Robert Mathieu has been appointed interim director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER), UW-Madison School of Education Dean Julie Underwood announced Tuesday.
He replaces Adam Gamoran, who stepped down after nine years to accept a position as president of the William T. Grant Foundation.
Underwood said Mathieu was chosen because of his leadership abilities, his commitment to training future faculty as both researchers and teachers, and his scholarship. Mathieu will serve for one year with an option to renew for one additional year.
WCER is part of the UW-Madison School of Education and is home to nearly 100 research projects, with an annual research budget of more than $50 million.
Currently Mathieu is a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in the Department of Astronomy at UW-Madison, where his research interests include the dynamics of star clusters and star-forming regions; stellar binary populations and the formation of binary stars; and blue stragglers and other objects at the interface of stellar evolution and stellar dynamics. He is a national leader in the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, undergraduate learning.
Mathieu was educated at Princeton University (A.B. 1978) and the University of California-Berkeley (Ph.D. 1983), after which he became a Fellow of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He has received a Presidential Young Investigator award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Kellett Award and is an AAAS Fellow. He has served as President of the Board of Directors of the WIYN Observatory, and has chaired the University Committee of UW-Madison.
Mathieu has led a number of research projects at WCER, including the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), funded by the National Science Foundation. For the past 10 years, CIRTL has prepared STEM future faculty -- graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers -- to be superb teachers and leaders of national STEM higher education. CIRTL grounds teaching in the idea of teaching-as-research. From this perspective, STEM educators engage in their teaching in the same way they engage in their research — by hypothesizing, implementing, observing, analyzing, and improving. The CIRTL Network now includes 22 major universities.
Under the direction of Adam Gamoran, WCER has provided a dynamic environment where some of the country's leading scholars conduct basic and applied education research. WCER is one of the oldest, largest, and most productive university-based education research centers in the world. Founded in 1964, WCER is home to more than 400 faculty, staff, and graduate students who are engaged in more than 100 research projects spanning the full range of education research -– including STEM, English language learning and assessment, social studies and literacy, the learning sciences, education policy, school finance and human resource management, teacher professional development, and value-added modeling.