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NC-MSEN Mission

The North Carolina Mathematics and Science Education Network provides statewide leadership for the improvement of mathematics
and science teaching and learning in order to:

(1) strengthen the quality and increase the size of the teaching base in mathematics and science education and

(2) increase the pool of students who graduate from North Carolina’s high schools prepared to pursue careers that require mathematics
and science [North Carolina General Assembly, 1984 and 1986]. The NC-MSEN vision is to leverage the resources of The University
of North Carolina System, in partnership with schools and the NC Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI)
, to enrich the professional
knowledge and skills of mathematics and science teachers in every region of the state, to encourage and challenge underserved student
groups academically, and to promote mathematics and scientific literacy among all students.


NC-MSEN Major Components

The NC-MSEN is a constituent program in the UNC Center for School Leadership Development (UNC CSLD) in Chapel Hill.
It has two primary components: teacher professional development and a pre-college program.

Teacher professional development in mathematics, science, and technology is provided through ten professional development centers
that are located on UNC System campuses. A mathematics and science education research center is located on the campus of
NC State University.

The NC-MSEN Pre-College Program, located on nine UNC System campuses, provides academic enrichment classes and activities
to traditionally underserved middle and high school students. The purpose is to help broaden the pool of high school graduates who are
prepared to pursue university-level majors that lead to careers in mathematics, science, technology, engineering, and teaching.




NC-MSEN History

Happy 25th anniversary to NC-MSEN! To learn more about the past 25 years of history and major accomplishments
of NC-MSEN and Pre-College Program, please click here (in pdf format).

In 1980-81, North Carolina universities graduated only 167 mathematics teachers for 620 openings and only 218 science teachers for
310 openings. Nearly half the junior high school mathematics and science teachers, and fully one-third of the high school mathematics
and science teachers, were not properly certified for the subjects they were teaching. Business representatives advising state officials
on economic development expressed their concern that inadequate education in science and mathematics was hampering the state's
efforts to modernize and expand its economy. In response, efforts began on many state university campuses to bolster the education
and re-education of mathematics and science teachers. It is a bit unfair to identify single events or individuals as "the" start of the
Network. However, the record indicates that initiatives on two campuses, UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Charlotte, started the chain
of actions leading to the establishment of the UNC Mathematics and Science Education Network.

UNC Chapel Hill

In Chapel Hill, Chancellor Christopher Fordham was already known as a statewide leader in public service for his work on the
Area Health Education Centers Network. In 1981, he established a local center for mathematics and science education which began
offering summer workshops for middle school teachers. In the fall of 1982, he asked his faculty to prepare a plan for a network of centers.
Submitted on December 10, 1982, the plan called for four centers, offering two programs: a 16-semester-hour curriculum for middle
school teachers and a 36-semester-hour program for high school teachers. Representatives of the UNC General Administration helped
in the preparation of this proposal.

UNC Charlotte

Meanwhile, at UNC-Charlotte, an interdisciplinary faculty committee was hard at work on science and mathematics education initiatives,
supported by Dean Sherman Burson of Arts and Sciences and Chancellor E. K. Fretwell. Under the committee's guidance,
UNC-Charlotte hired a coordinator to work with school systems as well as the Discovery Place museum and began an active program
of workshops for teachers.

UNC President Friday Approves Network Formation

By the spring of 1983, discussions were underway at UNC General Administration (GA) concerning possible state and GA support for
these two initiatives. In May, GA staff and faculty from several campuses completed a plan for a "Network of Mathematics and Science
Education Centers" to be developed over a five-year period. The plan was very similar to the one submitted to Chancellor Fordham, but
it had been expanded to provide for pilot centers at UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC Charlotte and the phase-in of five additional centers at
sites not yet identified. UNC President William Friday accepted the plan and announced the formation of the Network on August 1, 1983.
President Friday assigned $160,000 in GA resources for the first year and directed that the network's "coordination unit" be established at
UNC Chapel Hill. Work began immediately, and Chancellor Fordham named Mathematics Professor William W. Smith as Interim
Coordinator of Network operations.

State Legislature Authorizes Permanent Funding

While the pilot centers continued their offerings in 1983-84, meetings were held to frame a proposal to the legislature to establish MSEN
on a permanent basis and to secure public support for the proposal. In July of 1984, the NC state legislature authorized and funded MSEN,
not on a phased-in basis but all at once, following a key endorsement from the Governor Huntís Commission on Education for Economic
Growth. On July 12, 1984, UNC General Administration established the Network more or less as we know it today, with eight teacher
education centers on four-year campuses across the state, a research and development unit at North Carolina State University (NCSU),
and a liaison center at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. By fall, Dr. Vinetta Jones was on the job as the first MSEN
coordinator; and by the winter, centers were up and running at all ten sites.

Pre-College Program

With teacher education projects well underway, the Network embarked in 1985-86, on its second major effort, the MSEN Pre-College
Program, designed to increase the number of minorities and females who have sufficient interest and preparation to pursue mathematics and
science fields at the university level and beyond. Two grants, from the Carnegie Foundation and the National Action Council for Minorities
in Engineering, launched this effort and encouraged the 1986 legislature to provide new funds to MSEN, establishing Pre-College offices at
the following four sites: Elizabeth City State University (ECSU), NCSU, UNC-Greensboro, and UNC-Charlotte. The established pattern in
which private funding led to public support similarly expanded the Pre-College Program to UNC-Chapel Hill in 1988, follwing a grant from
the Carnegie Foundation. In 1989, Fayetteville State University (FSU) received a similar grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. The
legislature provided permanent funding for these two sites in 1992.

Building Partnerships

The UNC Mathematics and Science Education Network is proud to have maintained its status as a state-assisted rather than state-supported
organization; only 30% of its current budget is comprised of state appropriations. Major efforts have been launched to encourage and sustain
the involvement of other stakeholders, and have been met with much success. In 1987-88, the National Science Foundation provided awards
to NCSU and to Western Carolina University (WCU) for teacher education projects and to the Network office in support of the Pre-College
Program. Since that time, NSF awards have repeatedly provided major funding for important initiatives. In 1988-89, the Glaxo Foundation
provided funding for a pilot teacher-leader project at all eight teacher education centers. This was followed by a three-year grant from the
US Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement and Reform of Schools and Teaching (FIRST). The Glaxo and FIRST projects
impacted education at several hundred elementary schools in all corners of North Carolina, proving the validity of the teacher-leader concept.
In the last three years, MSEN and its Centers have raised over $5 million in funds from outside sources.

During the implementation of these projects, Dr. Vinetta Jones resigned as the Network's Executive Director. UNC-Chapel Hill Vice
Provost William H. Graves served as Acting Director for the next academic year. Then in 1989, the Network's second Director,
Susan A. Friel, took the helm of MSEN.

Under the direction of Dr. Friel, the Mathematics and Science Education Network continued to launch innovative professional development
initiatives, many in accordance with reforms from the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction. One such program, Teach-Stat,
facilitates the introduction of data analysis and statistics to the elementary classroom by linking faculty from Network universities together
with school teachers to design and present new curriculum materials. When the State Board of Education required Algebra I for high school
graduation, the Network responded with an extensive series of workshop courses reaching more than 750 teachers statewide.

In the spring of 1994, the State Board approved a new science curriculum, which the Network supported with a range of courses and
workshops. The Network has sustained such professional development programs over time by offering nearly 300 activities annually and
by enrolling almost 6,000 teachers per year.

Expanding Network Horizons

In 1995, Dr. Gerry M. Madrazo, Jr., was named the Network's newest Executive Director. His leadership roles within the National
Science Teachers' Association and the National Association of Biology Teachers have greatly strengthened MSEN's national recognition.
As the facilitator of each association's statewide conference, Dr. Madrazo has increased both presenter and member participation, and
consequently provides North Carolina mathematics and science teachers with even greater numbers of professional development opportunities.
Under his direction, MSEN continues to promote collaborations among statewide and regional education organizations--the NC Council of
Teachers of Mathematics, the Eisenhower Consortium, SERVE and others--in order to broaden the impact of mathematics and science
education reform.

Also in 1996, the state of North Carolina, responding to a directive from the General Assembly, unveiled a comprehensive program to
reorganize K-12 public schools: The New ABC's for Public Education. The plan recommends that schools strengthen methods of
accountability and instruction, emphasize the basic subject areas while maintaining rigorous educational standards, and allow for maximum
control at the local school level. MSEN has responded by implementing significant directional changes to fully support the state's new
educational directive. The Network is prepared to offer North Carolina’s public schools the guidance they will need as they implement
the plan, particularly in the areas of mathematics, science and technology reform. 

The UNC-Mathematics and Science Education Network will continue in partnership with the NC Department of Public Instruction, the
UNC Council for Professional Development and others, to create a prospect of increased achievement for all North Carolina students.
As a leader in mathematics, science and technology professional development as well as education research spanning K-16, the Network
will remain at the helm of national and state education reform efforts. The UNC-Mathematics and Science Education Network is proud of
our contributions over the past decade--as we anticipate many years of further service to North Carolina public education.





Last Updated: March 5, 2013
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