The Association of American Universities (AAU) Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative (2013-2017) aimed to increase the number of faculty, courses, and departments utilizing active and evidence-based teaching and learning strategies, and transform the culture around teaching and learning in STEM at Washington University.

Washington University’s AAU initiative had three main pillars:

  • Promoting a multi-strategy approach for faculty implementing active and evidence-based teaching and learning strategies.
  • Developing new faculty professional development events and programs.
  • Promoting university cultural change toward the use of active and evidence-based teaching and learning strategies.

Additionally, CIRCLE worked with the many of the faculty to evaluate their active and evidence-based teaching innovations. Findings from these studies have further informed the faculty as to the effectiveness of their teaching. Most have continued refining their teaching innovations and many have continued to make course changes after the conclusion of the initiative.

By the end of the four-year grant period, 14 departments/programs, 71 course sections, and 50 faculty had implemented active learning and/or evidence-based teaching and learning strategies in their courses. The scope of the project expanded outside of STEM departments, as faculty from a few non-STEM departments became aware of initiative programming and wanted to take part.

The success of the initiative prompted the development of the Transformational Initiative for Education in STEM (TIES) program, which aims to continue many of the AAU initiative’s objectives, but with a modified approach. Specifically, in the TIES program, whole departments are the focus, and each TIES department has a dedicated CIRCLE staff member(s) to facilitate the use of evidence-based teaching and learning strategies. This work has also continued through the HHMI Inclusive Excellence grant, with a focus on incorporating inclusive strategies in these courses