In fall 2004, UNLV initiated a Center for Mathematics and Science Education (CMSE). Conceived as a collaborative venture among faculty from the College of Sciences, the College of Education, and mathematics and science leadership personnel from the Clark County School District, the center served as a conduit for communication between the partners, with special attention paid to externally funded projects. Founding co-directors were John Farley (Professor, Department of Physics, College of Sciences) and William Speer (Professor, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, College of Education).
In 2011, the College of Engineering joined the center and the name was changed to reflect the representation of three colleges. The new structure and name change was approved by the NSHE Board of Regents effective Jan. 1, 2012. Co-Directors named in January 2012 represent each of the three colleges: Dr. John Farley continued to represent the College of Sciences, while joined by Janelle Bailey (Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching & Learning, College of Education) and Brendan O'Toole (Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering).