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College of Education

Tamara Dawn Holmlund

Tamara Nelson

Tamara Dawn Holmlund

science education
vancouver campus
VUB 324
14204 NE Salmon Creek Avenue
Vancouver, WA  98686-9600


WSUV research page


Research interests

My research agenda reflects multiple questions related to the current call for STEM education and the inclusion of students typically underrepresented in STEM courses and careers. Some of the areas I explore are: 1) how various stakeholders conceptualize “STEM education”; 2) how teachers learn about, develop curriculum, and implement STEM education in both traditional and specialized STEM schools; 3) how students are engaged and supported in science and mathematics practices through project-based STEM learning opportunities; and, 4) the role of leadership in affording and constraining STEM education implementation.

My past research focused on collaborative teacher inquiry in professional learning communities, the dialogic interactions associated with teachers’ use of student learning data, and the meanings and instructional transformations teachers made as result of their collaborative work.

Holmlund also was a guest on the college’s Education Eclipse podcast.

Listen to Podcast

Teaching/professional interests

Holmlund taught secondary science and mathematics for thirteen years, before beginning her career in higher education. At WSU, Holmlund teaches courses in science education, educational technology, and research on teaching and learning.

Recent accomplishments:

  • Slavit, D. & Nelson, T.H. (2015). How changes in instruction force changes in assessment: The case of an inclusive STEM-focused school. 2015 Annual Perspectives in Mathematics Education. Reston, VA: The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
  • Slavit, D., Nelson, T. H., & Deuel, A. (2013). Teacher groups’ conceptions and uses of student-learning data. Journal of Teacher Education 64(1); 8-21.
  • Nelson, T. H., Slavit, D., & Deuel, A. (2012). Two dimensions of an inquiry stance toward student learning data. Teachers College Record 114(8), 1-42.
  • Primary investigator on a 4.5-year, Teacher Professional Continuum research grant from the National Science Foundation. The research focuses on teacher growth and systemic change resulting from teachers’ supported collaborative inquiry in professional learning communities.
  • Co-primary investigator (Co-PI) on a three-year grant funded through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the U. S. Department of Education: Partnership for Reform in Secondary Science and Mathematics (PRiSSM). This professional development project supported collaborative inquiry amongst middle and high school math and science teachers from six districts in southwest and south-central Washington.
  • Co-PI on a grant from OSPI: Improving instructions through Exemplars in Mathematics and Science (IITEMS). Supported a week-long institute for teacher leaders from across Washington State.

Educational background

  • Ph.D. Curriculum and Instruction, specialization in science education, University of Washington, 2002.
  • M.Ed. Education, specialization in natural sciences, Western Washington University, 1996.
  • B.S. Marine Studies, Evergreen State College, 1980.
Washington State University