Dr. Kirtman is the Dean of the College of Education at CSU Fullerton and earned her Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley in Educational Policy and Organizational Research.
Dr. Kirtman’s career started as an elementary and middle school teacher prior to joining Cal State Fullerton in 2000. As a faculty member, she primarily taught math methods and research methods. Before becoming Dean, she served the College of Education as the Associate Dean, Chair for the Department of Elementary and Bilingual Education and acting Chair the Department of Reading (now the Department of Literacy and Reading). Dr. Kirtman has served and continues to serve on committees at the college, university, and statewide levels. She was the recipient of the CSUF Teachers-Scholar Award, the Outstanding Service Award, College of Education Distinguished Faculty Marshall Award, and the 2017 INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine- Giving Back Award.
1) What excites you most about STEM Education?
STEM Education can provide integration of content that aligns with real word experiences making content learning much more exciting and relevant to students. STEM Education inspires and engages students and teachers. In addition, it allows teaching and learning to occur from anywhere and everywhere. Students can experience things and places virtually and gain an understanding from a global perspective from without having to be there. This ability broadens learning opportunities for all students. I believe the impact of STEM education has the potential to be life changing for teachers and for students.
2) What are your hopes for the future of STEM Education?
On a general level, with the growth of STEM fields, my hope is that STEM education will increase student interest and ability in pursuing STEM related careers. But on a deeper level, my hope is that students who are normally underrepresented in these areas begin to see themselves as creators, scientists, engineers and mathematicians. I hope STEM education provides students with a passion for inquiry and discovery that they take with them as life-long learners. And, finally, my hope is that advancement in STEM education helps to bridge the ethnic and gender gaps currently found in STEM fields.
3) What are your current and/or past experiences with STEM Education – are there any highlights you would want people to know about the work that CSUF College of Education is doing at this time?
STEM Education is such a multi- facilitated arena that we must build partnerships for it to thrive and grow. At CSU Fullerton, the College of Education is committed to supporting faculty efforts towards advancement in STEM education through community partnerships.
Through our partnerships we have been able to establish programs that not only strengthen STEM education in our future educators, but also educators in the field and the students they serve. We provide future teachers in the community college pipeline a unique educational experience that allows them to learn about thematic-based STEM lessons and engage in experiential learning opportunities. We provide all of our teacher candidates with numerous opportunities to engage in STEM activities in and out of the classroom, and we provide on-going professional development opportunities for our partner district’s in-service teachers and administrators. And equally important is the fact that we also provide opportunities for TK-12 students to engage in STEM through in-school, afterschool and summer programs.
Thank you Dean Kirtman for sharing your thoughts and experiences with STEM education. Head over to http://ed.fullerton.edu to learn more about CSU Fullerton’s College of Education and make sure you follow Dean Kirtman on Twitter and Instagram!