Accelerated Transformation at Yale and Beyond

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Title of Abstract: Accelerated Transformation at Yale and Beyond

Name of Author: Jennifer Frederick
Author Company or Institution: Yale University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses, STEM education
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: Biology education Faculty development Introductory research course Institutional change

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Jo Handelsman, Yale University Phineas Rose, Yale University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Center for Scientific Teaching (CST) at Yale leads a national effort to transform undergraduate science teaching at colleges and universities across the United States. Our mission has been inspired and informed by reports such as Biology 2010, the AAAS Vision and Change meeting report, and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) 2012 “Engage to Excel” report. We employ the evidence-based method of scientific teaching and its cornerstones - active learning, diversity, and assessment - in programs to train faculty, instructors, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students in teaching and mentoring. By promoting better teaching, our aim is to inspire a larger, more diverse population of college students to pursue majors and careers in science.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: 4 professors redesigning introductory biology (Biology 101-104, a year-long course in four modules) requested training in scientific teaching. We offered a customized National Academies Summer Institute in July 2012. Twenty-four science and engineering faculty and instructors attended the 4-day training. Jo Handelsman and Jennifer Frederick are co-PIs on a Davis Education Foundation award to support development of a new undergraduate course that follows the PCAST recommendation to provide research experiences early in college. The grant supports postdocs as key instructional partners for our ?From Microbes to Molecules? research course and for the Biology 101-104 course. Additional support for an expanded ?Small World Initiative? from the Helmsley Charitable Trust will fund training for representatives from 24 Pilot Partner institutions. Instructors will attend training and implement the research course at their institution and contribute to evaluation and assessment efforts. This program creates a vehicle for spreading effective STEM teaching approaches while simultaneously tapping into new resources for antibiotic discovery, and provides a large cohort of students with key roles in advancing microbiology research. CST efforts promote transformation by encouraging a more diverse population of students to major in and pursue careers in STEM fields. Our evaluation director developed a persistence model that incorporates theories of learning, motivation, and professional socialization as a framework for examining programs and practices that encourage students to persist in STEM. Our 2012 PNAS paper, “Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students” (Moss-Racusin et al) demonstrated pervasive gender bias among academic scientists. Since raising awareness can be an effective intervention, we are collaborating with a playwright on a dramatic work based on bias examples collected through personal interviews with male and female scientists.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Yale transformation: faculty participation in the Yale Summer Institute, tracking continued involvement in the follow up strategy meetings and teaching discussions, expansion of the science education community beyond those who attended the 2012 Yale Summer Institute, demand for additional training in scientific teaching, influence on courses, curricula, and student persistence in and attitudes about STEM courses at Yale (both majors and non-majors) Beyond Yale: growth and impact of the Small World Initiative will be evaluated by interest in course implementation at collaborating institutions and the outcomes of crowdsourcing antibiotic discovery data, numbers of Pilot Partners, securing additional funding STEM education nationwide: we will evaluate use of the persistence model to influence institutional policy and programs; the impact of the film project as a gender bias intervention will be rigorously tested through controlled social scientific experiments

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Major outcomes of the first Yale SI include the nucleation of a multi-disciplinary community of science educators, new instructional materials available to the larger community, increased demand for science education seminars, and increased interest in the Yale Scientific Teaching Fellows Program (semester-long pedagogy courses for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars offered in both life sciences and physical sciences versions). Our follow-up lunch discussions with Yale SI alums provide rich examples of evidence-based pedagogy in Yale classrooms and serve as points of connection for this community. The science education network here continues to grow and we have experienced a steady increase in teaching consultation requests from colleagues interested in infusing active learning into their teaching. STEM educational transformation at Yale has an impact on the national landscape as well, and our involvement in the National Academies Scientific Teaching Alliance (submitted under separate abstract) positions us to continue contributing to broader efforts to transform science education.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Resistance to prioritizing educational initiatives at a research institution remains a challenge. Teaching opportunities for postdoctoral scholars are now permitted under certain conditions (PI and funding agency approval, appropriate adjustments to effort), although we have been part of the institutional conversation to broaden access to valuable training and experience. Top-level administrative support has been a critical factor in surmounting these challenges, although more leverage could be provided by sweeping recommendations and policies from governmental funding agencies.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Products of Center for Scientific Teaching initiatives will be made available to the public as follows: - Instructional materials developed at the Yale Summer Institute are available online - The curriculum for the introductory biology research course will be available through a manuscript (in preparation); eventually we will offer open access to pilot tested and revised curricula for a variety of research course formats - The persistence model is expected to be published in Science later in 2013 - The outcomes of the gender bias film project will be published; if successful, the intervention and supporting materials will be made widely available

Acknowledgements: Jo Handelsman, Director of the Center for Scientific Teaching Mark Graham, Evaluation Director of the Center for Scientific Teaching Corinne Moss-Racusin, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Skidmore College Evava Pietri, Postdoc, Yale Department of Psychology and the Center for Scientific Teaching Tiffany Tsang, Postdoc, the Center for Scientific Teaching