Jul 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Science Education

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The Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Program is a visionary and practical program designed to enrich the training and education of K-12 pre-service and in-service teachers and, through them, their students. From a collaboration of the disciplines of education, chemistry, geology, biology, physics/astronomy, mathematics, and computer science, the Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Program (SMATE) offers an opportunity for teachers and future teachers to gain specific skills and broaden talents within their chosen discipline.

The General Science major is offered at two levels: Elementary for students intending to teach grades K-8 and Middle School for students intending to teach science in grades 4-9. SMATE also supports endorsements in science at the secondary level with secondary science teaching coursework, in combination with science major coursework. Students planning to be teachers with a science specialization at the elementary or middle school levels should consult with the director of science education regarding the General Science major. Students planning to be secondary science teachers should consult science education advisors in the appropriate department (see list below).

For further information and advisement, consult with an advisor or the director of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, Dr. Emily Borda, phone 360-650-3637, Science, Math and Technology Education Building, SL 250D, e-mail Emily.Borda@wwu.edu or Lori Torres, Program Manager, SL 220, phone 360.660.7605, e-mail Lori.Torres@wwu.edu.


EMILY BORDA (2005) SMATE Director and Professor, chemistry and SMATE. BS-Chemistry, Gonzaga University; MEd-Educational Leadership and Policy, MS, PhD-Chemistry, University of Washington.
ALEJANDRO ACEVEDO-GUTIÉRREZ (2002) Professor, biology and SMATE. BSc, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur, Mexico; PhD, Texas A&M University.
DONALD BURGESS (2004) Professor, secondary education and SMATE. MS Education-Biology, State University of New York, Cortland, PhD, University of British Columbia.
ROBYN DAHL (2016) Assistant Professor, geology and SMATE. BA, Oberlin College; MS University of California Riverside; PhD, University of California Riverside.
SUSAN M. DEBARI (1998) Professor, geology and SMATE. BA, Cornell University; PhD, Stanford University.
DEBORAH A. DONOVAN (1998) Professor, biology and SMATE. BSc, MSc, University of California-Davis; PhD, University of British Columbia.
HANXIANG DU (2023) Assistant Professor, computer science and SMATE.BA Chinese Language and Literature, Sun Yat-Sen University, MA, Literary Theory, Sun Yat-Sen University, Master Study in Computer Science, Texas Tech University, PhD Educational Technology, University of Florida 
DEBORAH L. HANUSCIN (2017) Professor, elementary education and SMATE. BS, Florida State University, MS, Indiana University, PhD, Indiana University.
CAROLINE HARDIN (2019) Assistant Professor, computer science and SMATE. BS, MS and PhD Computer Science Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
TRA HUYNH (2023) Assistant Professor, physics and SMATE. BA Secondary Physics, Ho Chi Minh City University of Pedagogy, PhD, Kansas State University
THANH K. LE (2017) Assistant Professor, physics and SMATE. BA, MA Education, University of California Berkeley, PhD, University of Maine.
NORDA STEPHENSON (2020) Assistant Professor. BSc, MEd, PhD, University of the West Indies.

Science, Math, and Technology Education (SMATE) Mission

Our vision is to be a national model for effective recruitment and preparation of future elementary and secondary teachers. The mission of SMATE is to improve teaching and learning of science, mathematics, engineering, and computer science by all and for all. We accomplish this through teaching, research, professional development, and partnerships with people and communities in the university, the state, the region and throughout the world. Ultimately, we expect to see the results of our work in the healthy and socially just communities around us. 

Our work is guided by the following values and beliefs:

  • Everyone can learn and should be provided the opportunity to learn science, technology and computer science, engineering, and mathematics.
  • Literacy in these STEM disciplines can contribute to addressing our society’s most challenging needs, problems, and questions.
  • STEM disciplines are human endeavors and must be critically examined through the lens of the human contexts that shape them.
  • Equitable and inclusive classrooms that leverage the diverse experiences, perspectives, and cultural assets of all members are essential for learning.
  • Collaboration within and across disciplines helps us learn and builds our capacity to meet the needs of our students and our broader society.

Other Departmental Information

Facilities and Resources

Pivotal to this program is a facility designed to accommodate this academic vision. The 19,000 square foot facility contains our state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories, one each specifically tailored to elementary and secondary education. They surround a Learning Resource Center with more than 15,000 books on standards, assessment, curriculum and activities. It also contains collections of classic and current materials, laboratory resources, educational technology, and expertise that students, faculty, the local community and teachers from around the state can draw upon either on site or in the schools. In both its approach and facilities, the SMATE Program is a national model for teacher training in undergraduate mathematics, science and technology education. Additionally, the SMATE faculty are engaged in a number of research projects that connect the preservice program to the K-12 schools and offer students the opportunity to gain unique research and field experiences. Numerous scholarships are available each year for future teachers of science.

To find out more about the Irwin L. Slesnick STEM Education Resource Center and SMATE facilities, contact Blanche Bybee, SMATE Facility Manager, at 360-650-3647, by e-mail at Blanche.Bybee@wwu.edu, visit the website, www.smate.wwu.edu/smate/, or stop by the Science, Math and Technology Education Building, Science Lecture 220.


    Undergraduate MajorGraduate


      Science Education

      Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400, 500 are described in the University Academic Policies  section of this catalog.

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