Transformational Initiative for Education in STEM

TIES is a collaboration among CIRCLE, The Teaching Center, and STEM departments to support faculty in transforming their courses through evidence-based pedagogies.

Background

The success of the AAU STEM Education Initiative in generating conversation and collaboration about teaching laid the groundwork for the Transformational Initiative for Education in STEM (TIES).

Dr. Carl Wieman, PhD, of Stanford University and a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, delivers his address “Taking a Scientific Approach to Science and Engineering Education” at Washington University in St. Louis Monday, Aug. 22, 2016 in Knight Hall's Emerson Auditorium. Wieman's address, sponsored by The Teaching Center at WU, marked the beginning of an initiative The Transformational Initiative for Education in STEM (TIES), designed to support STEM faculty as they transform primarily lecture-based courses by integrating evidenced-based teaching methods. Wieman talks with WUSTL faculty members Gina Frey and Mark McDaniel after the lecture.<br /> Photo by Sid Hastings / WUSTL Photos

TIES draws from the work of Carl Wieman (Professor of Physics and of the Graduate School of Education, Stanford University; Associate Director for Science, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, 2010-2012; Nobel Prize in Physics), who visited Washington University on August 22, 2016 to meet with the TIES project team and offer a public talk in which he will discuss transforming STEM education, guided by insights from research on teaching and learning.

Find out more about Wieman’s work and its relationship with TIES in The Record.

Recent literature on curriculum development suggests that departments should be the focus of curricular innovations, and so in the pilot phase of TIES, Biology and Psychological and Brain Sciences will be the first departments to participate. After the pilot two additional departments will be selected to participate in TIES.

Objectives

In the pilot phase of TIES, CIRCLE and Teaching Center staff will

  • Work with faculty in Biology and Psychological and Brain Sciences to improve student learning, performance and engagement by implementing evidence-based teaching strategies.
  • Conduct evaluations to determine the impact of the strategies, especially on women and other demographics under-represented in STEM.
  • Establish a structure to support the departments in continuous program improvement.
  • Continue to support faculty who are already implementing and evaluating evidence-based teaching strategies as part of the AAU project.

Faculty take notes at lecture of Dr. Carl Wieman, PhD, of Stanford University and a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, delivers his address “Taking a Scientific Approach to Science and Engineering Education” at Washington University in St. Louis Monday, Aug. 22, 2016 in Knight Hall's Emerson Auditorium. Wieman's address, sponsored by The Teaching Center at WU, marked the beginning of an initiative The Transformational Initiative for Education in STEM (TIES), designed to support STEM faculty as they transform primarily lecture-based courses by integrating evidenced-based teaching methods. Photo by Sid Hastings / WUSTL Photos

Model

Our model for culture change is adapted from the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative, which has been successful at two large research universities. As such, the TIES project team provides initial support to departments by

  • offering structured faculty fellowships,
  • collaborating on project planning, and
  • helping to establish a faculty learning community focused on student learning.

At the heart of the model is the collaboration between TIES Education Specialists and CIRCE Faculty Fellows. The TIES Education Specialists work closely with faculty fellows to redesign courses to utilize evidence-based teaching strategies and course design principles.

TIES Education Specialists: PhDs with expertise in the discipline are trained by The Teaching Center and CIRCLE to work as “embedded experts” with faculty to design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based teaching strategies.

CIRCLE Faculty Fellows: Faculty who refine their courses in collaboration with the TIES Education Specialists receive a 2-year fellowship and present their work at faculty learning community events.