Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching Offers Inclusive and Evidence-based Practices

September 12, 2018

Communications Staff

students sitting in a lecture hall
Photo credit: Gary Cohen '11

Ten faculty and staff were named Scientific Teaching Fellows by Yale Mobile Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching.

This summer, ten faculty and staff members took part in a week-long Mobile Summer Institute from the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning.

Intended to enhance student outcomes through study and implementation of inclusive and evidence-based practices in the classroom, the Mobile Summer Institutes address challenges in STEM education.

PULSE Fellow and Associate Professor of Biology Taylor Allen spearheaded bringing the mobile institute to campus and views its purpose to be threefold.

“The value of the Mobile Summer Institute is developing a community of like-minded teachers, learning from one another, and supporting one another as [each participant brings] inclusive and evidence-based practices into the classroom.

A key component of the workshop included discussion of teaching tools that support active learning, such as using a polling app to elicit real-time responses from students. Implementation of these technique have been shown to improve learning outcomes for all students.

The group of ten also committed to implementing the proven practices, rigorously assessing the outcomes, and conducting peer observations of one another in the classroom.

Those named Scientific Teaching Fellows for 2018-2019 by Yale are Jason Belitsky (Chemistry), Adam Eck (Computer Science), Jessica Greenfield (CILC and International Programs), Roberto Hoyle (Computer Science), Nicollette Mitchell (CLEAR), Jordan Price (Biology), Sara Verosky (Psychology), and Steve Wojtal (Geology). Patty deWinstanley (Psychology) and Cindy Frantz (Psychology) were named Scientific Teaching Mentors by Yale for 2018-2019.

Below, find out what some participants took away from the training.

Jason Belitsky
Photo by Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97

Jason Belitsky, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry

Belitsky is the program director of Oberlin’s new quantitative skills center, the Center for Learning, Education, and Research in the Sciences (CLEAR). He also is the HHMI program director.

“Exposure to the ideas of scientific teaching at the workshop has given me both new strategies to try out in the classroom and a theoretical framework for designing classes and evaluating how they are progressing in real time.”

Patty deWinstanley
Photo by Jennifer Manna

Patty deWinstanley, professor of psychology

A cognitive psychologist with a specialization in human memory and learning, deWinstanley’s current research is focused in two areas: skill learning and memory consolidation during sleep.

“The opportunity to work with my departmental colleagues on a joint teaching endeavor was invaluable. The workshop gave us an opportunity to learn and practice a process of course development that we can use as we revise our introductory courses over the next few years.”  

Adam Eck
Photo by Jennifer Manna

Adam Eck, assistant professor of computer science

Eck’s primary research and teaching interests include intelligent agents and multiagent systems, machine learning, data science, and computer-aided education.

Cindy Frantz
Photo by Jennifer Manna

Cindy Frantz, professor of psychology

A social and environmental psychologist with a strong interest in statistics, Frantz’s research focuses broadly on humans’ relationship with the natural world, with an emphasis on promoting sustainable behavior.

“At the end of the workshop, each team presented a demo class. The time flew by! It was exactly the kind of excitement and engagement I want to create in my classroom. We know a lot about how people learn and the best ways to support learning. Why on earth wouldn't we want to incorporate that knowledge into our teaching?”

Jessica Greenfield
Photo by Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97

Jessica Greenfield, director of the Cooper International Learning Center (CILC), Study Away, and Winter Term

Greenfield holds a PhD in Romance Languages and her graduate work focused on Sicilian literature. Her current research is centered around intercultural competence, curriculum development, assessment, and participatory pedagogy.  

“I was grateful for the opportunity to complete this training because of my new role in the offices of Study Away and Winter Term. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning has been a research interest of mine for quite a few years, which is how I ended up in my position in the Cooper International Learning Center, but this training gave me some new tools to employ for the tracking, evaluation, and assessment of our Winter Term and Study Away programming. I’m looking forward to applying some of the strategies and methodologies to those areas this coming year.”

Roberto Hoyle
Photo by Jennifer Manna

Roberto Hoyle, assistant professor of computer science

Hoyle is a computer scientist with a focus on security and privacy.  He researches how privacy-preserving technologies can be designed for inclusivity, making sure that their benefits are available for all and not just the savvy user.

“The value of this training is to highlight teaching techniques that have been shown to increase retention of underrepresented minorities in STEM classes. I currently use several of the techniques discussed (active learning, peer instruction, etc.) and have found that underrepresented students are more engaged, especially since the standard techniques that typically are used (lecture, questions, etc.) tend to cause them to withdraw and not engage in the class.”

Nicollette Mitchell
Photo by Bryan Rubin

Nicollette Mitchell ’13, director CLEAR

MItchell’s research interests include global climate model assessment, the generation of new observational records of climate, and the promotion of diversity and inclusion in STEM environments.

“The training...stands out as an opportunity for reflection and intentionality about practices that we adopt inside and outside of the classroom. It was also a way to build a community of support for faculty at all stages in their careers. I left confident knowing that teaching using best practices and evidence-based methods, such as scientific teaching, is a proven way to improve the outcomes of all students that will be implemented in classrooms this year.”

Jordan Price
Photo by Jennifer Manna

Jordan Price, assistant professor of biology

Price is an immunologist who specializes in host/pathogen interaction. Research in his lab is currently focused on understanding how the mammalian immune system weaponizes metabolism to inhibit bacterial pathogens during infection.

“The workshop was stimulating and challenging. I know that I'll be reflecting on the experience for a long time, and I am already applying what I learned as I design my courses this fall. The workshop was especially useful in terms of thinking broadly about biology's efforts to promote inclusion as part of the HHMI Inclusive Excellence initiative.”

Sara Verosky
Photo by Jennifer Manna

Sara Verosky, assistant professor of psychology

A social neuroscientist with research interests in cognitive and social psychology, Verosky’s research investigates how individuals combine visual knowledge with more abstract cognitive knowledge in order to represent other people.

“This training underscored the value in having students actively engage with the material during lecture, and it encouraged me to think about new ways of doing this in my own classes.”

Steven Wojtal
Photo by Jennifer Manna

Steven Wojtal, professor of geology

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