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Award Abstract #1245635

Infusing Creative Thinking in STEM Education

Division Of Undergraduate Education
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Initial Amendment Date: September 16, 2013
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Latest Amendment Date: May 23, 2016
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Award Number: 1245635
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Myles G. Boylan
DUE Division Of Undergraduate Education
EHR Direct For Education and Human Resources
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Start Date: September 15, 2013
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End Date: February 28, 2017 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $192,226.00
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Investigator(s): Raphael DiLuzio rdiluzio@usm.maine.edu (Principal Investigator)
Kelly Hrenko (Co-Principal Investigator)
Jan Piribeck (Co-Principal Investigator)
Clare Congdon (Co-Principal Investigator)
Carl Blue (Former Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: University of Southern Maine
96 Falmouth St
Portland, ME 04104-9300 (207)228-8536
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TUES-Type 1 Project
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Program Reference Code(s): 9150, 9178, SMET
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Program Element Code(s): 1536, 7513


An implicit objective of most college and university programs is to develop student capacity for creativity. However, creativity itself is not typically taught or included as a topic in most undergraduate curricula or as an independent discipline. Teaching creativity is a dimension of higher education found primarily in Fine Arts and Design, and within specific areas of the Humanities, such as Creative Writing. Within STEM it is embedded in some engineering programs. This project is expanding understanding of creative thinking as a dimension of undergraduate coursework in STEM. It is creating opportunities for developing student creative thinking and increasing the effectiveness of faculty in delivering a curriculum that has been infused with exercises that reinforce creative thinking as an integral part of undergraduate STEM education at the University of Southern Maine. The major step in achieving this goal is engaging STEM faculty in workshops to introduce them to techniques for infusing creativity into courses. The principal goal is to engage faculty in STEM disciplines and to help them develop modules for incorporation into existing courses. Five day summer institutes bring together a cohort of 8 faculty members from the Departments of Applied Medical Sciences; Environmental Science; Exercise, Health and Sports Sciences; Biology; Computer Science; Mechanical Engineering, and Technology. During the workshops faculty learn strategies for how to create modules that combine creative thinking with STEM course materials. These modules will be incorporated into existing curricula. Faculty will join in a second summer institute the second year and will both develop and refine their modules and also incorporate them into one of their scheduled upper level classes for the academic year.

Intellectual Merit: Few studies for teaching creativity in the area of STEM education at the K-12 and undergraduate levels have been done. To this end, an underlying intellectual principle of the proposal is the evaluation of the impact of this approach on both faculty and students.

Broader Impacts: This project has the potential for serving as a model for incorporating creative thinking processes into education in STEM instructions.


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