Faculty Development

In order to improve the learning outcomes (and consequently the graduation rates) of STEM majors at SHSU, the STEM center will educate, train, and encourage the use of evidence-based instruction techniques in the classrooms across all STEM disciplines.  Broadly speaking, this type of instruction has come to be known as active learning.

The use of active learning techniques in the university classroom is a proven and widely accepted strategy to improve learning outcomes and increase student engagement.  Although relatively new to higher education pedagogy, active learning has been adopted by several faculty members at SHSU, from such seemingly distinct fields as mathematics, english, and philosophy.  This proposed initiative seeks to expand the use of this evidence-based teaching strategy across the rest of our campus.  

The positive effects of active learning have been observed both nationwide {link to Springer and Freeman} and on our campus.  An initiative on our campus which encourages, fosters, and rewards more active learning in our classrooms has the potential to not only improve the learning outcomes and engagement of our students, but also to contribute to the body of evidence on the effects of these teaching methods.

The use of active learning takes on many forms in the university classroom, although all share the common characteristic of avoiding a traditional classroom lecture from an instructor.  Rather than simply transferring information from a lecturer to the students, active learning techniques require the students to be actively involved in the learning process.  These learning techniques have been partially categorized in education literature as collaborative, cooperative, or project-based learning {link to Prince}.  Whether these techniques have taken the form of  flipped classrooms, peer-led team learning, or inquiry-based learning, they have already seen success across our campus in classrooms as varied as chemistry, history, mathematics, english, and philosophy.  The STEM Center will foster the development of more active learning classrooms in the STEM disciplines.

Please see this space for further announcements of faculty development opportunities, or contact the STEM Center directly.

Summer Prep Courses

The STEM Center has identified several courses required of STEM majors which have proven to be traditionally difficult for SHSU students.  In order to increase the content knowledge, leaning outcomes and performance of first-year STEM students in these courses, the STEM Center will design several short courses — freely available to students — specially designed for this purpose.

Using materials designed by the Charles A. Dana Center, not only all students’ content knowledge increase, but their capacity for success in the university environment will also improve.  

Beginning in Fall 2018, STEM majors enrolling in precalculus courses will be invited to enroll in these specially-designed courses.  In later semesters, courses will be designed to improve performance in calculus and general chemistry.  More details will follow.

For more information, please email STEMCenter@shsu.edu