Translating Theory Into Practice for Widespread Change: The TRESTLE Initiative

Friday 10:55 am – 11:20 am PT / 11:55 am – 12:20 pm MT / 12:55 pm – 1:20 pm CT / 1:55 pm – 2:20 pm ET Online
Concurrent Session

Andrea Greenhoot, University of Kansas Main Campus
Caroline Bennett, University of Kansas Main Campus
Mark Mort, University of Kansas Main Campus
Stephanie Chasteen, University of Colorado at Boulder

The TRESTLE (Transforming Education, Stimulating Teaching & Learning Excellence) initiative was developed as a multi-institutional intervention across six universities to promote broad adoption of evidence-based and inclusive teaching practices in undergraduate education. TRESTLE was an extension of the successful Science Education Initiative (SEI; Wieman, 2017), in which of discipline-based educational specialists (DBESs) are embedded within departments as catalysts of change, collaborating with faculty on student-centered course transformation. In TRESTLE we sought to implement and study an adaptation of the SEI model designed to be more financially feasible and generalizable to more institutions, while building on insights from that substantial effort. To promote meaningful change through a smaller investment in embedded expertise (fewer experts per department), we looked to the change literature to inform the design of additional intervention components. Those additional components included: building intellectual communities that amplify the effects of the embedded experts; and making evidence of the impact of course transformations visible within the communities, to influence social norms and propel further change. Each partner university implemented a model variation adapted to their institutional context, and we used a combination of quantitative and case study evaluation methods to determine the success of the overall model and its localized adaptations.

In this session, we will describe how we used research and theory on change to design the intervention model and its local variations, and to guide our ongoing refinements of the interventions in response to challenges that emerged over time. We will also share results from our ongoing assessments of the impact and sustainability of our interventions, and what they can tell us about change theories. Additional discussion will center on generalizable principles for translating ideas from the change literature into practical implementation, as well as how to contextualize those practices to align with local institutional cultures.