MSUToday
Published: Nov. 11, 2019

MSU's newest STEM fellows

Contact(s): Val Osowski College of Natural Science office: (517) 432-4561 osowskiv@msu.edu

Eight Michigan State University faculty members were named to the fourth cohort of the successful STEM Teaching and Learning Fellowship this fall, supported by the National Science Foundation, or NSF, the MSU Provost’s Office, and the College of Natural Science to support faculty working to improve undergraduate STEM education.

Originally sponsored by an Association of American Universities grant with support from the MSU Provost’s Office to improve teaching in the gateway STEM courses, the fellowship focuses on teaching practices that engage students in three dimensional, or 3-D, learning—core ideas, science practices and crosscutting concepts—across all class levels. Faculty explore 3-D learning and then apply these concepts to create instructional materials and assessment items.

The fourth cohort includes eight faculty members from the Departments of Chemistry and Mathematics as well as the Program in Neuroscience and Lyman Briggs College; Rachel Barnard, chemistry; Valerie Hedges, neuroscience; Casey Henley, neuroscience;  Krystyna Kijewska, chemistry; Andrew Krause, mathematics; Ryan Maccombs, mathematics; Jennifer Taylor, neuroscience; and Chrysoula Vasileiou, chemistry. 

The program also includes faculty from Grand Valley State University, Florida International University and Kansas State University; these faculty join semi-monthly meetings via videoconferencing. Each cohort participates in the fellowship for two years.

As part of their semi-monthly cohort meetings, faculty develop instructional materials for their current classes that engage students in 3-D learning, receiving feedback from their cohort members and the fellowship’s principal investigators throughout the process. After they implement their materials in their classes, they use 3-D assessment tools to evaluate the extent to which their new lessons include all three dimensions—core ideas, science practices, and crosscutting concepts.

By the end of the fellowship, participants should be able to identify disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts and science practices that form the basis of the courses they teach and to apply the principles of backward design and evidence-centered design to assessment development to create assessment items that measure students’ three-dimensional learning. They will also fully join an interdisciplinary faculty community committed to improving undergraduate STEM education. 

For more information on the STEM Teaching and Learning Fellowship, visit the fellowship’s website.

MSU is implementing an innovative teaching and learning model known as three-dimensional, or 3-D, learning to help faculty create courses that allow students to engage in the same types of activities that scientists engage in. Photo by Harley Seeley.