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  1. Abstract Background

    The University of California system has a novel tenure-track education-focused faculty position called Lecturer with Security of Employment (working titles: Teaching Professor or Professor of Teaching). We focus on the potential difference in implementation of active-learning strategies by faculty type, including tenure-track education-focused faculty, tenure-track research-focused faculty, and non-tenure-track lecturers. In addition, we consider other instructor characteristics (faculty rank, years of teaching, and gender) and classroom characteristics (campus, discipline, and class size). We use a robust clustering algorithm to determine the number of clusters, identify instructors using active learning, and to understand the instructor and classroom characteristics in relation to the adoption of active-learning strategies.


    We observed 125 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) undergraduate courses at three University of California campuses using the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM to examine active-learning strategies implemented in the classroom. Tenure-track education-focused faculty are more likely to teach with active-learning strategies compared to tenure-track research-focused faculty. Instructor and classroom characteristics that are also related to active learning include campus, discipline, and class size. The campus with initiatives and programs to support undergraduate STEM education is more likely to have instructors who adopt active-learning strategies. There is no difference in instructors inmore »the Biological Sciences, Engineering, or Information and Computer Sciences disciplines who teach actively. However, instructors in the Physical Sciences are less likely to teach actively. Smaller class sizes also tend to have instructors who teach more actively.


    The novel tenure-track education-focused faculty position within the University of California system represents a formal structure that results in higher adoption of active-learning strategies in undergraduate STEM education. Campus context and evolving expectations of the position (faculty rank) contribute to the symbols related to learning and teaching that correlate with differential implementation of active learning.

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  2. Abstract Background

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many universities moved to emergency remote teaching (ERT). This allowed institutions to continue their instruction despite not being in person. However, ERT is not without consequences. For example, students may have inadequate technological supports, such as reliable internet and computers. Students may also have poor learning environments at home and may need to find added employment to support their families. In addition, there are consequences to faculty. It has been shown that female instructors are more disproportionately impacted in terms of mental health issues and increased domestic labor. This research aims to investigate instructors’ and students’ perceptions of their transition to ERT. Specifically, during the transition to ERT at a research-intensive, Minority-Serving Institution (MSI), we wanted to: (1) Identify supports and barriers experienced by instructors and students. (2) Compare instructors’ experiences with the students’ experiences. (3) Explore these supports and barriers within the context ofsocial presence,teaching presence, and/orcognitive presenceas well as how these supports and barriers relate toscaffoldingin STEM courses.


    Instructors identified twice as many barriers as supports in their teaching during the transition to ERT and identified casual and formal conversations with colleagues as valuable supports. Emerging categories for barriers consisted of academicmore »integrity concerns as well as technological difficulties. Similarly, students identified more barriers than supports in their learning during the transition to ERT. More specifically, students described pre-existing course structure, classroom technology, and community as best supporting their learning. Barriers that challenged student learning included classroom environment, student availability, and student emotion and comfort.


    Together, this research will help us understand supports and barriers to teaching and learning during the transition to ERT. This understanding can help us better plan and prepare for future emergencies, particularly at MSIs, where improved communication and increased access to resources for both students and instructors are key.

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  3. ABSTRACT While many STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) instructors returned to in-person instruction in fall 2021, others found themselves continuing to teach via online, hybrid, or hybrid flexible (i.e., hyflex) formats. Regardless of one’s instructional modality, the findings from our own and other studies provided insight into effective strategies for increasing student engagement and decreasing cognitive overload. As part of this perspective, we included data from undergraduate students, many of whom are first generation and low income and from marginalized backgrounds, to identify instructional practices that helped them thrive and succeed during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, we explored the various pedagogies and technologies utilized during emergency remote teaching to identify best practices as we considered the future of teaching. In sharing best practices at our institution, we aimed to provide a framework for deep reflection among the readers and the identification of practices to start, stop, and/or continue at their own institutions.
  4. Abstract Students are more likely to learn in college science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classrooms when instructors use teacher discourse moves (TDMs) that encourage student engagement and learning. However, although teaching practices are well studied, TDMs are not well understood in college STEM classrooms. In STEM courses at a minority-serving institution (MSI; n = 74), we used two classroom observation protocols to investigate teaching practices and TDMs across disciplines, instructor types, years of teaching experience, and class size. We found that instructors guide students in active learning activities, but they use authoritative discourse approaches. In addition, chemistry instructors presented more than biology instructors. Also, teaching faculty had relatively high dialogic, interactive discourse, and neither years of faculty teaching experience nor class size had an impact on teaching practices or TDMs. Our results have implications for targeted teaching professional development efforts across instructor and course characteristics to improve STEM education at MSIs.