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  1. Bauerle, Cynthia (Ed.)
    Most science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) departments inadequately evaluate teaching, which means they are not equipped to recognize or reward effective teaching. As part of a project at one institution, we observed that departmental chairs needed help recognizing the decisions they would need to make to improve teaching evaluation practices. To meet this need, we developed the Guides to Advance Teaching Evaluation (GATEs), using an iterative development process. The GATEs are designed to be a planning tool that outlines concrete goals to guide reform in teaching evaluation practices in STEM departments at research-intensive institutions. The GATEs are grounded in the available scholarly literature and guided by existing reform efforts and have been vetted with STEM departmental chairs. The GATEs steer departments to draw on three voices to evaluate teaching: trained peers, students, and the instructor. This research-based resource includes three components for each voice: 1) a list of departmental target practices to serve as goals; 2) a characterization of common starting places to prompt reflection; and 3) ideas for getting started. We provide anecdotal examples of potential uses of the GATEs for reform efforts in STEM departments and as a research tool to document departmental practices at different timemore »points.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
  2. Abstract Background

    STEM instructors who leverage student thinking can positively influence student outcomes and build their own teaching expertise. Leveraging student thinking involves using the substance of student thinking to inform instruction. The ways in which instructors leverage student thinking in undergraduate STEM contexts, and what enables them to do so effectively, remains largely unexplored. We investigated how undergraduate STEM faculty leverage student thinking in their teaching, focusing on faculty who engage students in work during class.

    Results

    From analyzing interviews and video of a class lesson for eight undergraduate STEM instructors, we identified a group of instructors who exhibited high levels of leveraging student thinking (high-leveragers) and a group of instructors who exhibited low levels of leveraging student thinking (low-leveragers). High-leveragers behaved as if student thinking was central to their instruction. We saw this in how they accessed student thinking, worked to interpret it, and responded in the moment and after class. High-leveragers spent about twice as much class time getting access to detailed information about student thinking compared to low-leveragers. High-leveragers then altered instructional plans from lesson to lesson and during a lesson based on their interpretation of student thinking. Critically, high-leveragers also drew on much more extensive knowledge ofmore »student thinking, a component of pedagogical content knowledge, than did low-leveragers. High-leveragers used knowledge of student thinking to create access to more substantive student thinking, shape real-time interpretations, and inform how and when to respond. In contrast, low-leveragers accessed student thinking less frequently, interpreted student thinking superficially or not at all, and never discussed adjusting the content or problems for the following lesson.

    Conclusions

    This study revealed that not all undergraduate STEM instructors who actively engage students in work during class are also leveraging student thinking. In other words, not all student-centered instruction is student-thinking-centered instruction. We discuss possible explanations for why some STEM instructors are leveraging student thinking and others are not. In order to realize the benefits of student-centered instruction for undergraduates, we may need to support undergraduate STEM instructors in learning how to learn from their teaching experiences by leveraging student thinking.

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  3. There has been a recent push for greater collaboration across the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in discipline-based education research (DBER). The DBER fields are unique in that they require a deep understanding of both disciplinary content and educational research. DBER scholars are generally trained and hold professional positions in discipline-specific departments. The professional societies with which DBER scholars are most closely aligned are also often discipline specific. This frequently results in DBER researchers working in silos. At the same time, there are many cross-cutting issues across DBER research in higher education, and DBER researchers across disciplines can benefit greatly from cross-disciplinary collaborations. This report describes the Breaking Down Silos working meeting, which was a short, focused meeting intentionally designed to foster such collaborations. The focus of Breaking Down Silos was institutional transformation in STEM education, but we describe the ways the overall meeting design and structure could be a useful model for fostering cross-­disciplinary collaborations around other research priorities of the DBER community. We describe our approach to meeting recruitment, premeeting work, and inclusive meeting design. We also highlight early outcomes from our perspective and the perspectives of the meeting participants.