My Interest in ASCN: Scott Simkins
North Carolina A & T State University
Prior Organizational Change Work
As discussed above, I was the teaching center director at NC A&T State University for the past 12 years, returning to the economics department in January, 2016. During my time leading the teaching center (in the Provost Office) I worked with faculty members in mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics to promote and implement evidence-based teaching practices in a variety of undergraduate courses, including SCALE-UP, Math Emporium, and POGIL implementations. I worked closely with the Dean's office in the College of Arts and Sciences to support these pedagogical innovation projects. In addition, I regularly led workshops on evidence-based teaching practices, including Just-in-Time Teaching (this is an area in which I have led NSF-funded research), and led NC A&T's involvement in the NC PKAL Network. In addition, during this time I helped to lead TWO comprehensive re-formulations of the general education curriculum at the university, the second as chair of the university general education council.
How ASCN Can Contribute to my Work
I am a member of the ASCN Steering Committee identified in the NSF proposal. I have been conducting NSF-funded research aimed at diffusing research-based teaching practices within economics. In particular, my interest (along with a co-PI, Mark Maier, Glendale Community College) has been in adapting pedagogical innovations developed in STEM disciplines for use in economics. Mark and I have led four NSF projects since 2004 with this goal. In my role as a teaching center director for 12 years at A&T I was an institutional catalyst for change in undergraduate STEM education and worked with faculty members in mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics to promote and integrate research-based instruction in the curriculum. Since January, 2016 I am back in the economics department, promoting research-based teaching practices in the department and school; in addition, I continue to work with STEM faculty to promote these teaching practices more widely across the institution.
How I Can Contribute to ASCN
As an economist and teaching center director, I have written and presented on the challenge of diffusing evidence-based teaching practices more widely across institutions and disciplines, in particular thinking about the marginal costs and (expected) marginal benefits involved in the "change" process for individual faculty members. Thinking about issues of change from a behavioral economics point of view is useful in looking for ways accelerate system change within and across institutions. I expect to work on this aspect of the ASCN project going forward.