IUPUI has selected a founding executive director for the STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute. Pratibha Varma-Nelson, professor of chemistry at IUPUI and executive director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, will begin her new role June 1.
The university says the institute is dedicated to the development, dissemination and promotion of STEM education programs and initiatives throughout the campus. Varma-Nelson will lead the development of those programs, along with the development of grant proposals and recruiting faculty with a STEM education focus.
"Pratibha’s vast knowledge, leadership and passion for STEM education, research and innovation make her an ideal selection for this important position," said Simon Atkinson, interim vice chancellor for research at IUPUI. "Her extensive experience will help the campus and university further one of its strategic priorities of accelerating innovation and discovery through research and creative activity and will also help us capitalize on the outstanding faculty expertise in STEM education at IUPUI."
The university says Varma-Nelson is responsible for the development of the peer-led team learning model, which introduces peer-led workshops as part of undergraduate STEM courses. In her current role with the Center for Teaching and Learning, she has led the university in the improvement in quality of grant proposes for National Science Foundation CAREER awards and the creation of the Curriculum Enhancement Grants program.
"I am truly honored to be appointed as the founding executive director of the STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute," said Varma-Nelson. "I look forward to my future collaborations with IUPUI faculty, staff and students as we push IUPUI to the forefront of STEM education research, innovation and practice."