Wayne State University (WSU) is an urban research-intensive university whose student body reflects the diversity of the metro Detroit area. The primary goal of this project is to support the broad implementation of Evidence-Based Teaching Methods (EBTMs) across the STEM disciplines on campus, and by doing so, to support student persistence within STEM majors, improve the 6-year graduation rate of STEM undergraduates, and enable graduates to be more effective in the 21st century workplace.
Phase 1 of the project involves a critical self-assessment of current teaching practices on campus including STEM faculty attitudes toward and knowledge of EBTMs. Comparisons of self-reported usage of EBTMs to classroom video observations scored using objective measures of classroom activity take place during this phase. In phase 2, the development and implementation of a series of professional development activities aim at broadening the awareness of EBTMs and assisting faculty with their adoption. Additional survey work will assess the impact of the interventions on attitudes and observational work on classroom pedagogy usage. Phase 3 involves the development of an institutional plan for the broad implementation across the 26 foundational courses identified in 4 primary disciplines (Biology, Chemistry, Math and Physics) with an enrollment of approximately 7000 students per semester. Concurrently during the 3-phase plan, metrics for longitudinal tracking of students through the STEM curricula will be developed to: a) understand better how students interface with the degree programs; b) identify critical points within our majors where specific interventions can be developed to improve student outcomes; and c) determine if appropriate developmental curricula are in place and whether the appropriate guidance is provided to students in a timely fashion to maximize student success.