Planting the Seeds of Computational Thinking: An Introduction to Programming Suitable for Inclusion in STEM Curricula

Hello ACM’ers,

Come and join us to learn about the current efforts and initiatives to encourage capable students to enter Computer Science without fear of Math!

Location: CS 221
Date: Friday, Sept 9
Time: 1:00-2:00 PM (Note special time)
Speaker: Eric Freudenthal


Inadequate math preparation discourages many capable students – especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups – from pursuing or succeeding in STEM academic programs. iMPaCT is a family of Media Propelled‖ courses and course enrichment activities that introduce students to Computational Thinking.‖ iMPaCT integrates exploration of math and programmed computation by engaging students in the design and modification of tiny programs that render raster graphics and simulate familiar kinematics. Through these exercises, students gain experience and confidence with foundational math concepts necessary for success in STEM studies, and an understanding of programmed computation.

In this talk, I describe iMPaCT and present early results from our formal evaluation of semester-length iMPaCT courses indicating improved academic success in concurrently and subsequently attended math courses. They also indicate changes to the nature of student engagement with problem solving using mathematics. I also describe iMPaCT-STEM, a nascent effort of computer science,mathematics, and electrical engineerng faculty to distill iMPaCT’s pedagogy into sequences of short learning activities designed to teach and reinforce a variety of mathematical and kinematic concepts that can be directly integrated into math and science courses.

More Women Entering Science Careers

We like to have girls in science and engineering. Here at UTEP, we make an effort to encourage women to pursue these degrees. The engineering department hosts a SWE (Society of Women Engineers), and the ACM adds its drop of water to the ocean by helping organize the NCWIT awards. Here is what people around the world are doing and how its helping!

Calgary Herald (Canada) (03/26/11)

The Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology (WISEST) program has helped encourage young Canadian women to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). University of Calgary professor and WISEST member Laleh Behjat believes that diversity is important in STEM fields because it leads to more innovation. In 2009, Behjat received an Imperial Oil STEM grant to find ways to promote engineering and science to females. “Our research showed a lot of girls–and boys, too–lose interest and think mathematics and science are too hard by grade four,” Behjat says. The researchers created a computer game that has applications in math and science as well as social and creative writing. Professional geophysicist Becky Cook credits the Alberta Women’s Science Network for being an “integral part of getting the word out to young women about career possibilities in science and engineering.” Margaret-Ann Armour, an honorary member of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta, was one of the 20 individuals involved in the creation of WISEST. Armour says that as a result of the WISEST program, the University of Alberta “went from about 30 percent women to 53 percent women entering first-year science and from 10 percent to about 25 percent in engineering.”

If you want to read and learn more, visit:

Postdoctoral Associate Position, MIT-SUTD Collaboration

Here is yet another postdoctoral opportunity at MIT! Think you’ve got what it takes? One way to find out!

Postdoctoral Associate Position Open

MIT-SUTD Collaboration

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The MIT-SUTD Collaboration Office is seeking to hire a Postdoctoral Associate who can assist the Collaboration Director. The MIT-SUTD Collaboration is a part of a unique initiative to help start a new university in Singapore, the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). As part of this project, MIT will be developing SUTD’s curriculum and assisting SUTD with its implementation and delivery during its initial years.  SUTD and MIT have also created a joint research center, the Singapore-MIT International Design Center, with dedicated facilities at both universities.

Reporting to Collaboration Director, the postdoctoral associate will be responsible for coordinating the creation and delivery of the overall university curriculum. As a key stakeholder within a highly collaborative team, the postdoctoral associate will have the overarching responsibility of coordinating the various stakeholders to ensure the integrity, timeliness, and excellence of the final product as well as provide critical input to the Collaboration Director on the latest thinking regarding curriculum development and instructional design in science and engineering. This is an ideal position for a postdoc with prior curriculum development and teaching experience. The postdoctoral associate should be cognizant of current thinking and trends in curriculum development and instructional design in science and engineering as well as experience in the implementation of findings from educational research into the development of curriculum and instruction in the classroom.

Position Description:

POSTDOCTORAL ASSOCIATE, MIT-Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) Collaboration, to be responsible for coordinating the creation and delivery of the overall undergraduate university curriculum for the MIT-SUTD Collaboration, a ten-year, groundbreaking agreement between the Singapore government and MIT. Will coordinate various stakeholders (faculty, TA/RAs, course production team) to ensure the integrity, timeliness, and excellence of the final product; and provide critical input to the director on the latest thinking regarding curriculum development and instructional design in science and engineering. Will report to the MIT-SUTD Collaboration’s faculty director.

REQUIREMENTS: a Ph.D. in science or engineering education or in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) discipline; experience in STEM education; curriculum development and teaching experience; an understanding of current thinking and trends in curriculum development and instructional design in science and engineering; an understanding of engineering, design, and technology; and experience in the implementation of findings from educational research into the development of curriculum and classroom instruction. Strong interpersonal and communication skills required. The appointment will be for one year with renewal expected, depending on performance and funding. Start date is flexible, but could be as early as April 2011.

In addition to applying online, applicants should send a CV, publications list, statement of research interests (1,000-3,000 words), one writing sample on a topic related to curriculum development or instructional design, and arrange that two to three letters of reference be sent to: Jon Griffith, MIT-SUTD Collaboration, 35-216, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307; or

Deadline: March 31, 2011. Review of applications will begin immediately.

Post-Doc Research Associate, STEM Education, MSU

Are you an Engineering Education Ph.D. graduate looking for a post-doc opportunity?

Here is a great opportunity from Michigan State University!

Post-Doctoral Research Associate

STEM Education

Michigan State University

Posting # 4474

The Automated Analysis of Constructed Response (AACR) Research Group ( at Michigan State University seeks two candidates to fill two one-year (with a possible second year) Research Associate positions in the field of college science / engineering teaching and learning. We are an interdisciplinary team (from Biology, Genetics, Geology, Education, Engineering, Statistics, and Linguistics) exploring computerized analysis of students’ writing in large enrollment undergraduate Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses to model students’ thinking.

We are expanding our collaborations on these projects with STEM education researchers across the country. The selected Research Associates will participate in NSF-funded research projects in collaboration with MSU faculty in the Colleges of Natural Science, Engineering, and the MSU Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL).

Applicants should have completed a doctoral degree in a natural science, engineering, or STEM education. You should have a strong commitment to undergraduate science / engineering education and interest in working with a leading group of interdisciplinary STEM educators. Successful candidates will have a mix of some set of the following skills, which will enable the Research Associates to make unique contributions to the project team: disciplinary expertise in a STEM discipline, experience publishing and presenting research findings, STEM education research, assessment of learning, computational linguistics, natural language processing, statistics/computer modeling, database management, or web site development. Excellent communication and organizational skills are required. Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply. The salary is commensurate with education and experience.

A complete application package consists of a cover letter, cv, copy of transcripts, two samples of scholarly writing and names and email addresses of three references. Review of application materials will begin April 30, 2011 and continue until the positions are filled. Position start date by August 15, 2011.

Apply online

MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. MSU is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities.

SACNAS UTEP Chapter Meeting

UTEP SACNAS Chapter will be holding a meeting this March 3rd, and everyone at Computer Science is invited!

For more information about SACNAS read the following information (from

SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to advancing Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in science. We are a national nonprofit organization of individuals and organizations interested in quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research, teaching, leadership, and policy.

SACNAS fosters the success of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists—from college students to professionals—to attain advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in science.


  1. To increase the number of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans with advanced degrees in science and the motivation to be leaders.
  2. To increase the number of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in science research, leadership, and teaching careers at all levels.
  3. To increase governmental commitment to advancing Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in science resulting in increased resources, elimination of barriers, and greater equity.


  1. Inclusive of ethnicities, cultures, and scientific disciplines
  2. Focused on having a real impact through our purpose and mission
  3. Committed to standards of excellence in science and education
  4. Fully mindful of the importance of students’ K-12 experience
  5. Devoted to full engagement of our members in our work


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