NSF award to aid research on STEM faculty

by Department of Chemistry Wed, 02/17/2016 - 08:00

Despite extensive efforts by the discipline-based education research (DBER) community  to develop and research instructional practices that enhance Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students’ conceptual understanding , attitudes toward, and retention in STEM fields, few of these practices are being enacted in college STEM classrooms across the nation.

Prof. M. StainsAssistant professor Marilyne Stains received a NSF CAREER award to help address this gap between discipline-based education research and actual instructional practices in STEM classrooms. She will focus her studies on STEM faculty, a population that has been overlooked in the DBER literature but is essential to understand since they are the target of most instructional reforms. In particular, she will characterize STEM faculty’s knowledge base for teaching, instructional practices, relationships between the two, as well as progressions of this knowledge and these practices over time. Moreover, she will characterize these progressions under varying reform environments (short workshops versus semester-long professional development; different departmental and institutional culture around teaching) as well as for faculty at various points of their academic career.

Results of this foundational research will provide critical insight into the diverse progressions of STEM faculty’s knowledge base for teaching and instructional practices. In turn, this will inform current national and local reform efforts that aim at the widespread implementation of evidence-based instructional practices in STEM courses in postsecondary education settings.

Congratulations to Dr. Stains!

About the Award

Funding Agency

National Science Foundation (NSF)


CAREER - The Winding Roads to Effective Teaching: Characterizing the Progressions in Instructional Knowledge and Practices of STEM Faculty

Award Amount


Award Length

Five years

Prof. M. Stains

Professional development session ran by Dr. Stains at UNL with STEM faculty
Photo by Travis Lund