Teaching Excellence in STEM Faculty Fellows Program
In 2019-2020, the Center for Teaching & Learning will pilot a Teaching Excellence in STEM Faculty Fellows program. In this first year, the teaching focus will be on writing in STEM, with different foci in subsequent years.
- To learn about the most effective ways to structure a Faculty Fellows program to enhance STEM teaching at Boston University
- To encourage evidence-based and innovative teaching in undergraduate STEM classes
- To leverage the expertise of excellent STEM teachers to motivate and support their colleagues in adopting new pedagogical or curricular approaches
- To build the CTL’s relationship with STEM departments through jointly developed programming and resources
Selection of the first cohort: In this pilot year, Binyomin Abrams (Master Lecturer in Chemistry and 2015 Metcalf Award winner) will recruit and lead a cohort of three or four other Faculty Fellows in enhancing their teaching through incorporating more writing in their undergraduate classes. Their participation will be subject to approval by department chairs.
Incentives: It is important to find ways to clear time for faculty if they are to contribute substantively to the teaching of writing in their departments as they continue to teach and do research. We hope that the following incentives will motivate the first cohort of STEM Faculty Fellows to participate:
- Release from all or most other service to their departments for the year
- Over-base pay or research funds to support graduate student researchers
- Support from the CTL and the Writing Program. The Writing Program’s Associate Director for Writing in the Disciplines, David Shawn, will work closely with Binyomin to create a reading list, attend meetings, advise on programming, and collaborate on creating effective resources tailored to teaching writing in STEM.
Responsibilities: The purpose of this pilot is to learn from STEM faculty what kinds of resources or experiences will be most effective for transforming their own classes and for encouraging innovative pedagogy among their colleagues. It is by design that the Fellows’ responsibilities are only loosely outlined for this pilot year:
- Fellows will meet regularly to read and discuss scholarship on writing pedagogy and writing in STEM and to explore Dr. Abrams’s successful Chemical Writing Program. They will incorporate a modest amount of writing into their AY 19-20 classes with the goal of gaining experience with the evidence-based writing pedagogies they are learning about and bringing manageable and effective practices back to their departments.
- Fellows will create a new course or revise an existing course that supports students in writing in their discipline. Preference is given to the development or revision of upper-level courses.
- Fellows will participate in other programming to be determined, which might include conducting peer-to-peer non-evaluative teaching observations; attending a conference together; visiting faculty at other institutions; creating custom workshops, reading groups, or TF training for STEM departments; and creating resources related to the project to be shared through the CTL and/or Teaching of Writing websites such as a disciplinary writing guide or curricular materials based on disciplinary genres.
Each year, we will identify another STEM pedagogy focus in keeping with institutional priorities. We will build on what we learn in this pilot year to adjust the incentive, programming, and responsibilities for maximum impact, and we will institute an application process that we hope will be competitive.