The CIRTL Network: Shaping, Connecting, and Supporting the ...
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The CIRTL Network: Shaping, Connecting, and Supporting the ...

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1 Dec 2009 – students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty (hereinafter ..... students and post-docs since most programs fill within 48 hours of open registration. .... bring inquiry-guided learning into STEM undergraduate classrooms (http://qep.tamu.edu). ... and Office of Vice president for Research (VPR) to develop this ...

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December 2009 The CIRTL Network: Shaping, Connecting, and Supporting the Future National STEM Faculty 2009 Annual Report University of Colorado at Boulder Howard University Michigan State University Texas A&M University Vanderbilt University University of Wisconsin-Madison The National Science Foundation Background ..................................................................................................................................... 1 Goals of the CIRTL Network ......... 2 CIRTL Learning Communities at Network Universities 2 University of Colorado at Boulder .............................................................................................. 3 Howard University ...................................................... 4 Michigan State University: Changing the Culture of Graduate Education ................................ 6 Texas A&M University .............................................. 8 Vanderbilt University ............................................................................... 10 University of Wisconsin–Madison ........................................................... 12 Cross-Network Initiatives ............. 15 Distance Learning Courses ....................................................................................................... 15 Online Community Center - The CIRTL Café ......... 16 Cross-Network Learning Community ...................................................................................... 16 CIRTL Network Exchange Program ........................ 17 STEM Education Scholars Program ......................... 17 CIRTL Network Seed Grant Program ...................................................................................... 18 Enhancement of Diversity in STEM ......................... 18 Preparing STEM Faculty to Prepare K–12 STEM Teachers .................... 19 Evaluation ..................................................................................................................................... 20 Evaluation Liaisons ................... 21 Cross-Network Evaluation Collaboration ................................................................................. 21 Institutional Portraits ................................ 28 National Dissemination ............. 28 Management .................................................................................................................................. 28 Appendices .... 30 Background Graduate students at research universities will shape the future of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) undergraduate education in the US. These graduate students, 80% of whom are trained at only 125 research universities, flow into the STEM faculties of all undergraduate institutions, dispersing among more than 4,000 research universities, comprehensive universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges. Equally important, future faculties will be engaged in all forms of STEM education for diverse learners, including college classrooms and laboratories, distance learning, K–12 preservice preparation, and informal education. Thus, the graduate schools of research universities are a critical leverage point for the improvement of national STEM education. The CIRTL Network is using graduate education as the leverage point to develop a national STEM faculty committed to implementing and advancing effective teaching practices for diverse student audiences as part of successful professional careers. The goal of the CIRTL Network is to improve the STEM learning of all students at every college and university, and thereby to increase the diversity in STEM fields and the STEM literacy of the nation. The initial CIRTL (2003-2007) partner universities - the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW), Michigan State University (MSU), and the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) - developed, implemented, evaluated, and institutionalized a prototype CIRTL learning community at UW, the Delta Program in Research, Teaching and Learning. In 5 years, more than 1,500 STEM graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty (hereinafter graduates-through-faculty) participated in the Delta Program learning community to improve their teaching abilities. This large number shows that the national need is felt at the grassroots of a research university. The prototype demonstrated that a major research university will prepare STEM grad students and postdocs to be both forefront researchers and excellent teachers, and that STEM faculty will provide and support such preparation. The core ideas of CIRTL are teaching-as-research, learning community, and learning-through- diversity. (Appendix A) CIRTL seeks to engage graduates-through-faculty by integrating the improvement of teaching and learning within a STEM research model, and embedding professional development within a learning community of and for graduates-through-faculty. The teaching-as- research idea integrates research, teaching, and learning by guiding STEM educators to engage in their teaching as they engage in their research—know prior work, hypothesize, implement, collect data, analyze, and improve. Development of graduates-through-faculty is fostered in an interdisciplinary learning community that engages and connects all participants in improving their teaching. The diversity of such learning communities promotes understanding that learning of all is enhanced through diversity. The CIRTL Network is a learning community of diverse research universities mutually engaged in teaching-as-research activities to prepare future faculty in teaching and learning for all students. The CIRTL Network comprises six diverse research universities—the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU), Howard University, Michigan State University (MSU), Texas A&M University (TAMU), Vanderbilt University (VU), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW). The diversity of these institutions—private/public; large/moderate size; majority-/minority-serving; 1 geographic location—is by design. Building on the strengths of each institution, we are creating CIRTL learning communities both local to each university and across the Network. Goals of the CIRTL Network The goals of the CIRTL Network are to: • Establish interdisciplinary learning communities at every Network university, each founded on the CIRTL core ideas and each effectively preparing graduates-through-faculty to use and improve best practices in STEM teaching and learning with attention to diverse student audiences; • Establish a cross-network learning community by which graduates-through-faculty across the Network are better prepared for teaching as a consequence of the diversity of the universities; • Foster transitions from the Network learning communities into faculty positions that sustain the concepts, practices, and attitudes developed while graduate students or postdocs; • Enhance graduate education in teaching and learning at universities beyond the CIRTL Network. The long-range goal is to produce a national cohort of STEM graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who are launching new faculty careers at diverse institutions, demonstrably succeeding in promoting STEM learning for all, and actively engaging in improving teaching and learning practice. In 2009 the Network community further developed the CIRTL Learning Outcomes; the current document is presented in Appendix B. Three types of CIRTL program outcomes were envisioned: CIRTL Fellow, CIRTL Practitioner, and CIRTL Scholar. These three CIRTL outcomes recognize first the role of the CIRTL pillars in effective teaching and learning, then scholarly teaching that builds on the CIRTL pillars to demonstrably improve learning and make the results public, and finally scholarship that advances teaching and learning under peer review. In addition to clarifying and aligning evaluation initiatives across the Network, The level of Practitioner is the primary goal for future faculty in CIRTL Programs. Some will move on to Scholarship, and those at the Fellow level will have a foundation for further professional development thereafter. CIRTL program outcomes conceived in this way permit anyone to enter the CIRTL Network learning community from a wide variety of disciplines, needs, and past experiences, and to achieve success as a teacher at a wide variety of engagement. CIRTL Learning Communities at Network Universities The Delta Program demonstrated that a graduate-through-faculty learning community built on the CIRTL pillars is an effective approach at a research university both to improve preparation for teaching and to promote institutional change. Each member of the CIRTL Network is creating an interdisciplinary learning community for STEM graduates-through-faculty, each centered on preparing future faculty in teaching and learning and founded on the CIRTL pillars. The diversity 2 of the universities provides a diversity of approaches toward realizing professional development in teaching and learning. The collective outcomes include the enhancement of teaching and learning in the disciplines; an emphasis on effective teaching in STEM service courses; a predictive framework for professional development; integration of the learning sciences; development of skills for inquiry-based learning; and preparation of effective research mentors. The needs served by these diverse approaches are common to all research universities; the CIRTL Network allows the lessons learned at each university to be shared by all universities, within the Network and beyond. University of Colorado at Boulder The University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) is a flagship research university of the Rocky Mountain Region. It has long been a leader in preparing future faculty, as evidenced by its nationally recognized Graduate Teacher Program (GTP) that develops Lead Graduate Teachers (LGTs) in all STEM departments. The CIRTL ideas and network build on this strong foundation to enhance and extend STEM future faculty preparation at CU. Specifically, CU has created the CIRTL-based Teaching Institute for Graduate Education Research (TIGER) under the leadership of Laura Border (GTP) and Patricia Rankin (Physics) and is: • extending the training of STEM Lead Graduate Teachers to include the CIRTL pillars and discipline-specific pedagogy; • working with STEM Lead Graduate Teachers to develop graduate pedagogy courses in STEM departments to broaden the preparation of CU graduate students as future STEM faculty; • engaging STEM graduate students in the CIRTL Network through distance learning courses, the Network exchange program, and seed grants; At CU Boulder, during the 08-09 Academic Year, our local learning community, the TIGER Team (Laura Border, Patricia Rankin, Mike Klymkowsky, Noah Finkelstein, PJ Bennett, Michelle Trogdon, and Abby Watrous) met on a monthly basis to discuss 1) the implementation of our CIRTL/TIGER goals, to plan and assign work, and to assess our progress; 2) to discuss the current CITRL Network topics of interest, and 3) to discuss how to further integrate and disseminate the CIRTL pillars into the Lead Network and into faculty groups, such as the Discipline-Based Educational Research group on the Boulder campus. Additionally, Laura Border, PJ Bennett, and Michelle Trogdon met on a weekly basis to discuss, plan and carry out individual and shared tasks, and to discuss our communication with and contributions to the CIRTL Network. The TIGER Team has contributed to the CIRTL Network at the local learning community level and also at the cross network level: • We have continued to develop our TIGER workshops that focus on the CIRTL pillars, DBER topics, and local Boulder scientists’ teaching efforts. TIGER has hosted nearly 80 workshops since 2006. Workshop participation levels continue to rise slowly but steadily, indicating that we are having at least modest success in our CIRTL/TIGER outreach efforts. We have recently created a CIRTL/TIGER flyer/handout that can be given out at each workshop to participants as a marketing tool. In addition to our local program evaluation, 3 the most current information summarizing all TIGER workshop data has been uploaded into the central CIRTL Network database. • The TIGER Advisory Board, our local board to support the CIRTL project, met only once this past year. However, they did provide guidance on the project, suggesting that we work more closely with the local DBER faculty group in the STEM disciplines. We have worked toward building our local learning community with DBER and more recently ISTEM in ways that are consonant with our goals. • During 2008-09, TIGER initiated a study of courses on teaching on the Boulder campus, working with the STEM leads to identify departments with existing STEM college teaching courses for which we collected the syllabi. Currently there are 8 college teaching courses in the STEM disciplines, all of which are based on advocacy efforts accomplished by the lead graduate teachers in those disciplines. • TIGER awarded a grant to a former lead graduate teacher in Environmental Sciences to support the development of a new college teaching course that incorporates the CIRTL pillars. The TIGER Team met twice with the lead to provide feedback on drafts of the course plan and syllabus. A redraft of the course will be presented to the CU Boulder; discipline based educational research team for review in spring 2010, with plans to implement the course in fall 2010. • The TIGER team has begun to disseminate the CIRTL pillars throughout the Collaborative Preparing Future Faculty Network (COPFFN). STEM students participated in a PFF site visit to the Colorado School of Mines. Laura Border and PJ Bennett presented workshops that included CIRTL to a four-college consortium of STEM departments at a four-campus science faculty teacher training conference in southern Colorado. • TIGER Team members have taught cross-network courses online (Rankin will teach a CIRTL Network online course in spring 2010 as well) or provided necessary technological support; assisted with the Network Exchange Program; contributed to the development of the CIRTL portal’s new modules and functions and to the design and content of the CIRTL Café; helped to write the CIRTL Learning Outcomes document; and established a plan for local evaluation. The cross network comparison made progress: at CU Boulder we were able to give pre- and post-tests to the leads from 2008-09 and the pre-test to the leads for 2009-10 and to do an initial analysis of the data. We plan to encourage current students and CIRTL grads that are now postdoctoral research to use the CIRTL Café to increase discussion around ways to improve STEM education. Howard University Howard University has long since taken as a responsibility the dedication to a broader perspective on the role of graduate education in preparing students for diverse challenges in their careers. With respect to those graduate students who envision a career in the professoriate, we have committed substantial resources in developing experience in teaching and learning strategies in preparation for futures as professors. As one example, Howard initiated its Preparing Future Faculty program over 15 years ago, and to date over 300 doctoral students have completed the four semester program. Howard has also been engaged in numerous other initiatives in the renewal of graduate education including the Ph.D. 4 completion project, the Carnegie Foundation initiative on the doctorate, AGEP, graduate certificate programs, professional science masters programs, and our own Pre-Faculty Internship. Thus it is in this spirit that we have embraced the CIRTL concept and its drive to infuse the CIRTL network with an important perspective on the integration of research, teaching and learning. CIRTL-at- Howard is led by Folahan Ayorinde, Professor of Chemistry, and Wayne Patterson Professor of Computer Science and Office of the Dean, Howard University Graduate School. The most active initiative of CIRTL@Howard has been the development of a 3-credit graduate course, Effective Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning (ETTL), modeled on a similar course developed for the Delta Program, that has now been offered for the past three years. The course was first offered in spring 2008, and drew on expertise throughout the Network through distance-learning techniques; some classes were led by faculty from UW (Moses, Blanchard), the UW Center for Biology Education (Wolf), and CIRTL Central (Barnicle). Student participants developed teaching-as-research projects designed to improve high-impact undergraduate courses at Howard. ETTL is offered within the context of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning at Howard (CIRTL@Howard) in collaboration with the CIRTL Network. To date, 23 Howard graduate students have taken the ETTL course. ETTL’s main objective is to train graduate students on the use of instructional technologies in enhancing teaching and learning. Successful participation will provide students the ability to do the following: Choose appropriate technological tools based on learning needs, design and complete independent project in the effective use of learning technologies such as interactive web applications, streaming video, clickers, and course management tools, use technology to solve learning problems through Teaching-as-Research, use technology to solve learning problems through Learning communities, and collect data that demonstrate the impact of technology on learning outcomes at Howard. In spring 2009, CIRTL-at-Howard and the CIRTL Network jointly conducted the ETTL instruction to HU and UW students simultaneously at both campuses via web casting and forum postings. In the past year at Howard, 13 graduate students enrolled in ETTL: 4 from Preparing Future Faculty (PFF); 6 from Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP); and 3 from other programs. All 13 students are doctoral students, representing several HU Graduate school departments including: biology, chemistry, education, communication, social sciences and economics. A set of assessment questionnaires were developed to evaluate the effectiveness of the ETTL course offering. These questionnaires evaluated how well the course objectives were met and what needs to be improved in course offering to align course objectives, course shortcomings, and challenges students faced. From the assessment, we have learned: • What is clear is the ETTL participants had more positive understanding towards teaching- as-research, learning communities and learning-through-diversity and infusing technology in classroom instruction as they progressed through the program. The survey findings produced some evidence that HU doctoral students, particularly those who participated in ETTL are more inclined to collaborate with HU faculty members to improve instructional delivery and are more comfortable with using instructional technology in their own class instruction. 5 • HU doctoral students’ perceptions of ETTL objectives improved considerably by the end of the semester. In addition ETTL participants’ interests in conducting research; to improve the learning environment was well observed and documented in their research project design and findings. They exhibited a better understanding of using research to improve student outcomes, the three CIRTL pillars, and their survey responses indicated a better understanding of the role of instructional technologies and the desire and willingness to integrate specific instructional technology tools which they identified to improve instruction and learning outcomes. • In conclusion, findings derived and analyzed from ETTL participant responses indicated support for the CIRTL core principles, and that the course likely has an impact on doctoral students’ teaching and learning. As a result of their participation in the course, they are more willing to integrate technology in classroom instruction. Michigan State University: Changing the Culture of Graduate Education CIRTL at Michigan State University (MSU) is led by Professor Henry (Rique) Campa, Assistant Dean of The Graduate School and Professor of Wildlife Ecology. CIRTL opportunities in teaching and learning at MSU are embedded within a broader graduate student professional development program called PREP (Planning, Resilience, Engagement, and Professionalism; www.msu.edu/user/gradschl/cpd.htm). In fall 2006, MSU implemented the interdisciplinary FAST (Future Academic Scholars in Teaching) Fellowship Program, (grad.msu.edu/fast/), modeled after the highly successful Lilly Teaching Fellows Program for Faculty Development at MSU. FAST is a learning community of STEM graduate students preparing for academic positions. The FAST program provides opportunities for a diverse group of graduate students to participate in mentored teaching-as-research experiences. The Graduate School (GS) at Michigan State University (MSU) continued to offer or co-sponsor programs to support the career and professional development needs of graduate students and post- docs. These programs included: 1) Career Selection and Professional Skill Development Workshop Series, 2) Conflict Resolution Program, 3) Teaching Assistant Program, 4) Ph.D. Job Search Workshop Series, 5) Future Academic Scholars in Teaching (FAST ) Fellowship Program, and 6) NSF sponsored Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) Program. These programs are organized in the career and professional development model developed by the GS known as PREP (grad.msu.edu/prep/) (developed in 2005-2006). Each program targets PREP skills to help participants throughout their graduate and professional careers. In addition, PREP programs allow MSU to illustrate the importance and application of CIRTL pillars for the development of future faculty. Attendance in PREP programs remains high. These programs are obviously important to graduate students and post-docs since most programs fill within 48 hours of open registration. For example, over two years (i.e., 2007-2008 and 2008-2009), 6,310 participants (M.S. and Ph.D. students, and post-docs) took advantage of PREP programs. In program evaluations, students and post-docs continue to comment that they appreciate the openness of diverse presenters and the opportunity to interact with other graduate students and post-docs from other fields. The opportunities presented 6 through PREP are not available to many students and post-docs through their colleges or with mentors, especially those programs focused on learning through diversity and developing teaching- as-research projects. The 2008-2009 academic year was the third year for the FAST Program. Based on FAST Fellow post-program surveys and post-program interviews (conducted in 2008-2009) and PREP post- workshop evaluations, students comment that they are better aware of the expectations and skills required to compete for and be successful in academic positions in the future. Graduate students participating in PREP programs have opportunities to gain a greater understanding of the transferable skills that they need to take into their professional lives. Preliminary evidence from evaluations indicates that these programs are being effective in meeting this goal. Four years ago, graduate students had fewer opportunities to enhance their understanding of topics such as assessing teaching and learning in the classroom, expectations for tenure and promotion at various types of academic institutions, how to interpret academic job ads, achieving work-life balance in a professional position, and how learning is enhanced through diversity. Today, students have multiple opportunities to learn about these topics in programs that require relatively low levels of engagement to those that require more time. During March, 2009 the fourth cohort of FAST Fellows (10 Ph.D. students) was selected for 2009- 2010. Dr. Claudia Vergara is interviewing fellows to determine the impacts that participating in the program has had on their professional development. MSU’s FAST Fellows continue to transition into tenure track or fixed-term faculty positions (e.g., Lansing, Community College, North Carolina State, Univ. of Michigan, Univ. of Toronto). During 2009-2010, Drs. Campa, Stoddart and Vergara will analyze data and develop a manuscript highlighting the development and impacts of the Career Selection and Professional Skill Development Workshop Series on the professional preparation of graduate students. MSU is collaborating with the Univ. of Colorado and the Univ. of Wisconsin to evaluate the similarities, differences, and potential impacts of the capstone programs (FAST, Delta Interns, Graduate Teachers) each institution has for doctoral students to enhance their effectiveness in conducting teaching-as-research. A manuscript will be submitted in summer 2010. Drs. Judith Stoddart and Karen Klomparens are leading MSU’s Ph.D. Completion Grant from the CGS. As a result of this grant, there are numerous departments that are developing and integrating new professional development activities into their training and orientations for graduate students. These departments meet periodically to discuss planning and implementation activities. Another component of the grant is to mentor cohorts of graduate students through MSU’s Certification of College Teaching Program (CCTP). The intent of this program is that by having students work on activities (e.g., a teaching portfolio) as a learning community (with faculty) there will be more students completing the certification program in a timely manner than if they were pursuing it individually. During 2008-2009, Drs. Stoddart and Campa met with 12-15 students in the program to assist them develop teaching portfolios. Dr. Gillen-Daniel (Univ. of Wisconsin) and Drs. Campa and Stoddart have discussed the possibility of developing a cross-institutional study investigating the similarities and differences between certificate programs and evaluating teaching portfolios at the two institutions (using a common rubric). 7 Drs. Campa, Klomparens, and Stoddart have IRB approval to implement a new database and online workshop registration system in the GS to better evaluate who is participating in PREP programs. Demographic data collected through the registration system will be instrumental for evaluating the CIRTL Network and developing the CIRTL predictive framework for doctoral students. The GS Staff at MSU’s has completed “Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan: Essential Career Competencies for Ph.D.s”. The guide highlights the transferable skills that new Ph.D.s must develop, as graduate students, to make them competitive for future positions. Supporting evidence for skill development is provided by professionals who were interviewed for the guide. The guide will be available for distribution in January, 2010. In 2009, CIRTL will be integrated into a set of activities related to MSU’s most recent NSF grant: I-Cubed (Institution, Innovation, Integration) - Center for Academic and Future Faculty Excellence (CAFFE) to help prepare future faculty. CAFFE will be an integration of all professional development programs available at MSU focused on the preparation of future faculty (CIRTL, AGEP, PREP, Office of Faculty Organizational Development, and Post-doc Training in Plant Biology). CAFFE will use a “train-the-trainers” model to build capacity for professional development in departments. Texas A&M University CIRTL at Texas A&M University (TAMU) is led by Robert Webb, Professor of Physics and Interim Graduate Dean and Bruce Herbert, Professor of Biogeochemistry. TAMU has a longstanding interest in improving learning outcomes and graduation rates for a diverse undergraduate population in the STEM disciplines. A current high-priority university initiative is to bring inquiry-guided learning into STEM undergraduate classrooms (http://qep.tamu.edu). Educational research has shown that inquiry-based learning is one of the best pedagogical practices to support student development of important skills and competencies including learning with understanding, knowledge transfer, metacognitive strategies, problem-solving, and decision- making. Adapting and developing instructional materials that support inquiry-based learning for the university’s diverse student audience, and integrating them successfully into courses, will require a coordinated effort of graduates-through-faculty learning community that is based upon the CIRTL pillars. Graduate Teaching Academy (GTA): The GTA is a student led organization focused on graduate student professional development in the area of college teaching. TAMU CIRTL, along with the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), worked with the Graduate Teaching Academy (GTA) program’s steering committee members, in the development of GTA program outcomes. TAMU-CIRTL also aligned GTA program outcomes with CIRTL learning outcomes at the fellow level. GTA program goals were most closely aligned with the learning community and learning-through-diversity CIRTL pillars. TAMU-CIRTL in its interaction with GTA has been able to help GTA transform into a learning outcomes based professional program with specific goals. Also, as a result of the interaction, the structure of the program has changed from random professional development workshops to a more 8