Jim Lewis, Aaron Douglas Professor of mathematics, has been named the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s first director of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education research initiatives. He started in the role on Jan. 1.
An award-winning educator with deep experience leading teaching and learning initiatives, Lewis’ role bolsters support for Nebraska faculty engaged in STEM research, education and outreach. The position is within the Office of Research and Economic Development.
Lewis will work closely with faculty and center directors to increase extramural funding from the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies increase the number of faculty pursuing sponsored research and support their success; boost efforts to recognize top faculty through national honors and awards; build large-scale research projects and resources for STEM education and its broader impacts; and serve on The Office of Research and Economic Development’s senior leadership team.
A veteran faculty member, Lewis brings experience as a center director; principal investigator on major NSF awards, including the Math in the Middle Institute Partnership, NebraskaMATH and NebraskaNOYCE; and former mathematics department chair. In 2017, he was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society.
Lewis took a leave of absence from 2015-18 to serve as deputy assistant director — and then acting assistant director — of NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources. The directorate aims to support excellence in STEM education across the U.S. and develop the next generation of STEM professionals. He also was co-chair of the P-12 Education Interagency Working Group, which coordinated STEM instructional opportunities across federal agencies.
Lewis is an excellent addition to the research and economic development leadership team, said Bob Wilhelm, vice chancellor for research and economic development.
“Jim’s experience at the National Science Foundation and his longstanding work and reputation in the mathematics field and STEM education are significant assets for the university,” Wilhelm said. “I know he will have great impact working with our faculty and partners.”
Lewis remains director of the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education, a joint effort between the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Sciences, and Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources to improve STEM teaching and learning from pre-K-12 to collegiate levels.