Wayne State University


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

The Wayne State University Office for Teaching and Learning will participate in a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to advance an institutional transformation project aimed at incorporating innovative teaching approaches in STEM courses.  

The five-year grant is for a project titled "Student Success Through Evidence-based Pedagogies (SSTEP)." It will fund a range of competitive department-based awards of up to $100,000 each. Faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students in successful departments will collaborate on transforming courses to incorporate more evidence-based, student-centered teaching and learning methods on campus. 

"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. "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."  

Andrew Feig (chemistry) is leading the SSTEP grant as principal investigator with co-principal investigators Robert Bruner (mathematics); Peter Hoffmann (physics); Karen Myhr (biology); and, Mathew Ouellett (Office for Teaching and Learning). The award number for the SSTEP NSF grant is 1524878

This award continues work begun with the WSU NSF-WIDER grant (2013 - 2015). 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. 

Propsals for 2017 projects were due February 8, 2017, and the WIDER Steering Committee is now reviewing those proposals.  Recipients will be announced soon.

The SSTEP Grant Selection Committee is pleased to announce the 2016-2017 winners:


Student-Student and Student-Instructor Interaction Intensive Teaching Strategies for Two Fundamental Proof-Based Mathematics Courses ($45,516)
MAT 2250, MAT 5070
Fatih Celiker, Mathematics
Catherine Lebiedzik, Mathematics
Pei-Yong Wang, Mathematics

Evidence-based course sequence in "Physics for the Life Sciences" ($90,470)
PHY 2130, PHY 2140
Matthew Gonderinger, Physics
Zhi-Feng Huang, Physics
Peter Hoffmann, Physics
Ashis Mukhopadhyay, Physics
Karur Padmanabhan, Physics
Takeshi Sakamoto, Physics
Scott Payson, Physics
Arun Anantharam, Biological Sciences
Matthew Jackson, School of Medicine, Immunology and Microbiology

Effective Mathematics INstruction for lEarning aNd Teaching (EMINENT) ($67,302)
MAT 1110, MAT 1120
Robert Bruner, Mathematics
Jennifer Lewis, Mathematics Education
Chris Nazelli, Mathematics
Asli Ozgun-Koca, Mathematics Education
Deborah Zopf, Henry Ford College, Mathematics Education

Student-Initiated Learning in Engineering ($55,873)
BE 1500
Darin Ellis, College of Engineering
Jeffrey Potoff, Basic Engineering
Kristina Lenn, Basic Engineering

The following groups received pilot grants:

CSC 2200 Course Reform: Implementing Evidence-Based Practices to Create a Student-Centered Learning Environment ($10,000)
CSC 2200
Daniel Grosu, Computer Science
Alexander Kotov, Computer Science

Targeting a Sequence of Classes to Improve Active Learning in the Biology Core ($10,000)
BIO 2200, BIO 2600, BIO 3200
Mark VanBerkum, Biological sciences
Karen Myhr, Biological sciences
Joy Alcedo, Biological sciences
Penelope Higgs, Biological sciences