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

2016 Summer Support Initiative (SSI)

Dr. Julie Sexton and Molly Jameson received a $6,000 award to fund their project entitled "The Role of Mathematics in Undergraduate Geoscience Programs"

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 Summer 2016 Frontiers of Science Institute (FSI) 

Summer 2016 at FSI was memorable, to be sure.  From field trips, to the classroom, to life in a UNC residence hall, 37 student scholars from Colorado and Wyoming enjoyed the summer immersed in collegiate-level science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curricula led by a highly competent and energized summer staff consisting of three instructors and two resident advisors.


Dean Zeller, 2016 FSI instructor/UNC Lecturer in the Mathematics & Computer Science Department had this to say of his FSI experience… In all, FSI is the single most professionally gratifying class I have taught in my 20-year career.  It satisfied every requirement of my original dream of a decade ago, and had many unexpected benefits.  It was a truly grand experience; one I hope to experience again in my future. 

Dr. Julie Sexton

Dr. Sexton has received the 2016 Journal of Geoscience Education Outstanding Reviewer Award. This Award celebrates outstanding peer-review contributions by reviewers of the Journal of Geoscience Education. She will be recognized at the National Association of Geoscience Teachers luncheon at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in September and in the November 2016 issue of the Journal of Geoscience Education. The award includes a plaque and a $100. 


Assessment Mini-Grant

Dr. Lacy Cleveland received a $1500 award for her project entitled "Developing and Validating a Survey to Uncover Students' and Faculty's Perceptions of Flipped Learning.”  Dr. Nissa Yestness will assist Dr. Cleveland on this project.

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Quotation from Dr. Lacy Cleveland to be published

The quote below from Dr Lacy Cleveland will be included in the 3rd edition of Writing Successful Science Proposals at the start of chapter 4. 

I find concept papers to be extremely helpful and keep several on hand so that as RFPs come up, I can see if my ideas align with the RFP. Sometimes the nature of the beast is that I have to think outside of my primary area of interest to pursue funding.” – Dr. Lacy Cleveland, MAST Institute, University of Northern Colorado

Dr. Julie Sexton

Dr. Sexton has been invited to give the opening presentation at a technical research session at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in September. Her talk, titled "Mixed Methods Study to Investigate Sexist Experiences Encountered by Undergraduate Geoscience Students," will kick off the session titled "Methodological Decision Making in Geoscience Education Research."



Monday 10/3/2016 4-6pm

Building Diversity Awareness to Promote Student Success – A Workshop for Science Faculty

We cordially invite faculty in UNC science programs to a participate in a workshop focused on broadening participation and diversity of students majoring in science at UNC. In this two-hour session, you will consider the factors that support diversity in the sciences. You will examine institutional data regarding the current climate for diversity in science programs and learn about research showing how the social climate faculty create can support or weaken efforts to increase diversity among our students. Finally, you will develop a personal plan of action for small things you might do every day to facilitate an inclusive environment in your program and in your classes. This workshop is sponsored by InTeGrate (an NSF-funded STEP Center grant) and hosted by the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

Dinner will be provided by the Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Please RSVP to by September 28, 2016.

Location: 3265 Ross Hall
Workshop Facilitators: Julie Sexton, MAST Institute, and Cindy Shellito, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences