Tennessee STEM Education Research Conference

February 14 & 15, 2019

The 13th Annual Tennessee STEM Education Research Conference will be hosted February 14th & 15th at Middle Tennessee State University. This conference brings together great minds to engage in conversations about empirical studies in STEM education and their applications to practice in K-20 learning environments. The goals of this conference include to:

  • Share current research questions, methodologies, and findings within disciplinary and interdisciplinary STEM contexts
  • Facilitate discussions between researchers and educators
  • Promote local, state and national STEM education collaborations and partnerships
  • Develop improved teaching methods for STEM topics
  • Provide networking opportunities across stakeholder communities

The conference will feature keynote addresses from national leaders in STEM education research, poster and oral presentations, informal sessions to promote collaborations, and three catered meals. We encourage submissions across traditional and emerging STEM education research areas and at any educational level. Please follow the abstract submission link below for more information.

This event is hosted by the Tennessee STEM Education Center (TSEC), Tennessee Technological University the MTSU Mathematics and Science Education (MSE) Ph.D. program and the Office of Research Services.

The research conference will take place in the Student Union Building. If you are following the MTSU campus map and driving to the Student Union Building, it is best to take the Rutherford Blvd MTSU campus entrance. Drive to the first roundabout. While looking at the roundabout, the back of the Student Union Building (STU) is eleven o'clock facing you. Plan your trip to campus using the interactive map.

If you need more information about the conference, please contact TSEC or phone: 615-904-8573

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Hotel Reservations

You will need to reserve your own hotel accommodations.

Contact DoubleTree directly at 615-895-5555 and ask for the STEM Education Conference Rate.

  • Single or Double: $94.00 / night

2019 Conference Agenda

The STEM Education Research Conference will be held in the Student Union Building on MTSU's campus.

February 14, 2019

4:00 - 6:00pm       Poster session and Reception 

6:30 - 8:00pm       Dinner Banquet held in Ballroom; Keynote Speaker: Dr. Ilana Horn

February 15, 2019

8:30 - 9:00am        Continental Breakfast to be served in hall

9:00 - 10:15am      Breakout Session #1 (Rooms 201, 210, 218, 220, 221, 224)

10:15 - 10:45am    Coffee/Tea to be served in hall

10:45a - 12:00pm  Breakout Session #2 (Rooms 201, 210, 218, 221, 224)

12:00 - 1:30pm      Lunch Banquet held in Ballroom; Keynote Speaker Dr. Vicente Talanquer

1:30 - 3:30pm        Breakout Session #3 (Rooms 201, 210, 218, 221, 224)


2019 Keynote Speakers

TSEC is pleased to annouce that this year's keynote speakers will Ilana Horn of Vanderbilt University and Vicente Talanquer from University of Arizona.

hornDr. Ilana Horn, Vanderbilt University

Ilana Seidel Horn is Professor of Mathematics Education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, where her research and teaching center on ways to make authentic mathematics accessible to students, particularly those who have historically been disenfranchised by our educational system. Dr. Horn's research projects have spanned questions of in-service teachers' professional learning, pre-service education, district level instructional improvement, and students' experiences of different forms of mathematics instruction. She received her doctorate from University of California, Berekley, in 2002. She is the author of Motivated: Designing Math Classrooms Where Students Want to Join In and Strength in Numbers: Collaborative Learning in Secondary Mathematics.
For more information about Dr. Horn, click here.

"If we know so much about good math and science teaching, why is it so hard to do?"
Decades of research has demonstrated that good math and science teaching builds on children’s thinking to help them understand core disciplinary ideas and practices. Hundreds of books have been published advising teachers about how to approach instruction in this way, and yet, classrooms often fall short of these ideals. In this talk, I look at institutional, cultural, and conceptual obstacles to making high quality math and science teaching commonplace in U.S. classrooms. After considering how each of these contribute to the preservation of the status quo, I offer suggestions for re-investing in math and science education to make high quality teaching the norm.


talanquerDr. Vicente Talanquer, University of Arizona

Vicente Talanquer received his B.S. (1985), M.S. (1987), and Ph.D. (1992) in chemistry from the National University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City. He completed postdoctoral studies in the area of physical chemistry (statistical mechanics) at the University of Chicago (1992-1995). In 2015, Vicente became the first University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the UA in recognition for his sustained contributions to educational excellence and his outstanding commitment to undergraduate education. Dr. Talanquer has received a variety of teaching awards during his academic career including the Outstanding Young Professor in Physical Sciences Education Award, the Early-Career Teaching Award, the Five-Star Teaching Award, the Distinguished Achievement in Science Education Award, and more.
For more information about Dr. Talanquer, click here

"Reinventing the Foundations" 
Despite multiple calls for reform, foundational science courses at all educational levels tend to be fact-based and encyclopedic, built upon a collection of isolated topics, oriented too much towards the perceived needs of professional in the field, and focused too much on content coverage. Research in science education has shown that these types of courses do not help many students to develop meaningful understandings and connections between core concepts and ideas. Our own educational research in chemistry has revealed that many college students finishing a major in the discipline still rely on intuitive assumptions and fast and frugal heuristics to build explanations and make decisions. This presentation summarizes our research and development work to revamp a foundational chemistry course for science and engineering majors seeking to create a learning environment in which students actively grapple with central ideas, engage in the analysis of relevant phenomena, develop and evaluate models of systems of interest, and generate arguments and explanations based on evidence. In particular, we will discuss how we are using results from educational research to reconceptualize course content and sequence, instructional practices, and the assessment of student understanding.


2018 Conference Photos








Tennessee STEM Education Center

820 Fairview Ave,
Suite 102
MTSU PO Box 82
Murfreesboro, TN 37132