This Widening Implementation & Demonstration of Evidence-Based Reforms (WIDER) award is providing the College of Natural Sciences at California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB) with a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) that is identifying, studying, and piloting evidence-based teaching practices in this University's areas of greatest need. In light of rapidly increasing enrollments and declining budgets, CSUSB seeks to develop and implement new teaching methods that improve student learning, and retention.
The decision to create a FLC is based on evidence that FLCs are a more effective form of faculty professional development than other approaches. The FLC is focusing on improving teaching in large classes, employing online instructional methods, promoting engaged learning activities, using co-curricular activities, working with diverse populations, implementing appropriate assessment techniques, and evaluating teaching. Eight specific gateway courses with large enrollments and particularly high failure rates are the initial focus of the project. Thereafter, the FLC is collecting data to identify the extent to which faculty in the college use evidence-based teaching practices. The FLC is studying best practices in strategic planning and organizational change in order to develop a model for how evidence-based teaching practices can be adopted throughout the college and university.
The goal of this project is to spread the most promising practices throughout CSUSB, thus improving student achievement. CSUSB is a Hispanic Serving Institution; the College of Natural Sciences has a 50% Hispanic population, 22% other minority groups population, and 61% female population. The results of this project hold promise to benefit STEM programs throughout the state and the Nation, especially as CSUSB disseminates information about evidence-based teaching practices in STEM disciplines and shares lessons learned about facilitating change in teaching practices.