We aim to deliver excellence in Texas Science education...
through close partnerships with learners, programs that integrate instruction with experiences and a culture supportive of inclusive instructional practices:
7. Multiple new and sustained efforts aimed at catalyzing teaching excellence
7.1 Resources for Instructors
- Comprehensive support of CNS faculty and teaching assistants is helping with implementing evidence-based teaching and mentoring practices. Professional development opportunities include workshops and events centered around cutting-edge pedagogical practices, training and support for in-classroom teaching assistants and course design consultation.
7.2 21st Century Undergraduate and Graduate Education Initiatives
- Curriculum Redesign is an ongoing initiative aimed at engaging departments in a collective process of designing and structuring their undergraduate degrees around a common set of principles. This work aims to:
- Define critical outcomes related to content knowledge and essential skills in the CNS disciplines.
- Intentionally structure degrees and course offerings to make explicit how students achieve outcomes as they progress through the degree.
- Encourage cooperation among faculty within departments to standardize different sections of the same course and to align objectives of courses students take in sequence.
- Facilitate communication between departments to coordinate links between courses students often take simultaneously.
- Make recommendations for changes to degree plans and courses to simplify the path to graduation, while also improving student achievement and satisfaction.
- Experiential Learning (EL) aims to make engaged learning processes whereby students “learn by doing” and then reflect on the experiences a defining feature throughout the undergraduate experience. The primary goals include:
- Establishing a set of EL student outcomes.
- Requiring all CNS students complete at least one immersive EL activity aimed at meeting a subset of defined learning outcomes.
- Encouraging broad implementation of EL within the classroom, giving students frequent exposure to experiential learning as part of their standard undergraduate coursework.
- Graduate Education initiatives commit the college to helping today’s students prepare for the multitude of career choices they’ll have after graduation and success across many domains. Primary goals include:
- Streamline and enhance students' paths to degree.
- Make graduate education more flexible and efficient.
- Ensure that all students explore and prepare for desired careers.
- Ensure that all Ph.D. students acquire big data skills.
7.3 Catalyzing Culture Change
- Several initiatives underway throughout the year are aimed at catalyzing culture change towards a college that values high-quality teaching, is open and committed to iterated and evolving teaching practices in alignment with evidence-based approaches and views teaching and student success as a shared responsibility of all educators. Examples of culture change initiatives include Teaching Discovery Days and other similar facilitated discussions, Course Design Institutes, Graduate Student Concentration in Teaching and Mentoring and programs for new faculty onboarding.
7.4 Communities of Practice
- The college is piloting fellowship-like experiences that invite select faculty to come together in cohorts centered around timely and impactful themes such as growth mindset, quantitative curriculum modules, digital open-resource curriculum design or inclusive teaching practices.
7.5 Consultations to Improve Teaching Excellence (CITE)
- CITE is a fellowship-style program enabling faculty to gain experience providing comprehensive teaching consultations, which include interviews with faculty members, a holistic review of course materials and in-class experiences and formative as well as summative feedback on faculty teaching practices. These consultations aim to promote teaching excellence by providing high-quality external feedback that underscores the continuous cycle of teaching improvement. By broadening perspectives on what excellent teaching can be and by exercising care and empathy for our peers, the aim is to create a culture of transparency, enthusiasm for change and continuous improvement.
7.6 Mentoring for Success in Teaching
- This year-long fellowship for all new CNS faculty consists of monthly cohort meetings and other program activities aimed at supporting teaching from the moment faculty step foot on campus. Teaching efforts will be supported by both the mentorship of successful CNS faculty and the construction of a community of peers centered around teaching. Faculty will learn about teaching best practices, teaching tools and meaningful ways to support students, while also being set up for success in the teaching aspect of the promotion and tenure process.
Key updates and priorities for 2022–2023
Teaching Discovery Days spanned two days in October and was complimented by other initiatives: This highlight event compliments and works in concert with trainings and offerings available to all faculty and instructors throughout the college throughout the year that are ongoing and continuing.
7.1-7.3 build upon work underway in the college, while 7.4-7.6 represent newer priorities.
We aim to deliver a Texas Science education that prepares students for our dynamic, digital and global world...
Because scientific thinkers, humane leaders and creative experts are needed to solve emerging challenges, we are focusing on:
8. Education that responds to a changing world
8.1 Our Award-Winning Freshman Research Initiative
- The Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) and Accelerated Research Initiative (ARI) give first- and second-year students the opportunity to initiate and engage in real-world research experiences. FRI has become a national model for science education, as students who participate in it are more likely to stay in college, complete science and math degrees and graduate better prepared to pursue advanced degrees or jobs in the industry.
8.2 Our Entrepreneurial Inventors Program
- In the Inventors Program, science and engineering students practice what they do best: creative problem-solving to make every-day life better. Teams of science and engineering students work together to solve real-world problems provided by local industry, community organizations, UT alumni and other partners. From these problems, students develop projects, where they design, prototype, test, conduct market research, and make procedure and policy change recommendations. Students test questions, make discoveries and invent together, while also getting to know community stakeholders and faculty mentors along the journey of transforming ideas from concept through innovation.
8.3 Disruptive Education Models for Adult Learners
- CNS has an increasing portfolio of online master's programs that offer the rigor and excellence of a UT Austin degree to a wider audience in a flexible, online format. These programs include a Master of Data Science, Master of Computer Science and Master of Science in Nutritional Science.
8.4 Taking High-Demand Disciplines to Scale
- With careful consideration from a soon-to-be-established working group, the college aims to bring high-demand disciplines, such as Data Science, Computing, and Public Health, to a broader swath of UT undergraduates. This might include new and/or expanded courses, majors or minors, new modules that can be imbedded across other curriculum, new introductory open-access resources for non-majors and/or non-STEM students and/or flexible, online distance learning opportunities. This work is centered upon the goals of student access, interdisciplinarity and 21st century education.
Key updates and priorities for 2022–2023
Online master’s programs vastly expand college’s reach: Three Option III (entirely online) master’s programs in the college—for computer science, data science and nutritional science—now have more than doubled the total number of graduate students CNS serves. There are currently 1,881 students served in these master’s programs, compared to 1,400 in residential master’s and Ph.D. programs in the college. In his State of the University Address, President Hartzell announced plans for launching a fourth CNS Option III master’s in Artificial Intelligence.
First cohort of statistics and data science majors arrives on campus: The college added its 16th major and welcomed dozens of new undergraduates majoring in statistics and data science.
8.1-8.2 build upon work underway in the college, while 8.3-8.4 represent newer priorities.