Spreading teaching-reform efforts at the University of Arizona

Thursday 11:00am - 11:30am Brighton 1/2
Oral Presentation

Lisa Elfring, The University of Arizona
Jonathan Cox, The University of Arizona
It can be difficult for individuals within higher-education institutions to move their work in reformed, evidence-based instruction from the individual to an institutional-adoption level (Foote, Knaub, Henderson, Dancy, and Beichner, 2016). Institutional culture is created from a distinct collection of institutional and individual faculty values and goals, so the pathways institutions take to create sustainable instructional change differ. The literature on change has described cases that originate with faculty in their desire for improved learning based on student outcomes (Henderson 2005); from funding that focuses on systematically improving instructional practices in a department (Wieman, 2017); and from administrative priorities to focus on improving learning (Borrego and Henderson, 2014). At the University of Arizona, we are several years into a change process that began with individual faculty members in various STEM departments designing changes to teaching practices and curriculum (Offerdahl, Baldwin, Elfring, Vierling, and Ziegler, 2008; Talanquer and Pollard, 2010; Wallace, Prather, and Duncan, 2011). An AAU-STEM undergraduate education grant in 2014 helped to spread innovation to several additional departments and faculty learning communities developed through this project have now expanded beyond STEM disciplines. Increased discussion of and collaboration around teaching catalyzed a demand for more innovative teaching spaces, and the campus has developed strategies to renovate traditional spaces toward more collaborative spaces. Demand for these spaces has further increased awareness of evidence-based teaching methods and the need for structured teams of learning assistants to support student learning when evidence-based approaches are used in these spaces. We will discuss the interactions of factors on our campus that are contributing to a culture change around teaching and learning in the STEM disciplines and beyond.

Presentation Media

Elfring_Cox oral presentation (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 40kB Apr3 19)