Initial Publication Date: May 31, 2016

Using Collaborations to Transform the Culture of Teaching and Learning

Profile submitted by Regina Frey, PhD, Executive Director of The Teaching Center, Florence E. Moog Professor of STEM Education, Associate Professor in Chemistry, co-Director of the Center for Integrative Research in Cognition, Learning and Education; Beth Fisher, PhD, Director of The Teaching Center, Lecturer in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Shawn Nordell, PhD, Senior Associate Director, The Teaching Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

The Teaching Center at Washington University in St. Louis has partners with multiple departments, schools, centers, and divisions across the campus to create a broad network of collaborations. This broad network allows The Teaching Center to work across the University at multiple vertical and horizontal scales. Our philosophy is to collaborate with faculty and staff across the entire campus to enhance teaching and improve student learning. These collaborations include evaluating initiatives in classrooms with CIRCLE to create assessment opportunities across disciplines, working with the library to develop digital pedagogy, and working with diverse university committees to address inclusive teaching from a pedagogical and technological perspective. Our vision is to create a network of collaborations that allow The Teaching Center to best serve its constituents from an expansive and inclusive perspective. Below are examples of our collaborations with campus partners.

CIRCLE (Center for Integrative Research on Cognition, Learning, and Education)
The Teaching Center has a long standing and close collaboration with the researchers of CIRCLE on the evaluation of teaching projects including the AAU Initiative to transform the teaching and learning culture of Washington University using a multiple strategy approach to incorporating active-learning in STEM courses across the University. CIRCLE, founded in 2011, is co-directed by a Professor of Psychology and the Executive Director of The Teaching Center and the Florence E. Moog Professor of STEM Education and supported by funding from the Office of the Provost. The mission of the CIRCLE is to provide a bridge between Washington University faculty and researchers in the cognitive and learning sciences in order to facilitate collaborative projects to improve student learning.

STEM Educational Research Group
The STEM Education Research Group (ERG) brings together a diverse group of faculty and staff members interested in research on teaching and learning in STEM. The Executive Director of The Teaching Center (Associate Professor Chemistry; and Co-Director of CIRCLE), and the Executive Director of the Institute for School Partnership and Assistant Dean in Arts & Sciences, and the Professor and Chair of Biology established the STEM ERG in 2008. The ERG founders developed the group in response to a specific need among faculty and staff involved in projects funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to evaluate these projects in a systematic way. The ERG serves another, broader purpose by fostering collegial, collaborative interactions among scholars from different disciplines. The group represents an array of fields, including Biology, Chemistry, Education, Physics, Psychology, and Engineering, as well as the Institute for School Partnership, The Teaching Center, and CIRCLE. The ERG uses a laboratory-group model, with individual members presenting current or completed work ranging from reflective teaching to education research at these weekly meetings.

The University Libraries
The Teaching Center collaborates with the University Libraries on several projects including the implementation of "clickers" in lecture courses (supported by AAU, the Libraries, Arts & Sciences, and Engineering), the video-recording and streaming of undergraduate courses in Chemistry and Biology, Blackboard training and consultations, and the development and support for teaching with technology. We are currently working with the library to develop a working group on digital pedagogy, and The Teaching Center Assistant Director for technology will be based in the library to strengthen our partnership and enhance faculty support.

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of the Provost, the College of Arts & Sciences, Cornerstone, and The Center for Advanced Learning (Student Educational Services) and the Standing Committee on Facilitating Inclusive Classrooms
In 2014-2015, The Teaching Center began collaborating with these campus partners to develop Teaching Center programs on Inclusive Teaching and Learning and to coordinate these programs with related programs across the university. These programs, which were formally launched in 2015-2016, include workshops and online resources on Inclusive Teaching and Learning, the Inclusion and Diversity to Engage All Faculty Institute on Teaching (IDEA FIT), and a Faculty Fellowship on Inclusive Teaching and Learning. Programming on Inclusive Teaching and Learning is being delivered at all University levels, such as in New Faculty and Teaching Assistant Orientation as well as workshops for schools and departments, regular multidisciplinary workshops for faculty and graduate students, the STEM Faculty Institute on Teaching (STEM FIT), and the biennial iTeach symposium on teaching.

University Assessment and Cornerstone
The Teaching Center collaborates with the University Assessment Committee to assist in improving our ability to assess our teaching and learning across the university. In addition, The Teaching Center and Cornerstone have been collaborating on developing and implementing the general numeracy assessment exam.


Center Profile: The Teaching Center - Washington University St. Louis