Catalyzing Institutional Transformation: Insights from the AAU STEM Initiative

A new article about the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative has been published in Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. The article discusses the approach taken by AAU and identifies the cross-cutting implementation, dissemination, and institutionalization strategies from eight pilot projects and from a growing network of AAU research universities committed to improving undergraduate STEM teaching and learning. What AAU has learned from the Initiative can help us understand the process of systemic institution-wide educational reform, with emphasis on change being at the department level.
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

A Call to Reform Undergraduate Education

Delivering on educational quality and completion is a must — not only for institutions but the country. This report proposes a collective, national approach to achieving educational quality. Specifically, the report urges a three-part “national strategy” ensuring that students have high-quality learning experiences, that institutions increase their overall completion rates and reduce inequities among student groups, and that college costs are controlled. – Inside Higher Ed

Direct link to full report
Major study by American Academy of Arts and Sciences seeks change in curriculum and assessment, commitment to funding public higher education, new ideas about the faculty role, and more.

Learning to Learn: Collaborative Learning Spaces

Compelled by research providing evidence that active engagement and collaboration improve student learning, many University of Arizona faculty members are redesigning their courses to move away from traditional lectures and toward more student-centered active learning in the classroom. To facilitate evidence-based collaborative active learning strategies, the University of Arizona has begun overhauling spaces across campus – big and small – to create environments that foster interaction, hands-on activities and small group exploration of the topics at hand.


The Importance of Empathy in the Classroom

Teaching Physics with Love – To be successful, faculty members must go beyond teaching the material, writes Matthew J. Wright. We must care deeply about students and show it.

I frequently tell my students outright, “I love you.” Although every time I write it down on paper it doesn’t sound right, I’ve found that the more I outwardly care about my students, the more successful I am as an instructor. So I tell my class how much I love them — out loud and often. My students just smile back.


An Analysis of College Teaching Practices

While decades of research on college teaching has investigated several forms of classroom practices, much of this research approaches teaching as falling into mutually exclusive paradigms (e.g., active learning vs. lecturing). This paper enters inside the college classroom using external raters to understand patterns of pedagogical practices embedded in heterogeneous groups of courses. The study used quantitative observation and draws on data from a multi-institutional study of 587 courses across nine institutions to understand the patterns of teaching practices within courses. Latent class analyses demonstrated that there were five patterns of seven course practices that cluster around active learning, lecturing, and cognitively responsive practices: Comprehensive, Traditional Lecture, Active Lecture, Integrative Discussion, and Active Only.


Why Flipped Learning is Still Going Strong 10 Years Later

Ten years ago two Colorado chemistry teachers unleashed a brash concept on a K-12 landscape where few questioned the age-old formula of lecture, homework, assess, repeat. It was the early days of YouTube (then two-years old), and it was getting cheap and easy to make and post videos, so the two teachers—Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams—proposed shifting lectures to videos students would watch at home, and asking students to come to class prepared to problem solve with their peers. It became know as the flipped classroom—a modern, video-based version of a model pioneered by a handful of higher ed professors during the 1990s.


Revamping the Chemistry Curriculum

Emory’s chemistry department is on its way to a new curriculum. Previously, students took two semesters of general chemistry and two semesters of organic chemistry as the basis for their major. Now, as part of a sweeping curriculum reform, those classes have been replaced with what the department hopes will be a more interdisciplinary and holistic approach.