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Create a science discovery center that further enhances the college’s leading role in the STEM education revolution.

 

LEAD: Dr. Sarah Eichhorn, Executive Director of the Texas Institute for Discovery Education

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

In 2014, CNS launched the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science (TIDES) to catalyze, support, and showcase innovative, evidence-based undergraduate science education. TIDES fosters student programs that focus on experiential and engaged learning, such as the Freshman Research Initiative (FRI), which involves up to 1,000 freshmen in conducting cutting-edge research each year, and the Accelerated Research Initiative (ARI), which expands research opportunities for transfer and upper division students. FRI and ARI students can continue research in the summer with support from introductory or advanced fellowships. TIDES works with faculty to develop programs and funding that pioneer new ways of providing undergraduate education.  TIDES is also building teaching development programs for current and future science and mathematics faculty, including a scientific teaching workshop series and scientific teaching institutes.  Finally, TIDES is launching several education studies aimed at documenting the impact of CNS undergraduate programs and understanding the causal mechanisms underlying effective programs, such as the FRI. To this end, TIDES hired a research analyst to join its leadership team in March 2015.  A future space for TIDES is part of the CNS Master Space Plan.

In 2015-16, TIDES established a Scientific Teaching Workshop series, conducted 50+ teaching observations and provided one-on-one teaching consultations with faculty across the College. Plans for teaching and mentoring professional development were also developed and included in the new faculty orientation. A Teaching Resources Portal is now available online for all faculty and graduate students interested in further developing their teaching by accessing both local and national-level resources. An analysis of data on summer undergraduate research programs was used to help inform decisions about the duration and level of support needed to expand existing opportunities. TIDES also assisted in the development of a grant proposal for a Chemistry REU.


BENCHMARKS FOR IMPLEMENTATION

  • Faculty will take advantage of TIDES programs and resources to increase their use of effective teaching strategies.
  • FRI, ARI, and summer programming will increase the availability of research experiences for all students in the college.
  • Analysis of FRI, ARI, and college-wide data on instruction and student progress will inform the strategic development of new educational structures and improvement of existing ones to increase student success.
  • Experienced faculty will mentor new assistant professors to incorporate evidence-based teaching strategies into their classrooms.


OUR METRICS FOR CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

The College:

  • tracks outcomes of students in FRI and ARI
  • tracks faculty participation in teaching development programs
  • assesses the efficacy and impact of TIDES programming through a variety of analytics
  • tracks funding and number of experimental programs in undergraduate education
  • assesses the teaching effectiveness and use of innovative approaches by new junior faculty


NEXT STEPS 

  • We are seeking funding to expand FRI and ARI such that all interested undergraduates have the opportunity to participate in research.
  • We are collaborating with faculty to develop innovative, effective undergraduate education programs and teaching strategies.