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About Us

CEMS seeks not only to improve the recruitment, retention and graduation of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics majors, but also to raise the awareness of all students of the roles science and technology play in addressing global problems. CEMS’ focus on all students is driven by the belief that STEM understanding is necessary to participate in an increasingly science- and technology-driven world.


Founding Vision, Mission, and Goals:

  • Vision: To foster inclusive excellence and achievement in STEM related courses, making URI a model for effectively attracting and preparing students for success in a 21st century workforce and society.
  • Mission: To engage a diverse array of learners and teachers in responsive, learner-centered experiences which emphasize collaboration; develop creative, critical and analytical thinking skills; and enhance the overall quality of learning in STEM courses.


Goals In Progress:

  1. Increase the number of students in the early stages of their college career to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
  2. Increase a diverse spectrum of students in STEM disciplines, especially underrepresented and non-traditional populations.
  3. Engage faculty in developing pedagogical innovations such as those that enhance student interaction, spark curiosity and engage critical thinking, questioning, and problem solving inside and outside of the classroom.
  4. Provide opportunities for STEM students to develop scientific, mathematical, computational, and technological literacy enabling to think critically and preparing them for a lifetime of civic, professional and intellectual engagement.
  5. Use innovative programming methodologies and funding strategies to generate a lasting impact on the education in mathematics, computing, engineering, and science across the RI K-16 spectrum.


Learn more about CEMS classes that fit these goals


Gateway to Completion

CEMS members (Dr. Cynthia Brittain, Dr. Jessica Libertini) attended the Conference on Excellence in Gateway Course Completion to explore the value of URI participating in the Gateway Course Completion, a new initiative from the John Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. Consulting with Dean Jayne Richmond of University College, we helped to successfully apply for the pilot program. URI has been accepted as a site and CEMS will be working closely with the Institute staff and URI faculty.


Student Support

  • Academic Enhancement Center (AEC)

CEMS funded the expansion of supplemental instruction and walk-in center tutoring programs. The extra funding allowed AEC to hire additional undergraduate staff which led to extended student support services in high risk STEM gateway courses. CEMS also provided the funds for AEC to add a yearlong, ten-hour per week graduate position which improved AEC’s capacity for supplemental staff development, program management, and assessment.


School and University Partnerships

  • University College

CEMS has been reaching out to departments and offices across campus to develop interdisciplinary partnerships that benefit the students at URI. One such relationship is with Dean Jayne Richmond and University College (UC). CEMS and Dean Richmond discussed and advocated for the Gateway Course Completion, a new initiative from the John Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. CEMS also works with UC through the Academic Enhancement Center.

  • Office of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement (ELCE)

As part of the proposal for the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, CEMS collaborated with The Office of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement at URI to identify potential summer internship sites for the Noyce Scholars. Our partnership lead to letters of commitment from: The Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Boys and Girls Club of Providence, The Center for Dynamic Learning, Museum of Natural History at Roger Williams Park, Norman Bird Sanctuary, Providence Children’s Museum, and Save the Bay Center.

  • Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO)

CEMS and Graduate School of Oceanography are collaborating on a proposal to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). The proposed program will promote STEM through introductory courses that provide research experiences in an online environment. A course model that may be adapted to different observation and analysis technologies and disciplines will be developed.

  • South Kingstown School District

CEMS is developing a collaborative program between the South Kingstown School District and the University of Rhode Island to provide SKHS students with authentic science experiences. The program will place SKHS juniors into research labs at URI. Each experience or internship will be unique and specific to the interests of faculty and students. By engaging in research, students will gain an understanding of the discipline, responsibility, and excitement of first-hand knowledge. The pilot program is scheduled to being in Fall 2013 with students entering labs during the Spring 2014 and continuing through the next academic year.


Action Items for Next Year

  • Strategic Planning
    • Complete CEMS Strategic Plan with revised goals, objectives, strategies, and action items.
    • Organize a Student Advisory Team to provide a forum for student input and insight into CEMS initiatives.
    • Create an online web presence.
    • Finalize logo design.
  • Teaching, Learning, and Research
    • Provide resources for successful teaching of 2013-2014 CEMS courses.
    • Meet with faculty of 2012-2013 CEMS funded courses to discuss success and challenges of their innovations.
    • Use research data and interviews with faculty to prepare new Request for Proposals for gateway course innovation.
    • Project manage the Gateway to Completion initiative.
    • Provide AEC with funding to continue their supplemental instruction in STEM disciplines.
  • Partnerships
    • Continue collaboration with South Kingstown School District to bring student internships to URI research labs.
    • Provide professional development to K-12 teachers through GEMSNET.
    • Build partnership with Bridge Technical Talent and other STEM companies.
    • Continue to form mutually beneficial relationships with faculty and staff at URI.
  • Events
    • Research and identify needs and interests of faculty and staff to develop topics for CEMS Conversations @ Lunchtime
    • Organize CEMS component of the Major/Minor Fair
    • Develop, organize, and implement the Creativity Carnival
    • Organize a Conference on the Integration of the Humanities and STEM

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