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The UNC AAU project team includes (from left) Christina Burch, Kelly Hogan and Mara Evans.

AAU award will support development of STEM teaching evaluation models

The Association of American Universities has selected five STEM departments at America’s leading research universities, including the department of biology in the College of Arts & Sciences, to host demonstration projects in the evaluation of undergraduate teaching.

The departments will receive $100,000 awards to create better models for effective and equitable evaluation of STEM teaching. The models could then be adapted to STEM departments at other undergraduate institutions.

The teaching evaluation demonstration projects are an effort of the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative, which was established in 2011 to influence the culture of STEM departments at research universities so that faculty members are encouraged to use teaching practices proven to maximize student engagement in STEM and support student learning.

UNC was one of eight project sites in this 2011 effort; the departments of biology, chemistry, physics and math worked together to transform large lectures into high structure active learning courses. Now, the department of biology is building on this work and other curricular advances to learn how various ways of assessing teaching can lead to the growth of an educator as well as more equitable outcomes for high stakes decisions.

The UNC project team includes Kelly Hogan, associate dean of instructional innovation in the College of Arts & Sciences and a teaching professor of biology; Christina Burch, professor of biology; and Mara Evans, STEM teaching associate professor.