The Mallinson Institute for Science Education seeks to advance global scientific literacy.


The interdisciplinary Mallinson Institute for Science Education at Western Michigan University exists to advance knowledge through research to improve the teaching and learning of science, in and out of the classroom. We prepare science-focused graduate students from all over the world to be reflective and engaged scholars of science education.

History and philosophy of the Mallinson Institute for Science Education

Dr. Jackie Mallinson and Dr. George Mallinson

As an academic discipline, science education lies at the intersection between science, education, cognitive psychology, and the history, philosophy, and sociology of science. It ranges from concerns about practical teaching techniques to fundamental questions about the content and nature of science and how people learn. The courses and workshops (potential) teachers of science take with us are designed to help prepare them to think critically about why people should become scientifically literate, what science is most important to know, and how their students learn. We encourage students to become self-reflective about their own learning, in the hope it will empower them to become more independent, intentional thinkers and learners.

Graduate programs in science education were established at Western Michigan University in the early 1960s under the leadership of Dr. George G. Mallinson and other science educators. The programs have flourished and many M.A. degrees and more than 70 Ph.D. degrees have been awarded. In 2002 the Science Education program was redesigned as a degree granting institute within the College of Arts and Sciences. It became the Mallinson Institute for Science Education in honor of Professor George G. and Jacqueline Mallinson, both of whom played significant roles in launching, sustaining, and guiding the teaching, research, and public service in science education locally, nationally, and internationally. Mr. and Mrs. Mallinson provided a major monetary gift to the University to support science education graduate student research and professional activity.

The institute includes ten faculty, eight of them holding joint appointments in a science department, and one holding a joint appointment in the College of Education and Human Development. Our state-of-the-art teaching labs and research facilities are in Wood Hall, where we teach undergraduate science courses for elementary education majors and offer two graduate degree programs. Current enrollment includes 51 M.A. students, seven part-time and 26 full-time Ph.D. students, and we also have an administrative professional and a full time laboratory coordinator.

Flora available just outside our Wood Hall science teaching and learning labs.

Flora just outside our Wood Hall science teaching and learning labs.

MISE committees 

  • Assessment Committee
  • M.A. Oversight Committee
  • Ph.D. Program Policy Committee
  • Undergraduate Science Program Committee