Meeting Overview

Robert C. Hilborn, American Association of Physics Teachers

Introduction

Recent reports (AAU, 2011) (President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, 2012) that call for the enhancement of undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education have all recognized the importance of STEM faculty development in implementing those enhancements.

Recognizing that most STEM faculty begin their teaching careers with little or no professional training in teaching and little or no knowledge about the evidence for effective teaching practices (The Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University, 1998), several scientific societies have organized multi-day workshops and other professional development activities for STEM faculty members, most often focusing on those in the first few years of their tenure-track appointments. In what follows, I will refer to these workshops and related activities as "programs" since many of the "workshops" have continuing activities that go beyond an initial face-to-face meeting. What do we know about how those STEM faculty programs are structured? What is known about the effectiveness of those programs in stimulating STEM faculty to implement successful teaching strategies and how do those implementations affect student learning? What should be the role of STEM disciplinary societies in these programs? To begin to answer those questions, a meeting was held in Washington, D.C., on May 3, 2012, bringing together the leaders of seven of those programs along with two science education researchers who have studied the effects of those programs. The programs, the disciplines, the sponsoring scientific societies, and the two education researchers are listed in Table I.

Table I. Programs and evaluators represented at the May 3, 2012 meeting.

Program Discipline Sponsoring Society
National Academies Summer Institutes on Undergraduate Education in Biology Biology Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Academy of Sciences
Cottrell Scholars Collaborative New Faculty Workshop (Chemistry) Chemistry Research Corporation for Science Advancement, American Chemical Society
National Effective Teaching Institute Engineering American Society for Engineering Education
ExCEED Civil Engineering American Society for Civil Engineering
On the Cutting Edge – Geoscience Early Career Faculty Workshop Geosciences National Association of Geoscience Teachers
Project NExT Mathematics Mathematical Association of America
ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators Microbiology American Society for Microbiology
Physics and Astronomy New Faculty Workshop Physics and Astronomy American Association of Physics Teachers, American Astronomical Society, American Physical Society
Evaluators Discipline Programs Evaluated
Diane Ebert-May Biology Faculty Institutes for Reforming Science Teaching, National Academies Summer Institute
Charles Henderson Physics and Astronomy Physics and Astronomy New Faculty Workshops

Each of the program leaders and the education researchers gave presentations at the May 3 meeting, which was held in conjunction with a meeting of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents at the headquarters of the American Chemical Society. A generous grant from the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education supported the meeting expenses. The meeting schedule is found in the Appendix to this report. The meeting was attended by scientific society presidents, other representatives from scientific societies, program officers from funding agencies, and the leaders and evaluators of the STEM faculty workshops. Nobel Laureate and then Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Carl Wieman gave the keynote address.

In this overview, I provide a summary of the common practices used in the STEM faculty programs. I will also highlight distinctive features of some of the programs that might well be adopted by other professional societies. After providing a framework for thinking about STEM faculty programs that focus on pedagogy, I will articulate a set of arguments for the crucial role of scientific societies in sponsoring such programs. I summarize advice for other scientific societies that may wish to institute programs for faculty members in their disciplines.

In the sections of the report that follow this overview, the program leaders and education researchers provide summaries of the programs and the research that examines the effectiveness of such programs. A common template gives the basic facts and figures for each program and provides a link to websites providing more details. The data in the templates were compiled in the summer of 2012. Updated information can be found at each program's website or by contacting the contributors.

Back to Top

Common goals and practices

Goals
Simply stated, the goals of all of the STEM faculty programs discussed here are to develop expert competence in teaching, to enhance faculty views of teaching as a scholarly activity, and to promote the use of evidence in evaluating the effectiveness of teaching practices. Underlying these goals is the broader goal of enhancing student learning in STEM fields and improving student attitudes about the importance of STEM in our society and in the attractiveness of STEM careers. All of the initiatives focus on the goals directly related to faculty professional development and there is reasonable evidence, to be described below, that indicates that they are successful in increasing faculty members' knowledge about effective pedagogy and encouraging them to adopt those pedagogical methods in their classes. On the other hand, evidence also indicates that the programs may not be as successful as one would like in having faculty continue to use effective pedagogical techniques. Furthermore, reliable measurements on effects on student learning are both difficult and expensive to carry out and are not used at all by the current approaches to examine the impact of these professional development experiences on their participants' students.

All of the initiatives promote, either explicitly or implicitly, the importance of "scientific teaching" (Handelsman et al., 2004). Scientific teaching is a way of thinking about teaching and learning that promotes investigation of teaching with the kind of rigor associated with traditional research in science. Scientific teaching promotes use of pedagogical methods that have been systematically tested and shown to enhance student learning. All of those techniques use "interactive-engagement" methods; that is, students are not viewed as passive recipients of knowledge handed down from authority, but are actively engaged in their developing their own mental models of the material at a deep conceptual level as well as integrating that knowledge into a larger framework for solving problems and seeing connections of major principles across STEM disciplines. In a subsequent section, I will elaborate these ideas in a more detailed theoretical framework.

Target audience
Some of the STEM faculty programs focus on early-career faculty members, typically in the first few years of their tenure-track appointments; others include both junior faculty and more senior faculty. For example, in the microbiology workshop, about half the participants have been teaching fewer than 10 years and 40-50% are new to the programs each year. Some focus on faculty from research-intensive universities, others include faculty from primarily undergraduate institutions and two-year colleges.

Number of participants
The number of participants ranges from about 40 for the newly established chemistry workshops through more than 325 for microbiology. Detailed numbers are given in the templates accompanying the leaders' contributions to this report.

Fraction of disciplinary faculty involved
What fraction of STEM faculty participates in these professional development experiences? That number varies widely from discipline to discipline. For example, about 6% of engineering faculty members across the country participate in one of the two initiatives described in this report. The physics and astronomy workshops for new faculty now engage about 50% of the new hires in those fields in recent years.

Length of the programs
It should be obvious that developing expert competence in a discipline as complex as STEM teaching requires a significant amount of time. The leaders of these initiatives recognize that the few days they spend with the participants can only begin the long process of professional development needed to achieve that competence. The process requires allowing for sufficient time to learn about and try out several pedagogical techniques and to have discussions, both formal and informal, with the presenters and other participants. The various approaches to professional development use several different time formats. The chemistry workshops are currently set for two days due to limitations in funding. The civil engineering programs run for six days. Project NExT in mathematics utilizes several two-day workshops spread out over a year.

Locations
Most of the existing STEM faculty programs are stand-alone workshops, not associated with other meetings. However, all three of the Project NExT face-to-face meetings are held in conjunction with the national meetings of the Mathematical Association of America. Most program organizers argue that the stand-alone meetings avoid the many distractions associated with larger professional society meetings and do not require the participants to be away from their labs and research groups for an excessively long period of time.

Some STEM workshops, not described in this report, are run locally. For example, Richard Felder runs a workshop for engineering and science faculty at North Carolina State University (Brent & Felder, 2012).

Back to Top

Presenters and leaders
The program presenters are a mix of the leading discipline-based education researchers in the field and peer leaders, who are experienced and knowledgeable in the implementation of teaching materials and pedagogical methods based on and validated by discipline-based education research (Singer, Nielsen, & Schweingruber, 2012).

Some programs (physics and astronomy, for example) use presenters who are pioneers for each of the pedagogies presented; other initiatives use faculty members who have implemented those pedagogies but are not necessarily the "big names" in education in that discipline. Some include presenters who are actively engaged in formal STEM education research; others are faculty members who discuss the evidence for effective practices, but are not themselves STEM education researchers.

Schedules
The program descriptions that appear later in this report provide details of the schedules. The meetings generally consist of a mix of plenary sessions, often carried out with interactive engagement techniques—to model what the leaders hope the participants will implement in their home institutions—and smaller breakout and discussion sessions.

Some of the programs (biology, chemistry, and civil engineering) have the participants develop short lessons ("teachable tidbits") or the framework for an entire course, which are then critiqued by the other participants. This procedure gives the participants direct feedback as they implement the pedagogical strategies discussed in the meetings. The geoscience program has participants develop posters about a plan for their teaching. These plans range from single teaching activities to a framework for an entire course. Following reviews of the plans by other participants and leaders, the participants write up their reflections.

Disciplinary focus
While many effective pedagogical practices cut across disciplines, their effective implementation requires broad knowledge of the discipline and its modes of discussion and argument. Hence, all of the programs described here have the participants think about (and in some cases practice) effective pedagogical methods within the context of the discipline. This method builds on the content knowledge of the participants and prepares them more directly for the teaching decisions they will need to make in their own classrooms. Furthermore, having the presenters and leaders be disciplinary experts gives the programs a credibility that would be difficult to develop if the programs focused only on broadly applicable educational principles.

Financial support
Most of the programs use a business model in which funding is covered in large part by grants from federal funding agencies, private foundations and the host professional societies. In most cases, the participants' home institutions cover the cost of travel to and from the meeting. Typical costs (exclusive of travel to and from the meeting site) are about $250-$350/day for each participant. These costs include housing, meals, materials, and the travel and hotel expenses for presenters and leaders. The National Academies Institutes require that senior administrators on a campus commit to providing additional funds to support the participants' implementation of the techniques learned during the Institutes after they return to their home institutions. Most program leaders believe it is important for the participants' home institutions to pay some of the costs to indicate their commitment to the participants' professional development.

Other professional development activities
Most of the programs include, in addition to presentations and discussions on pedagogy, sessions on other professional development issues such as time management, mentoring research students, and preparing for tenure decisions. A few of the programs include presentations by program officers from federal and private funding agencies on developing effective research and education grant proposals; one includes a day of meetings at the National Science Foundation.

Follow-up activities
As mentioned previously, all of the program leaders recognize that a one-time workshop is unlikely to produce the kind of expert teaching competence required of an effective instructor. The programs use a variety of mechanisms to continue interactions among the participants (peer mentoring and coaching) and with the program leaders. For example, Project NExT uses experienced mathematics faculty members as consultants for the new faculty participants. The chemistry workshops use Research Corporations' Cottrell Scholars as peer mentors for their participants. The chemistry peer mentors call participants twice a year. The peer mentors are provided with talking points to facilitate conversations and ensure that critical topics (active learning) are covered. The On the Cutting Edge website provides resources to support early-career faculty.

Other programs use a variety of follow-up activities to keep the participants engaged. For example, the National Academies Summer Institutes program holds a meeting, funded by Howard Hughes Medical Institute, six months after the initial summer institute for one member from each participating university team. The American Society for Engineering Education hosts NETI-2 workshops for alumni of the NETI workshops and more experienced faculty. The Physics and Astronomy New Faculty Workshop series hosts Reunion Meetings every two years for participants from previous workshops. Informal gatherings are also held at the national meetings of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Physical Society. As mentioned previously, Project NExT, as part of its regular program, hosts three consecutive workshops at the national meetings of the MAA.

Back to Top

Theoretical framework for STEM faculty pedagogical professional development

In the previous section, I described some of the structure and common practices of the STEM faculty programs. What is the "theory" that lies behind these programs? At their core, these initiatives provide information to the participants about effective teaching practices and what is known about student learning. A valuable and accessible summary of what is known about learning and the evidence that supports those conclusions is found in the recent book How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (Ambrose, Bridges, Lovett, DiPietro, & Norman, 2010).

The seven principles for smart teaching are the following:

  1. Students' prior knowledge can help or hinder learning.
  2. How students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they learn.
  3. Students' motivation determines, directs, and sustains what they do to learn.
  4. To develop mastery, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply what they have learned.
  5. Goal-directed practice coupled with targeted feedback enhances the quality of students' learning.
  6. Students' current level of development interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the course to impact learning.
  7. To become self-directed learners, students must learn to monitor and adjust their approaches to learning.

Although these principles might not be explicitly mentioned in this form in the STEM faculty programs, they nevertheless capture most of what is known about student learning and help give a structure to effective teaching practices.

The concluding section of How Learning Works is titled "Applying the Seven Principles to Ourselves." Here the authors note that for faculty members "...when it comes to teaching, most of us are still learning." They point out that becoming an effective teacher is a long-term process of continual learning and refinement and that as such, learning to improve one's teaching ought to be guided by the general learning principles articulated in their book. Thus, I argue, the STEM faculty workshops should be built around these seven principles as they apply to faculty learning to improve their teaching.

Here I have reframed the How Learning Works seven principles to apply to faculty members' learning about teaching. I use the word "teachers" to include college and university faculty members as well as K-12 teachers, though the education and professional development of K-12 teachers is not considered explicitly here.

The seven principles of learning to be an effective teacher are:

  1. Teachers' prior knowledge can help or hinder teaching and hence student learning.
  2. How teachers organize knowledge about teaching and learning influences how they learn about teaching and apply what they learn.
  3. Teachers' motivation determines, directs, and sustains what they do to learn about teaching.
  4. To develop mastery, teachers must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply what they have learned.
  5. Goal-directed practice coupled with targeted feedback enhances the quality of teachers' pedagogical behavior and their students' learning.
  6. Teachers' current level of development as professionals interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the classroom and institution to impact learning.
  7. To become self-directed professional educators, teachers must learn to monitor and adjust their approaches to teaching and learning.

I now illustrate how several of these principles ought to inform the structure of STEM faculty workshops. Principles 1 and 2 remind us that many faculty members (both new and experienced) bring with them a flawed model of teaching and learning. For them, teaching is primarily information (content) transfer, and since PhDs are generally experts in the content of their disciplines, the faculty members should also be good teachers. Many faculty members believe that they learned well from listening to lectures and therefore they should focus on preparing and delivering polished lectures.

Principle 2 tells us that all of us have a "theory of learning" and that theory shapes both what we do and how we do it in our teaching. In addition, effective teachers are masters of not only content knowledge but know how students learn (or fail to learn) that content. The latter knowledge is called "pedagogical content knowledge" (Schulman, 1986). Good teaching requires more than strong content knowledge because the goals of effective teaching are more complicated: we want students to develop conceptual understanding, problem-solving skills, scientific and engineering practices, research skills, attitudes about STEM, and expert-like thinking—all of which are required for effective learning and the successful application of what has been learned.

Principle 3 reflects the reality that even if we know what constitutes effective teaching, we may not implement that knowledge because we believe that we will not be rewarded by our colleagues, our departments, and our institutions for taking the time to do that. In fact, many faculty members believe that they will be suspect professionally if they spend "too much time" on teaching. This principle reminds us that no matter how well constructed STEM faculty workshops are, the participants have to implement the practices in the reality of their departmental, institutional, and professional cultures. Alas, some aspects of those cultures actively work against the implementation of effective pedagogy.

Principles 4, 5, and 6 emphasize the importance of deliberate practice and feedback in developing expert competence in teaching. Just as students need appropriate and challenging practice and activities to learn organic chemistry or systems engineering, we as developing teachers need to try out pedagogical methods with the appropriate coaching in order to develop expert-like practices. These principles tell us that mechanisms need to be in place to assist workshop participants with deliberate practice and feedback once they are back in the home institutions. In some cases, the departments have enough faculty members with experience with scientific teaching to be able to coach and mentor workshop participants. Unfortunately, in many cases, that local support is not available and it is important for the STEM faculty workshop leaders and sponsors to find mechanisms that will support ongoing deliberate practice and feedback.

As an aside, I note that the concept of "deliberate practice" has been recognized as crucial for developing expert knowledge and behavior in many fields. For a readable discussion of this issue in the business world, Geoff Colvin's recent book (Colvin, 2010) provides a good introduction.

Principle 7 articulates the goal of having the faculty members reach a level of professional teaching competence that enables them to monitor their own development as teachers.

Back to Top

Are the STEM faculty programs effective?

Before we can answer this section's titular question, we need to specify the goals of the STEM faculty programs. As mentioned previously, the common goals are to develop expert competence in teaching, to enhance faculty views of teaching as a scholarly activity, and to promote use of evidence in evaluating the effectiveness of teaching practices. Those goals support enhancement of student learning in STEM fields and the improvement of student attitudes about the importance of STEM in our society and in the attractiveness of STEM careers. Of course, the specific objectives may vary from program to program. But once the goals are laid out, we can raise the question of evaluating the achievement of those goals. This evaluation can be carried out at three levels (Chism & Szabo, 1998) :

The first level is relatively easy to address and most STEM faculty programs administer post-meeting surveys that probe the participants' satisfaction with the program activities. In almost all cases, those satisfaction ratings are quite high, indicating that the participants believe that the programs have helped them with their teaching. In some cases, these results are confirmed by surveys administered to the participants' department chairs.

The second evaluation level is more problematic. Many participants claim that they are implementing the effective pedagogical techniques presented at the program meetings. But close examination of actual teaching practices (see the contribution by Ebert-May, et al. in this report) through classroom visits or examinations of video recordings of class sessions indicates that many of the participants have reverted to primarily passive lecture methods or use pedagogical practices in ways that are not faithful to what is known as effective for those practices. For example, many participants claim they are using peer instruction or think-pair-share methods of student discussion, when in fact they are using "clickers" (electronic response systems) primarily to take attendance or administer quizzes with no accompanying student-to-student discussion.

The third level of evaluation has been (and will probably remain) elusive. Although there is a substantial body of research-based evidence of the effectiveness of the pedagogical practices used in the STEM faculty programs (Singer, Nielsen, & Schweingruber, 2012), we would like to know if the faculty development programs are successful in getting the participants to implement those practices in an effective way.

There are many difficulties with measuring the impact of these faculty development experiences on student learning: there are few standardized sets of STEM learning objectives and few nationally normed assessment instruments (especially at the post-secondary level) to measure what students have learned. Those instruments that do exist may not assess the scientific practices and knowledge we want to emphasize. Even if appropriate instruments were available, carrying out randomized, controlled experiments on student learning is expensive and difficult, particularly in smaller institutions where there may be only one section of introductory physics, for example. In some cases, we may need to rely on secondary measures of student learning such as retention rates as STEM majors, performance in upper-level courses or on discipline-focused graduate record examinations, or the number of non-STEM students who opt to enroll in STEM courses beyond the number that their college or university requires to fulfill degree requirements.

Back to Top

The role of STEM professional societies

Why should STEM professional societies, whose main purpose is the promotion of research within the various STEM disciplines, be involved in STEM faculty professional development programs? There are several reasons:

  1. Most beginning college and university faculty members feel more loyalty to their disciplines than to their home institutions (The Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University, 1998). Hence, many faculty members will listen closely to recommendations from STEM professional societies about the importance of effective teaching.
  2. The disciplinary societies to a large extent set the norms and expectations for professional work within the disciplines: what counts as research in the discipline, what are the standards for publication, and what professional behaviors are rewarded and recognized by others in the discipline? Consequently, involvement of the STEM disciplinary societies in promoting the adoption of more effective teaching and the importance of disciplinary-based education research (Singer et al., 2012) is crucial for the health of the educational enterprise associated with that discipline and for the health of the discipline itself.
  3. The disciplinary societies can provide a national venue for STEM faculty professional development in teaching that transcends the confines of individual institutions and embeds that educational professional development with other forms of STEM professional development with resources generally not available to individual colleges and universities.
  4. The meetings of the disciplinary societies, attended by many college and university faculty, provide a venue for continued interaction among the participants in the STEM faculty workshops and educational leaders in the discipline.
  5. The disciplinary societies provide a forum for the disciplinary community to articulate learning goals and objectives for educational programs in each discipline. That activity has a long history in chemistry and engineering, where professional certification plays an important role. More recent efforts in microbiology (see the report by J. Washington and T. Primm in this volume) have been successful in engaging a large fraction of the community. The physics community is just beginning efforts to articulate common goals and expectations for physics undergraduate programs.
  6. If they were to collaborate actively, the disciplinary societies can provide a venue for the development and dissemination of nationally normed assessments of student learning and student attitudes across the STEM disciplines. While the development of those assessments requires the skills and expertise of disciplinary-based education researchers, the disciplinary societies can provide the community-wide support that is necessary for those assessment efforts to be widely adopted.

Back to Top

What is needed to enhance the adoption of effective pedagogy?

In spite of several decades of STEM education research, undergraduate STEM curriculum development projects, and many STEM faculty workshops focusing on innovative and effective pedagogical techniques, there is evidence that the 14 The Role of Scientific Societies in STEM Faculty Workshops STEM faculty community has not yet widely adopted such techniques. For example, the recent National Research Council report on Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER) (Singer, Nielsen, & Schweingruber, 2012) states (p. 3):

"... that DBER and related research have not yet prompted widespread changes in teaching practice among science and engineering faculty. Different strategies are needed to more effectively translate findings from DBER into practice. These efforts are more likely to succeed if they are consistent with research on motivating adult learners, include a deliberate focus on changing faculty conceptions about teaching and learning, recognize the cultural and organizational norms of the department and institution, and work to address those norms that pose barriers to change in teaching practice.

"To increase the use of DBER findings, the committee recommended that current faculty adopt evidence-based teaching practices to improve learning outcomes for undergraduate science and engineering students, with support from institutions, disciplinary departments, and professional societies. Moreover, institutions, disciplinary departments, and professional societies should work together to prepare future faculty who understand the findings of research on learning and evidence-based teaching strategies."

Some of the reasons for this lack of widespread adoption have been explored in the contributions by Ebert-May and Henderson in this report and the references cited therein. Here I want to emphasize the importance of the departmental and institutional environment and expectations and the role of scientific societies in shaping those environments and expectations.

Several reports have concluded that for successful reform of higher education pedagogy, the department is the crucial unit of change and that departmental expectations are highly influenced by the expectations of the relevant disciplinary societies (as well as by local, institutional expectations). The reports on the Strategic Programs for Innovation in Undergraduate Physics (SPIN-UP) (Hilborn & Howes, 2003) and Achieving Excellence in Engineering Education (Graham, 2012) efforts provide both arguments and case studies for this point of view. A recent paper by Wieman, Perkins, and Gilbert (Wieman, Perkins, & Gilbert, 2010) also emphasizes the role of the department in transforming science education in large research universities.

The SPIN-UP report emphasizes that what happens outside the classroom (mentoring, student research, student engagement in outreach programs, career information, and so on) is often just as important as what happens in classes in determining whether students stay on as STEM majors and graduate. In that regard, professional societies can provide case studies and analysis of "thriving" undergraduate programs to give guidance to other departments that wish to enhance their programs. For example, the Building Strong Geoscience Departments program provides much information on developing thriving departments at http://serc.carleton.edu/departments/index.html.

Advice for other STEM disciplinary societies

From the contributions included in this volume, I summarize some advice for STEM disciplinary societies that would like to initiate faculty workshops for their members:

  1. Use workshop leaders who are strongly grounded in the discipline, well known in the field, and who have themselves adopted the active learning techniques that the programs described in this report have attempted to impart to participants.
  2. To increase the reach of the workshops, recruit faculty participants broadly among institutions, particularly minority-serving institutions and community colleges (see below), which historically have been less connected with professional societies.
  3. Develop a funding model that allows faculty from institutions with modest resources to participate.
  4. Provide a suite of follow-up activities and mentoring and coaching opportunities for participants to help them persist in their adoption of effective pedagogical practices.
  5. Use the professional society's publications and meetings to highlight effective teaching practices and those who implement them.
  6. Work with departments to encourage support and adoption of effective pedagogy and to recognize and reward those faculty members who are successful in this area.
  7. Host prominent sessions on teaching and education at the society's national meetings and sponsor education sections in the society's journals.

Back to Top

Future directions

Workshops for STEM graduate students and post-docs
The work of Ebert-May and colleagues described in this report suggests adding professional development in teaching to activities for graduate students and post-docs who are interested in academic careers. In particular, they write about the FIRST II and FIRST IV workshops, the latter revised for future faculty (rather than currently serving faculty) based on the authors' research into the effectiveness of the FIRST II and Biology Summer Institutes in changing faculty teaching. Scientific societies might well make use of their national meetings to host such activities. Such support emphasizes the disciplinary community's recognition of the importance of effective teaching for the health of the discipline.


Two-year colleges
In the United States, two-year colleges now enroll about 40% of all undergraduates and 26% of full-time undergraduates (NCES, Digest of Education Statistics 2010, Table 202). A disproportionate fraction of low socio-economic students, students from ethnic backgrounds under-represented in STEM fields, and students who will go on to become K-12 teachers of STEM subjects begin their college educations in two-year colleges. Thus, for many reasons, it is important to provide professional development for STEM faculty members at two-year colleges. Some of the workshops in this report serve two-year college faculty. Others do not. The leadership team of the geoscience early-career workshop includes a two-year college faculty member. New physics faculty members in two-year colleges are served by the American Association of Physics Teachers Two-Year College New Faculty Experience program (not described in this report) funded by the National Science Foundation. Scientific societies should play a more aggressive role in providing professional development activities for faculty at two-year colleges.

Programs for adjunct and temporary faculty
Higher education in the United States has seen a dramatic increase in the fraction of undergraduate teaching done by adjunct lecturers and instructors, many of whom are excellent teachers, but who lack long-term connections to a department, its curriculum, and to the institution. Many of these temporary faculty members teach the crucial "gateway" courses in the first two years of a STEM student's undergraduate career. Historically, adjunct and temporary faculty members have not interacted with STEM professional societies. But the rapid growth in the ranks of such faculty members suggests that STEM profession societies should find a way to engage those faculty members in professional development activities.

Experienced faculty programs
Many experienced STEM faculty would benefit from and enjoy participating in the kinds of faculty development programs described in this report. Some of those programs already are available to experienced faculty members. Physics and astronomy will, with National Science Foundation support, host the first physics and astronomy experienced faculty workshop in spring 2013. Many experienced faculty members find themselves in leadership positions, mentoring junior faculty about research and teaching, evaluating faculty members for promotion and tenure, and helping their departments make decisions about curriculum and teaching. Having knowledge of and experience with effective pedagogical methods will benefit them in all of these roles as well as their roles as STEM educators.

Back to Top

Acknowledgments

I thank the National Science Foundation (grant 1230391), which supported the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) May 3 workshop and the writing and dissemination of this report. Special thanks are given to CSSP Executive Officer and President Marty Apple and Vice President Robert Barnhill, who were generous in their logistical and intellectual support for the workshop.

References

AAU. (2011). Five-Year Initiative for Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (Discussion Draft October 14, 2011), (Washington, D.C:. Association of American Universities).

Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., Lovett, M. C., DiPietro, M., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How Learning Works: Seven Research-based Principles for Smart Teaching (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass).

Brent, R., & Felder, R. M. (2012). "Just-in-time vs. just-in-case: Orientation for new faculty in STEM disciplines,"Chem. Eng. Education 46 (2), 87-88.

Chism, N. V. N., & Szabo, B. (1998). "How faculty development programs evaluate their services," Journal of Staff, Program, and Organizational Development 15(2), 55-62.

Colvin, G. (2010). Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else (New York: Penguin).

Graham, R. (2012). Achieving Excellence in Engineering Education: The Ingredients of Successful Change (London: The Royal Academy of Engineering).

Handelsman, J., Ebert-May, D., Beichner, R., Bruns, P., Chang, A., DeHaan, R., et al. (2004). "Scientific teaching," Science 304, 521-522.

Hilborn, R. C., & Howes, R. H. (2003). "Why many undergraduate physics programs are good but few are great," Physics Today 56 (9), 38-44.

President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. (2012). Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. (Washington, D.C.: President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Executive Office of the President).

Schulman, L. (1986). "Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching," Educational Researcher 15 , 4-14.

Singer, S. R., Nielsen, N. R., & Schweingruber, H. A. (Eds.). (2012). Discipline-based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering (Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press).

The Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University. (1998). In Kennedy S. S. (Ed.), Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America's Research Universities (Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching).

Wieman, C., Perkins, K., & Gilbert, S. (2010). "Transforming science education at large research universities: A case study in progress," Change, March/April, 7-14.

Back to Top

« Previous Page      Next Page »