Wayne State University

Vision and Goal

Vision

Our vision engages faculty in a dialog to discuss how we teach, how our curricula are structured, and about what is known about how our students learn. Through these exchanges, we will raise awareness of student success as a critical metric of our accomplishments as an institution. Wayne State University is proud of being both a university of access and a high-intensity research university, allowing diverse groups of students to train for careers in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The teaching and research identities should be synergistic at all levels. WSU has a history of sending its graduates on to science and engineering doctoral and professional programs and is one of the leading baccalaureate institutions for minority PhDs in the country. By adopting Evidence-Based Teaching Methods (EBTMs) at WSU, we will provide an even greater opportunity for all our students to excel in STEM fields and become productive members of the 21st-Century workforce after graduation.

Goal

The primary goal of this 2-year NSF-supported project is to support the broad implementation of EBTMs across the STEM disciplines at Wayne State University. Education research has shown that use of these methods:

  • Improves student learning relative to traditional lecture formats regardless of discipline or subject matter  
  • Supports student persistence within STEM majors
  • Raises graduation rates of all STEM undergraduates; largest gains are evident for women, students of color, and those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds

Approach

To accomplish this goal, the current project has three phases:

  • Phase I: we will measure the attitudes of faculty toward teaching and establish a baseline assessment of the actual teaching practices currently in use in STEM courses on campus.
  • Phase II: in collaboration with the Office for Teaching and Learning, professional development opportunities will be offered to university faculty in both departmental and interdisciplinary settings, to help them learn about evidence-based teaching and implement these methods effectively in their courses. Phase II activities can be found on the calendar available on this website. The program will also enhance the use of student learning communities and help faculty learn how to manage such groups in an effective manner.
  • Phase III: the program participants, together with our external evaluators Brian Coppola (University of Michigan, Department of Chemistry) and Diane Ebert-May (Michigan State University, Department of Biology) will write a report that will be presented to the university community for consideration and discussion regarding the way forward. This report will present the current state of EBTM usage on campus, the activities that were employed to help our faculty learn more about EBTMs and any changes in attitudes and practices observed over the 2-year project period. This document and the grant related activities will inform a larger NSF implementation proposal in the coming years.