Sometimes, when I am asked where I work I reply, “The AIMS Center for Math and Science Education, on the campus of Fresno Pacific University.” Pretty much a mouthful for sure, so usually I stick to the morsel sized, “The AIMS Center for Math and Science.” The first however points to a partnership between the two entities that is lively, critical, and at times hair-raising.
AIMS grew out of a project that began with Dr. Arthur Wiebe’s vision of a graduate degree in the integration of Mathematics and Science in schools. FPU, which was then a college and not a university, has grown and developed in a wide array of fields in the ensuing years. This amicable relationship between the two cousin organizations remains a bedrock for both.
I am both a professor of mathematics education for the university and a liaison between The AIMS Center and FPU. AIMS continues to support FPU students in ways they find critical. Providing scholarships to nearly 50 FPU graduate and credential students, AIMS supports the learning and teaching of science and math in the central valley as teachers work to improve their craft. FPU uses those funds and delivers, to its students, highly regarded programs in Math and STEM Education. Through the years AIMS has partnered with all the departments at FPU that are somehow related to the teaching and learning of math & science through contributions to building funds and faculty support. Having grown up on a university campus, AIMS is now taking some of that research mindset that academia provides and continuing its re-tooling into a knowledge translation center.
The ethos of an academic setting, like a university, has a great effect on those who work within it. The AIMS Center is now adding to its vision a very academic pursuit, one of coming to understand knowledge in the abstract, and make that knowledge practical. The partnership AIMS and FPU have in this regard is enriching to both, and each provides the appropriate setting, and the means for research and translation into practice. I look forward, with hope, that this continued amiability between the two entities remains a source for both to exchange ideas and resources. I wonder if other entities have it so good?