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Aug. 29, 2018

Twelve MSU faculty members named to third cohort of STEM Fellows

Twelve MSU faculty members from the College of Natural Science have been selected for the fall 2018 cohort of MSU’s STEM Teaching and Learning Fellowship, a program funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and additional support from MSU’s Office of the Provost.

Building on work that began six years ago and was funded by the Association of American Universities, MSU is implementing an innovative teaching and learning model known as 3-D learning supported by a five-year grant from NSF. The project, Extending a Coherent Gateway to STEM Teaching and Learning, is a collaborative initiative between the College of Natural Science, Lyman Briggs College and partner institutions.

“The program’s first two cohorts were focused on faculty who teach the gateway courses. With this cohort, we’ve expanded the program to faculty who teach 200- and 300-level courses,” said Cori Fata-Hartley, College of Natural Science assistant dean for curriculum coordination and co-principal investigator on the project. “This will help us to continue to align the curricula vertically across different programs and across different disciplines.”

“This fellowship provides an opportunity for me to examine my teaching and identify ways of engaging students to a greater degree,” said Louise Mead, one of the fellows. She is an evolutionary biologist and education director of the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action.

Another fellow, Devin Silvia, is a teaching specialist in the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering with a background in computational astrophysics. Using simulations, he studies how the gas between and around galaxies evolves with time.

“I believe that every student in my courses is capable of succeeding and I try to design my courses to benefit all of my students, not just those who are likely to succeed regardless of the quality of the instructor,” Silvia said. “This fellowship is another step along my path as a committed educator.”

The overarching goal of the program is to improve undergraduate STEM courses by engaging faculty in conversations about core ideas of the discipline and how students should be able to use those ideas combined with science practices and crosscutting concepts to explain phenomena and solve problems.

“From the previous cohorts, we’ve learned how to improve the experience for faculty,” Fata-Hartley said. “We are continuing to develop materials and approaches within the fellowship to engage faculty. The grant will also allow us to evaluate the effectiveness and the impact of the fellowship on the incorporation of three-dimensional learning in these courses.”

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