UA Awarded AAU Grant to Further Active Learning
The UA is one of 12 AAU-member institutions to receive funding to further existing efforts to improve undergraduate education as part of the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative.
The University of Arizona's ongoing development of evidence-based teaching practices and the collaborative learning space initiative has earned financial support from the Association of American Universities.
The UA is one of 12 AAU-member institutions to receive funding to further existing efforts to improve undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines as part of the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative.
The $20,000 "mini-grants" are made possible by a five-year, $1 million grant from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, which supports diverse and sustainable national programs to enhance STEM education for students and provide STEM teachers with the training and tools they need to be successful in the classroom.
"Our universities are committed to improving the effectiveness of undergraduate STEM teaching and learning," said AAU President Mary Sue Coleman. "The AAU is thrilled to partner with the Northrop Grumman Foundation to help support innovative STEM education reforms at our universities."
Since 2014, the UA has converted 31 classrooms into collaborative learning spaces, with 713 faculty members teaching in those spaces. More than 300 faculty members have worked together in faculty learning communities.
"Our initial efforts focused on individual faculty who were early adopters of active learning," said Gail Burd, senior vice provost of academic affairs, teaching and learning at the UA. "Now, we seek to enhance widespread adoption of evidence-based teaching practices by supporting departmental co-teaching partnerships."
The UA plans to use these funds to develop, implement and study co-teaching in foundational courses by four pairs of faculty in STEM departments. This professional development will take place within the department, pairing an experienced active-learning faculty member with a faculty member from the same department new to active-learning. The project will promote reflective practice regarding teaching and create spaces to discuss evidence of learning and student success prior to, during and after the class offering.
"A critical feature of our project is that department heads must provide support for the project and provide sustained encouragement for improved teaching and enhanced learning," Burd said.
Since 2011, the AAU STEM Education Initiative has sought to encourage STEM departments at AAU universities to use teaching practices proven to be effective in engaging students.
Other universities receiving funding include Brandeis University, Case Western Reserve University, Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Indiana University, New York University, Stony Brook University, the University of Maryland, the University of Oregon, the University of Toronto and Washington University in St. Louis.
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