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IU joins Center for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning to diversify future of STEM

Center promotes teaching as research, providing a learning community and stimulating learning through diversity

  • March 8, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University has joined a national consortium, the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning, to improve the teaching skills of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and to increase the diversity of future university faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

IU is among 25 new members to join the center. Membership will include both IU Bloomington and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. All Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning members commit to developing local learning communities that promote proven teaching and mentoring techniques for STEM graduate students.

The University Graduate School, with offices on both the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses, along with IU faculty, the IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning and the IU Bloomington Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning will play integral roles in developing new resources for this consortium as well as bringing CIRTL programs and best practices to IU.  

“We are honored to be invited and accepted into the CIRTL Network. In partnering with the network and other universities within it, Indiana University will help promote CIRTL’s core ideas of teaching as research, providing a learning community and stimulating learning through diversity,” said James Wimbush, vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs and dean of the University Graduate School. “These core ideas support the goals of the University Graduate School and Indiana University as a whole by supporting the academic endeavors of our students and graduating students who are well-prepared to establish themselves as leading researchers and academics in their fields of study, especially in the STEM fields.”

Established in 2003 with support from the National Science Foundation, the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning uses graduate education as the leverage point to develop a national STEM faculty committed to implementing and advancing effective teaching practices for diverse student audiences as part of successful professional careers. The goal of the center is to improve the STEM learning of all students at every college and university, and thereby to increase the diversity in STEM fields and the STEM literacy of the nation.

The center stresses the use of successful, evidence-based strategies proven to promote active learning and to help STEM students from all backgrounds succeed and complete their degrees. Teaching strategies include connecting classroom topics to real-world situations; promoting inclusive learning; encouraging teamwork through shared projects and study groups; continually assessing student progress; and using research skills to advance effective teaching practices.

While nationally the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning focuses on STEM graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, each partner institution develops campus-specific programming and shared resources for this consortium. At IU, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the social and health sciences, humanities, education and STEM disciplines will be encouraged to participate in center events to enhance their training and career development.   

In addition to building local learning communities at member universities, the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning emphasizes the importance of developing national connections through network exchanges and virtual courses. With 46 research universities now part of the network, the center foresees better prepared and more diverse STEM faculty members working across thousands of colleges and universities.

“Historically, STEM graduate coursework and effort have been focused on creating researchers in specific academic fields,” said Kitch Barnicle, executive director of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning Network. “As a matter of fact, new professors often face their first classes of students with little preparation in teaching. Our goal is to develop great researchers who also are great teachers, not one or the other.”

The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning is operated within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education and supported by the National Science Foundation, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and Affiliates and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.