Public Release: 

$3 million NSF grant to transform STEM teaching approaches at Wayne State University

Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research

DETROIT - The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $3 million grant to Wayne State University for an institutional transformation project aimed at reformulating teaching approaches in STEM courses.

The grant, Student Success Through Evidence-based Pedagogies (SSTEP), will be divided into competitive awards of up to $100,000 and allocated to STEM departments. Successful departments will work to transform their classes from a lecture-based curriculum to incorporate more evidence-based instructional practices. Through this program, students will experience engaged learning while faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students will be trained in modern, evidence-based teaching methods.

"This grant will have a remarkable impact on our teaching approaches across campus and will ultimately improve the academic success of our students," said Andrew Feig, principal investigator, associate dean of the Graduate School and professor of chemistry at WSU. "The NSF is investing in us to demonstrate that these types of institutional grants can help us provide better outcomes for our students and serve as a model for improving STEM education nationwide."

"This grant will create a culture of evidence-based teaching approaches in STEM areas at WSU, and ultimately engage more students in choosing STEM majors, decreasing their time-to-degree and building their career and future educational opportunities," said Gloria Heppner, associate vice president for Research at Wayne State. "With a large portion of our student body comprised of non-traditional and underrepresented minorities, improved teaching practices will lead to significant increases in retention and graduation rates of these students."

Other College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) faculty members leading the SSTEP grant include Robert Bruner, professor of mathematics; Karen Myhr, professor of biology; and Peter Hoffmann, CLAS associate dean and professor of physics. Mathew Ouellett, director of WSU's Office of Teaching and Learning, also served as a co-principal investigator on the proposal.

This award expands on the NSF-WIDER grant bestowed upon WSU in 2013. The original grant was a self-study of teaching practices used in WSU classrooms and an exploration of the opportunities and barriers toward the implementation of interactive, student-centered pedagogies on campus.

The award number for this NSF grant is 1524878.

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About Wayne State University, http://www.wayne.edu

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students. Its School of Medicine is the largest single-campus medical school in the nation with more than 1,200 medical students. In addition to undergraduate medical education, the school offers master's degree, Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. programs in 14 areas of basic science to about 400 students annually.

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