which students make sense of entropy in a talk titled “Student Connections Between Multiplicity and Macroscopic Entropy.” Additionally, Loverude was an invited speaker in a session on physics preparation for preservice elementary teachers; his talk was titled “An Inquiry-based Course in Chemistry and Physics for Pre-service Teachers.”


TUES conference

Michael-articleMichael Loverude was one of about five hundred PIs invited to the 2013 CCLI / TUES conference hosted by the NSF and AAAS in Washington, DC, January 23 to 25, 2013. 
The NSF’s TUES program (Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM) funds research and curriculum development projects focused on undergraduate science, math, and engineering education.  Loverude and his Collaborating PI John Thompson (University of Maine) presented posters on their current grant:  “Collaborative Project:  Teaching and Learning of Thermal Physics.”


Catalyst Center Hosts Dr. Barbara Dougherty

Catalyst center hosted Dr. Barbara Dougherty as the fall 2012 invited speaker on Friday Oct 26. Dr. Dougherty is a professor in mathematics education and the Richard G. Miller Endowed Chair for Mathematics Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She met with a variety of science and math education researchers during the day and enjoyed visiting Christine Mayfield’s class “Introduction to Mathematics Instruction in the Elementary School Classroom.” She gave a seminar titled “Beyond an Answer in Mathematics: Understanding what Students Understand” which was attended by well over 60 faculty and students. The presentation was videotaped and may be viewed here.