Research and Innovation in STEM Education (RISE)

About the Institute

The purpose of the Research and Innovation in STEM Education Institute (RISE Institute) is to recognize, strengthen, and encourage collaboration in STEM education pedagogy through fundamental and discipline based education research (DBER), and to establish Michigan Technological University as a leader in Michigan, the nation, and the world in the area of STEM education research. The RISE Institute is aligned with the vision for Centers and Institutes on the Michigan Tech campus, which is to help to promote interdisciplinary work that involves faculty from several different departments on and off campus.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Research and Innovation in STEM Education Institute (RISE Institute) is to build the capacity and diversity in STEM disciplines through collaborative networking, scholarly pursuits, and interdisciplinary research related to innovative pedagogy and cutting-edge educational practices. Through this collaborative institute, the following initiatives will be undertaken:

  • Collaborate with the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning and Center for Leadership and Innovation for Transformation (LIFT Center) to:
    • enhance the engagement of all motivated students in transformational educational opportunities;
    • encourage training and development of educators; and
    • encourage research, assessment, and innovation in STEM education throughout the University.
  • Strengthen and enhance cross-disciplinary collaborative efforts of students, faculty, and staff at Michigan Tech doing fundamental and discipline-based education research.
  • Enhance Michigan Tech’s visibility in the STEM education research community.
  • Enhance Michigan Tech’s ability to attract external funding related to STEM education.
  • Promote improvements in K-12, undergraduate, and graduate education by providing resources and expertise in evidence-based pedagogical techniques.
  • Improve the quantity and quality of outreach activities including teacher professional development and teacher education offered through Michigan Tech.


John L. Irwin

  • Professor and Chair, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Affiliated Professor, Cognitive and Learning Sciences
  • Director, Research and Innovation in STEM Education Institute (RISE)

Research Interests

  • Problem-based learning methods applied in the areas of CAD/CAM
  • Static and dynamic model simulation
  • Product and manufacturing work cell verification

Teaching Interests

  • Parametric Modeling
  • Statics and Strength of Materials
  • Product Design and Development
  • CAE and FEA Methods
  • Computer-aided Manufacturing
  • Senior Design

Executive Committee

Lorelle A. Meadows

  • Dean of the Pavlis Honors College


  • STEM Education Research
  • Human-Centered Design
  • Service-Learning

Susan L. Amato-Henderson

  • Associate Professor of Psychology, Cognitive and Learning Sciences

Research Interests

  • Motivation Science
  • Self-Efficacy
  • Impact of Values on Behavior
  • Cognitive Dissonance
  • Individual Differences in STEM Learning