Papers in the Biological Sciences
Benefits of a College STEM Faculty Development Initiative: Instructors Report Increased and Sustained Implementation of Research-Based Instructional Strategies
Date of this Version
Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education Volume 21, Number 2 1-18
The Summer Institutes on Scientific Teaching (SI) is a faculty development workshop in which science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instructors, particularly from biology, are trained in the Scientific Teaching (ST) pedagogy. While participants have generally reported positive experiences, we aimed to assess how the SI affected participants’ teaching practices. Building on a previously developed taxonomy of ST practices, we surveyed SI participants from the 2004–2014 SI classes regarding specific ST practices. Participants’ self-reported use and implementation of ST practices increased immediately after SI attendance as well as over a longer time frame, suggesting that implementation persisted and even increased with time. However, instructors reported implementation gains for some practices more than others. The practices with the highest gains were engaging students in their own learning, using learning goals in course design, employing formative assessment, developing overarching course learning goals, representing science as a process, and facilitating group discussion activities. We propose that the ST practices showing the greatest gains may serve as beneficial focal points for professional development programs, while practices with smaller gains may require modified dissemination approaches or support structures.