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MAST Institute

The Mathematics and Science Teaching (MAST) Institute, established in 1987, provides leadership and coordination for projects and programs to improve mathematics and science education, within the University, the state, and nationally.

The MAST Institute is situated in the College of Natural and Health (NHS), and collaborates with faculty from NHS's School of Biological Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Mathematical Sciences, and the Science Education Program. Faculty from the collaborating academic programs and the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences participate in Institute projects, working in partnership with K-12 educators, faculty from other higher education institutions, government agencies, and business/community representatives.

MAST Institute Affiliated Faculty

Nearly fifty UNC faculty members in the College of Natural and Health Sciences and the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences have been involved in MAST-related projects over the past twenty years. 

Growth of the Institute

Since its inception in 1987, the MAST Institute has grown by obtaining several million dollars from external funding for research, and through the pre-service and in-service training of teachers of mathematics and science of grades K-16 throughout Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. The Institute has coordinated joint efforts among the departments of the University, other Colorado Institutes of Higher Education, and numerous school districts within state and region.

MAST Institute Goals

  • Prepare tomorrow's teachers
  • Enhance today's teachers
  • Facilitate faculty development
  • Support collaborative partnerships
  • Support research and development
  • Promote science & mathematics for all

News Highlights

3rd Annual Higher Education Flipped Learning Conference

The 3rd Annual Higher Education Flipped Learning Conference is hosted by Math and Science Teaching Institute at the University of Northern Colorado in Ross Hall on June 14th and 15th, 2018. 

The conference was started by Dr. Jerry Overmyer in 2016 while serving as the Mathematics and Science Outreach Coordinator at the UNC MAST Institute.  Dr Overmyer is now an instructor with WGU.   Dr Nissa Yestness co-facilitated the HEFLC in 2016 and has been the Chair of the HEFLC Chair for the past two years. 

The conference is for individuals interested in how to use flipped learning in the higher education classrooms across all disciplines. 

Visit the Conference webpage for schedules and program information.  More information and live video may be found on the UNC Flipped Learning Conference Facebook page.

 Frontiers of Science - FSI

FSI is a six-week summer residential program for Colorado's high school sophomores and juniors to boost the STEM aspirations and achievement levels.  About FSI

FSI scholar research mentors and  instructional staff are needed from June 17 - July 28, 2018

FSI director Lori K. Ball has received many letters from FSI participants praising her work and the FSI program.

............I will be attending a 6-year medical program at the University of Missouri Kansas City come this fall! In this unique program, I will be earning my BA along with my MD in 6 years without an MCAT requirement or having to apply out to another medical school. I want to thank you so much for all of your help in providing me with a letter of recommendation for colleges—it definitely helped to strengthen my application. In interviews for several programs, including the interviews for UMKC, I drew a lot from my experiences in FSI and truly wanted to thank you for this incredible opportunity. FSI has shaped my life in so many ways—by helping significantly in my college applications, by introducing me to lifelong friends, and by providing me with skills that I will use throughout college and adulthood...........   Manasa Gadiraju (FSI 2017)

Dr. Andrew P.K. Bentley presents at NCAR

 Dr. Andrew Bentley presented his research on how misinformation spread by dissenters of climate change affects the public’s belief to the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). 

Watch Dr. Bentley present " Belief in dissenter messages vs. anthropogenic climate change acceptance: A hard lesson in climate education ".   

Flyer from NCAR

Teacher Educator Technology Competencies (TETCs)

One of the special teams that Dr. David Slykhuis is currently involved in is the Teacher Educator Technology Competencies which was developed o support the redesign of teaching in teacher education programs so that ALL teacher educators are prepared to model and integrate technology in their teaching.  Teacher candidates who receive consistent and appropriate experiences with technology throughout their teacher education programs will be more prepared to integrate technology into their own classrooms.

For more information, visit http://site.aace.org/tetc/ for the full article as well as other publications written by the team.

Contact: Dr. David Slykhuis

Dr. Jennifer Parrish

Dr. Jennifer Parrish recently presented a paper titled, “The Effectiveness of Using Explicit and Reflective Interventions in a Biology Course for Pre-service Elementary Teachers to Develop Understandings of Nature of Science and Scientific Inquiry” at the 2018 Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE)  International Conference in Baltimore, MD.  

UNC Receives $1 Million Grant for from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) for Inclusive STEM Excellence

Project Title: Improving Classroom Culture to Support Intrinsic Motivation as a Pathway to STEM Inclusive Excellence
Grant award: $1 million, September 2017-August 2022
Funding Agency: Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Researchers: Mast Institute staff, Lori Reinsvold Ph.D. (Co-Director), will work with Project Director, Susan Keenan Ph.D. (School of  Biological Sciences), and Jodie Novak Ph.D. (School of Mathematical Sciences) on this new project that begins September 1, 2017.
Of note: Over multiple stages of peer-review by scientists and science educators, HHMI identified 24 schools out of 511 that applied for Inclusive Excellence 2017 awards.

See the Howard Hughes Medical Institute or the UNC News site for more information

UNC Awarded $2.2 Million to Help Recruit, Retain Teachers in Rural School Districts, December, 2016

The Colorado Department of Higher Education has awarded the University of Northern Colorado a $2.2 million grant that will be used over the next five years to help address teacher shortages in Colorado's rural school districts.

The Rural Educator Recruitment and Retention grant will fund the establishment and operation of the Center for Rural Education, which will be led by faculty from UNC's School of Special Education, School of Biological Sciences, and the MAST Institute. Dr. Harvey Rude (Special Education) serves as PI and Director of this center, and Dr. Rob Reinsvold (Biological Sciences) and Dr. Lori Reinsvold (MAST Institute) as Co-Directors. The center will focus on recruiting and retaining Colorado rural educators in high-need areas of science, mathematics, special education and cultural/linguistic diversity. For more information, contact Lori Reinsvold 

Calendar of Events

 June 17 - July 28, 2018

 Frontiers of Science - FSI

Founded in 1959, FSI is a six-week summer residential program designed to boost the STEM aspiration and achievement levels of Colorado's current high school sophomores and juniors.

Contact: Lori Ball at (970) 351-2976 for more information