Scholarship

Improving STEM Education

Synopsis

The overarching goal of our STEM education initiatives is to transform the teaching and learning culture in STEM at Washington University so that evidence-based approaches, such as active-learning pedagogies and inclusive teaching, are incorporated into all of our STEM courses.

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Denise Leonard Headshot

Denise Leonard

Associate Director, Educational Development

(314) 935-6142

dleonard23@wustl.edu

Overview

The Center for Teaching and Learning is working with departments and faculty to create a culture of scholarly teaching by furthering ongoing discussions about teaching and learning across the STEM disciplines. Indeed, one of the most exciting aspects of the initiative is its emphasis on learning communities composed of faculty who come together within and across departments to study and discuss approaches to teaching.

Evaluation is integral to the refinement and improvement of our work in each of these three areas. More specifically, the evaluation of the STEM education initiative programs aims to produce new knowledge about which common elements of various evidence-based approaches are correlated with increased student learning, engagement, and persistence in STEM majors.

We are partnering with research scientists in the Center for Integrative Research on Cognition, Learning, and Education (CIRCLE) to explore these questions. We also are investigating which faculty-development programs are most effective in supporting faculty as they design, implement, and assess active-learning approaches in their courses. This knowledge will contribute to a broader conversation that is advancing STEM education beyond Washington University’s classrooms.

References
  • Cahill, M. J., Hynes, K. M., Trousil, R., Brooks, L. A., McDaniel, M. A., Repice, M., Zhao, J., & Frey, R.F. (2014). Multiyear, multi-instructor evaluation of a large-class interactive-engagement curriculum. Physical Review Special Topics – Physics Education Research, 10(2), 020101. Accessible online here.
  • Dweck. C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. NY: Ballantine.
  • Fisher, B. A. and R. F. Frey. (2011). Adapting a laboratory-Research Group Model to Foster the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. To Improve the Academy: Resources for faculty, instructional, and organizational development, 30, 99-111.
  • Fisher, B.A., Dufault, C.L., Repice, M.D., & Frey, R.F. (2013). Fostering a growth mind-set: Integrating research on teaching and learning and the practice of teaching. To Improve the Academy: Resources for faculty, instructional, and organizational development, 32, 39-56.
  • Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (n.d.). (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition. Retrieved from http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/05/08/1319030111.full.pdf+html
  • Prince, M. (2004). Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of Engineering Education, 93, 223-232.