Initial Publication Date: September 18, 2018

Collectively Improving Our Teaching: A department-wide professional development program resulting in widespread change

A Change Café Webinar

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

9:00 am PT | 10:00 am MT | 11:00 am CT | 12:00 pm ET

Presenter: Kimberly Tanner (San Francisco State University)

Registration is closed.


Many efforts to improve teaching in higher education focus on a few faculty members at an institution at a time, with limited published evidence on attempts to engage faculty across entire departments. In this webinar, we give an example of a program which achieved the widespread faculty engagement that is often lacking. We created a long-term, department-wide collaborative professional development program, Biology Faculty Explorations in Scientific Teaching (Biology FEST). Over three years of Biology FEST, 89% of the department's faculty completed a weeklong Scientific Teaching Institute, and 83% of eligible instructors participated in additional semester-long follow-up programs. We will share a variety of evidence showing that a majority of Biology FEST alumni adding active learning to their courses (including self-report, survey, and decibal analysis), that this engagement was sustained, as was a sense of belonging in the department. We will share insights from our change story for other campuses wanting to spark widespread change in teaching practices – including ways to move away from a "deficit" model of faculty learning, towards positive support of instructor professional identity.


This webinar is designed for those engaged in faculty professional development, such as disciplinary, and institutional change makers (e.g., department chairs, vice provosts, administrators, educational developers, faculty learning community facilitators, disciplinary association members and leaders). It may have particular interest for those who have attempted to create faculty learning communities or departmentally-based efforts of change.


Participants will:

  • Learn about the change story of a long-term, departmental program, and
  • Reflect on how widespread change in teaching practices can be initiated and sustained.


Registration is closed.

Time - 9:00 am PT | 10:00 am MT | 11:00 am CT | 12:00 pm ET
Duration - 60 minutes
Format - Online web presentation via Zoom web meeting software with questions and discussion. Go to the webinar technology page for more information on using Zoom. Detailed instructions for joining the webinar will be emailed to registered participants one day prior to the webinar.
Preparation - There is no advance preparation required for this webinar.

Please email Mitchell Awalt (mawalt at if you have any technical questions about this event.


Dr. Kimberly Tanner is a tenured Professor of Biology at San Francisco State University (SFSU). Her laboratory – SEPAL: the Science Education Partnership and Assessment Laboratory – investigates what is challenging to learn in biology, how biologists choose to teach, and how to make equity, diversity, and inclusion central in science education efforts. Her research, science education partnership, and faculty professional development efforts at SFSU have been funded by more than $9 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Trained as a neurobiologist with postdoctoral studies in science education, Dr. Tanner is a proud first-generation college-going student. She earned her BA in Biochemistry from Rice University, her PhD in Neuroscience from UCSF, and completed a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology Education (PFSMETE) jointly between Stanford University and UCSF. Dr. Tanner has been nationally and internationally recognized for both her research and her teaching in biology. She is an Elected Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences and the American Society of Cell Biology. Additionally, she has received the 2012 National Outstanding Undergraduate Science Teacher Award from the Society for College Science Teachers, the 2017 Bruce Alberts Science Education Award from the American Society for Cell Biology, the 2018 SFSU Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the 2018 UCSF Audacious Alumni Award. Dr. Tanner is a proud first-generation college-going student.

Stephanie Chasteen
University of Colorado at Boulder
Dr. Stephanie Chasteen is a physicist, research associate at the University of Colorado Boulder and active consultant, with a focus on supporting faculty adoption of evidence-based teaching practices. She is the Associate Director of the Science Education Initiative, where she began as a postdoctoral fellow in Physics. She is now the PI of the TRESTLE project at CU Boulder, helping to leverage the existing expertise built through the SEI to support further change at the institution. Stephanie has strategically avoided a faculty track, and considers herself a change agent and academic "at large," providing expertise and woman-power to support broad change in STEM education. Read more »


Webinar Slides (Acrobat (PDF) 16.9MB Nov8 18)

1) Welcome and introductory marks - Stephanie Chasteen

2) Presentation - Kimberly Tanner

3) Q&A - Stephanie Chasteen

4) Webinar evaluation

Resources and References

Click to view the webinar screencast (MP4 Video 132.5MB Nov7 18).