NDSU receives major grant to transform STEM teaching and student learning
Published October 12, 2015
NDSU has received funding from the National Science Foundation to change how science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses are taught at the university. The ultimate goal is to help more students succeed in challenging courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The five-year, $2.63 million grant will be used to train faculty members on a set of student-centered teaching approaches called active learning. Rather than attending a lecture and passively taking notes, students in active-learning classrooms participate in discussion and problem solving, often working in small groups.
NDSU received a major grant to change how science, technology, engineering and math are taught and to help more students succeed. Increasing the number of faculty members who use student-centered teaching approaches called active learning will make NDSU a national leader in this area.
Some NDSU faculty members already use active learning, and expanding the practice across STEM disciplines will make NDSU a national leader in this area. It is expected to benefit more than 10,000 NDSU students in the short term and many more in the future.
Research shows that students do better when they interact with the instructor and other students. Active-learning teaching strategies create the interactions that lead to better outcomes. Students are more likely to complete classes, earn good grades, develop good study habits and have positive attitudes toward learning, all of which contribute to overall success in college.
The grant also has a research component. Grant recipients will collect and analyze student and teacher data, with the goal of enhancing best practices in active learning. The research has the potential to influence STEM educational training programs throughout the country and world.
NDSU's new Office of Teaching and Learning is leading the project. It provides training for faculty members and graduate teaching assistants, and on-going professional development. It also prepares faculty members for teaching in the new STEM Classroom and Lab Building, which is designed for active learning. The STEM Building will open for classes in January 2016.
NDSU faculty and staff members who received the grant and will lead the effort are:
- Paul Kelter, professor and director of the Office of Teaching and Learning
- Mark Hanson, research analyst, Institutional Research and Analysis
- James Nyachwaya, assistant professor of education and chemistry
- Jared Ladbury, assistant professor of practice, psychology
- Lisa Montplaisir, associate professor of biological sciences
Other faculty members and staff who will work on the project include:
- Amy Rupiper Taggart, professor of English and director of general education
- Emily Berg, director, Institutional Research and Analysis
- Mila Kryjevskaia, associate professor of physics
The project is funded by Award No. 1525056 from the National Science Foundation.