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csi3@csudh.edu | 310.243.2634

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Our mission is to find and prepare passionate teachers who are committed to improving educational opportunities for children and making a difference in our communities!

The California STEM Institute for Innovation & Improvement (CSI³) was designed to increase the number of credentialed teachers in STEM education, and to bring STEM to the forefront of K-16 education through leadership and service. We are dedicated to providing future and current CSI³ teachers with a combination of educational experience geared to prepare them for 21st century learners.  Through all of our programs, we systematically address the shortage of STEM Teachers in high-need schools in and around the Los Angeles area and across the state. CSI³ has developed innovative undergraduate, credential, and graduate programs. We are continuously forming multiple partnerships with the high-need schools and school districts as well as community colleges. We offer all of our program participants ongoing advising and financial and academic support.  Above all, we offer our participants the opportunity to make a difference where they are needed most. 

Our organization began in 2001 at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Initially, we oversaw − Transition to Teaching, STEM Teachers in Advanced Residency and Urban Teacher's Fellow − programs that assist in training STEM educators. Dr. Kamal Hamdan, a leader in STEM education, successfully directed the implementation of these programs which resulted in greatly contributing to California State University Dominguez Hills' recognition for producing the most math and science teachers in any college or university in California. In 2013, we launched the California STEM Institute for Innovation and Improvement to focus on the teacher shortage in the Los Angeles area.

To date, under the directorship of Dr. Hamdan, we have secured over $50 million in grants and partnerships, serviced over 5,500 students and teacher-candidates through our lab school, provided support in producing hundreds of teachers who have gone on to be leaders in education and secured almost a dozen federal grants. Most importantly, we are carrying out our passion to provide high-quality education to students who deserve it.


Undergraduate Options

Transfer To Success, TTS

CSUDH will create Transfer to Success (TTS) to provide transfer students, particularly Hispanic and low-income transfer students, with support services that assist them in earning a degree more quickly and moving into graduate school, a teaching credential program or career. TTS has established three goals that align with the CSUDH Strategic Plan.

Math & Science Teacher Initiative, MSTI 

A flexible undergraduate program, Math & Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) gives students the option to expand teaching opportunities with a Multiple Subject Preliminary Credential coupled with an Introductory Subject Matter Authorization (ISMA). This qualifies students to teach mathematics or science in classes where the curriculum level is ninth-grade and below. Students may also choose to pursue a Single Subject Preliminary Credential through one of our unique CSI³ credential programs. With both options, MSTI students have the opportunity to begin teaching in real-world classrooms even before they graduate with a paid Teaching Assistant position. Whichever path you choose, CSUDH’s CSI³ faculty and staff will help you select the appropriate pathway and coursework to reach your goals. MSTI is funded by the CSU Chancellor’s Office. The goal of MSTI is to expand the capacity to recruit, prepare, support, and retain highly qualified elementary, middle and high school teachers to work within the communities served by CSUDH, especially in high-need schools. MSTI is a support program which provides academic, financial, and placement support.

Women in STEM Education, WISE

The Women in STEM Education (WiSE) program was established by the Center for Innovation in STEM Education (CISE) at California State University, Dominguez Hills.  It is designed to inspire future generations of women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), by providing them with the necessary tools to retain their interest such as field trips to STEM-related organizations, STEM professionals, and role models to guide them.

Stem Scholars

The Hispanic Serving Institute - STEM Scholars project is a partnership between CSUDH and El Camino, West L.A. and L.A. Harbor community colleges to improve students services, academic, and financial support for Hispanic and low-income STEM majors. The purpose is to increase student academic achievement in STEM and retention in college, and to decrease the time it takes students to earn a degree. STEM Scholars has recruited 220 total incoming freshmen, transfer juniors and CSUDH juniors to participate, as well as Second Chance students who were STEM majors but left CSUDH and are no longer enrolled in higher education.

Noyce Scholars Program, NSP

The Noyce Scholars Program (NSP) is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Its purpose is to increase the number of highly qualified math/science teachers in hard-to-staff schools and to increase diversity in the math & science majors. This is a grant that will provide up to 10,000 per year to eligible upper division math or science majors enrolled in CSU Dominguez Hills. It will also monitor students to enable them to focus on their studies, maintain their grades, stay in school, complete their degree on time, and become successful math/science teachers. Candidates emerge from the Noyce Scholars Program with hands-on experience in a paid Teaching Assistant position under the guidance of teacher mentors. They also have the unique opportunity to transition to a CSI³ credential program upon completion of Noyce. CSI³ credential programs offer multiple options where student may earn a preliminary teaching credential in just one year or earn a preliminary teaching credential and Master’s degree in 15 months.

Post Baccalaureate Options

Accelerated Preparation Program for Leaders in Education, APPLE

The Accelerated Preparation Program for Leaders in Education (APPLE) is a partnership better  LAUSD - Local District South and Local District East to recruit, train, prepare, place and retain highly qualified elementary teachers who demonstrate math or science content knowledge. This program is ideal for recent college graduates and mid-career professionals or paraprofessionals with some background in mathematics or science (but no teaching experience). Through APPLE, participants will teach full-time as interns (earning full salary and benefits) while completing their preliminary teaching credential. APPLE features an accelerated curriculum (credential in one year!), substantial support and an innovative induction program for new teachers. APPLE teachers will also earn a supplementary authorization or a single subject foundational credential in math or science to teach grades 7-8.  APPLE will promote equity in education by preparing highly qualified new teachers and increasing STEM teaching skills for educators in partner schools.

Residency for Equity through Action and Learning, REAL

The REAL Project will recruit, prepare, place and retain highly qualified math, science, and English teachers to meet critical staffing needs in Green Dot CA’s high-need middle and high schools. This program is ideal for recent college graduates and mid-career professionals or paraprofessionals with a background in math, english and science (but no teaching experience).The project encompasses the core components of the model residency programs and builds on the success of CSUDH’s STAR residency program. CSUDH’s unique demographics will enable REAL to produce home-grown teachers from the neighborhoods where they will teach.  Highly qualified REAL teachers will increase student achievement in math, science and English.  

REAL features a year-long residency, integrated curriculum, extensive clinical practice, substantial support and an innovative induction program for new teachers. Novel aspects include lab schools, new supervision model, CSUDH induction program, and optional micro-credentials, including one in computer science, that will improve teachers’ skills and be widely available to L.A. County teachers after the grant. 

Specialized Option

Teacher Support Institute, TSI

Our Teacher Support Institute supports CSI3 interns and residents from our credential programs. These teacher candidates come to TSI with a wide range of needs. These needs include lesson planning, classroom management ideas, university coursework, making sense of data, and other first-year teacher needs. Our TSI Leads are experts in their subject areas and are ready to help. Another way that our Lead teachers share their expertise is by offering customized Professional Development during the TSI sessions.

Super NGSS Training

Our team of experts specifically designed this intensive training for eligible participants to introduce a framework for implementing the
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) with the use of innovative technology. Through this training, teachers will become well versed in
NGSS will be able to implement NGSS based curricula and will serve as NGSS teacher leaders at their school site and district. Teachers will also qualify for a beginner certificate in fabrication technology, acquiring expertise in 3D printing and vinyl cutting.

STEM Lab School

To truly embrace the immersive approach of “learning by doing” CSI³ developed the STEM Lab School. The STEM Lab School is an innovative, 4-week clinical experience that leverages the common goals of our local districts, and teacher preparation by serving as a training ground for teacher candidates and providing local students with a summer STEM program. Since its creation, every CSI³ Teacher Candidate immediately begins to learn the art of teaching by planning and executing a Project-Based Unit of instruction at a local school, under the guidance of Lead Teacher, who is trained in best practices, has experience in a STEM subject matter, and is committed to mentoring aspiring teachers. We are proud to report that since the establishment of the STEM Lab School, in 2012, CSI³ has integrated the MFL Project and its array fabrication technology. In 2018, the MFL was integrated into the STEM Lab School model and piloted at Annalee Avenue Elementary, White Middle School and Gardena High School. The STEM Lab School, its administrators, experienced teachers, and teacher candidates have served over 7,670 elementary, middle, and high school LAUSD students since its founding. CSI³ and the STEM Lab School model has prepared over 350 Science, Math, English, Multiple Subject, and Special Education Teachers in partnership with LAUSD.


Because schools are struggling to develop authentic STEM curriculum that truly integrates Engineering and Technology, the Next Generation Science Standards, and the Common Core Standards, CISE/CSI³ STEM Experts, in unison with the MFL project, has developed STEAM Weeks that are designed to get students excited about STEAM while immersing them in project-based unit of instruction that authentically represents the fast-growing STEAM sector and its professions.  With the capabilities of the MFL, our team of experts is able to take technology to schools and provide a condensed STEAM Week, that like the STEM Lab School, provides students with an interdisciplinary, project-based experience, while serving as a model for participating teachers to adopt. STEAM Week has allowed us to bring exciting curricula, 3D printers, Vinyl, and Laser Cutters to schools so that students, teachers, and parents can begin experiencing sophisticated fabrication technology and software in their classrooms. Piloted with LAUSD during the Winter of 2018 with Judith Baca Learning Center, Graham Elementary STEAM Academy, and Moore Elementary, we are excited to report that STEAM Weeks have taken place at Wilmington Middle School, Gage Middle School, Los Angeles MESA Elementary, and Dominguez Elementary, and for a second time, at Graham Elementary STEAM Academy and Moore Academy since it’s pilot. Over 1,650 LAUSD students have participated in STEAM Weeks that have taken place at LAUSD schools.