As the AAU STEM Initiative unfolded, we recognized the value of creating a community of practice where educators can collaborate and form inter-disciplinary relationships. Bringing people together to learn and discuss evidence-based pedagogy is a crucial step to making progress as an institution in improving STEM education.
As part of the AAU STEM Initiative, we co-hosted various workshops with the WashU Teaching Center, such as the Summer STEM Faculty Institute on Teaching (STEM FIT) and also developed learning communities such as the CIRCLE Fellowship, a two-year fellowship program that supported faculty in implementing evidence-based practices in their teaching. In addition, CIRCLE partnered with STEM departments and faculty to evaluate the effectiveness of these active-learning strategies in their classrooms. We also co-hosted a speaker series on campus called the Innovations in Undergraduate Education Speaker Series to discuss topics related to pursuing evidence-based practices in higher education. The idea was that by providing several opportunities for practitioners to engage with one another and with CIRCLE, we would reinforce our commitment to support faculty with any changes they wanted to incorporate into their courses.
Following the AAU grant period, we have continued to provide support through other initiatives such as the Transformational Initiative for Education in STEM (TIES) and the HHMI Inclusive Excellence Project. The TIES Initiative has developed workshops for faculty who partner with Education Specialists to learn about techniques implemented in STEM classrooms at WashU. The HHMI Project has led to a similar faculty learning workshop series, the Community for Innovations in STEM Teaching, Inclusion and Learning (CISTIL), where STEM faculty learn about inclusive teaching strategies.The CIRCLE Fellowship has now become part of the CIRCLE Teaching Academy, a broader community of practice comprised of CISTIL and TIES fellows to discuss sustained improvement to STEM education. We have also created the Cross-Campus Education Research Group (C2 ERG), a version of the STEM ERG that includes faculty from both the Danforth and Medical Campuses to discuss scholarly teaching practices. Finally, the Innovations in Undergraduate Education Speaker Series has been revamped thanks to an AAU Mini-Grant to promote communication of evidence-based teaching practices.
If you are a STEM faculty member and interested in learning more about our workshops and programming, please contact Ali York.