Projects & Collaborators

Current Awards

The team presently works on the following funded projects:

A Developmental Model to Understand the Process of Instructor Implementation of Evidence-Based Teaching Practices (NSF-IUSE, 2023-2026)

  • This project helps to better understand why some educators climb the “implementation curve” of evidence-based teaching (EBT) practices following professional development programs, while others stall out or revert to previous teaching strategies. Where most professional development programs are effective at motivating commitment to change, there is an evident problem with the transfer of training.  As such, this project focuses on understanding and organizing mechanisms of change from EBT training through to implementation.  Insights into the EBT implementation process will help clarify the change process for instructors and aid professional developers in revising and evaluating their programs to better support instructors. 

College Student Buy-In to Evidence-Based Teaching Practices (NSF-IUSE, 2022-2025)

  • This project builds on the momentum of recent studies within the college STEM education literature showing that student buy-in to evidence-based teaching (EBT) practices is positively associated with student engagement, final course grade, and intent to persist in the sciences. In this project, we will expand the capacity of buy-in by accomplishing two priorities. First, we will identify additional influencing variables of student buy-in and develop a more conceptually aligned and user-friendly measure of buy-in. Second, we will test additional variables through a survey measure that is more efficient and optimally aligned with the theoretical conceptualization of student buy-in. 

Seeing the Paths to Change: Evaluating Vision & Change Using a Pathway Modeling Approach (NSF, 2021-2024)

  • This project seeks to investigate the impact of Vision & Change (V&C) by leveraging an evaluation approach that organizes and then visualizes key factors and approaches already implemented by the V&C community and those that are underway. Specifically, it provides an organizing structure by identifying short-, mid-, and long-term V&C outcomes and connecting them in a way that affords V&C stakeholders a useful and helpful way to “see” the successes, opportunities, and future trajectory of V&C.

Defining and Measuring Student Trust of Instructors in College STEM Courses (NSF-ECR, 2020-2024)

  • Building from decades of research on close-personal relationships and K-12 educational environments, the research project explores student trust in their instructor in college STEM classrooms. This careful and comprehensive characterization of student trust in higher education will allow further investigations on relationships between trust and key student outcomes such as buy-in, engagement, learning, and intent to persist in science. 

Evaluating the Impact of CURE Course Design Characteristics on Student Interest, Engagement, and Persistence (NSF-IUSE, 2019-2024)

  • Course-based undergraduate research experiences (abbreviated CUREs) bring the “authentic” characteristics of a faculty member’s research lab into a course environment. This increases the access that undergraduate students have to engage in discovery and iterative research early in their academic careers, which benefits students’ STEM-related knowledge, motivation, and academic plans more than traditional learning contexts. In this project, we study how and why CUREs are such effective learning environments, especially as related to student motivation.

Science Education Alliance (SEA and SEA-PHAGES Evaluation) (HHMI, 2014-present)

  • The STEM-PERL team collaborates to support the evaluation of the Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) program. SEA-PHAGES supports discovery-based undergraduate research courses across the U.S. The large-scale evaluation efforts of this program are supported by the STEM-PERL team. More information about Yale’s HHMI-funded CURE Courses (Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences):

Previous Awards

RAPID: Instructional Shifts in Response to COVID-19 and Their Impacts on Classroom-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (NSF, 2020-2022)

  • Leveraging the critical moment of the pandemic-induced transition to online learning,  the research project explored how CURE course activities were translated into online formats and assessed the effects of course changes on students from different demographic groups. This careful characterization of online CUREs informs undergraduate STEM education stakeholders about what is possible when courses have to shift instructional practices.  It also researched what new CURE courses and ideas came out of the emergency online transition.

Preparing Future Faculty to Improve STEM Education: Broadening the National Impact of the CIRTL Network (NSF-IUSE, 2017-2020)

  • The STEM-PERL team studied the program structure and evaluation efforts of institution-level CIRTL programs. Local CIRTL (Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning) programs are part of a national network of future faculty development programs that train graduate students and post-docs to be better STEM instructors. The STEM-PERL team worked to represent the local variation of CIRTL programs in order to strategically measure impact.

Impact of the Summer Institutes on Faculty Teaching and Student Achievement (NSF-TUES, 2014-2020)

  • The Summer Institutes on Scientific Teaching (SI) are annual professional development workshops that help current STEM university faculty develop evidence-based teaching (EBT) practices. The STEM-PERL team evaluated the impact of SI-trained faculty on their students (once they return to their home institutions), measuring student outcomes such as course engagement, final grades, and persistence in the sciences.

Undergraduate Science Education Campus Grant (HHMI, 2014-2020)

  • This grant supports several STEM programs and courses  at Yale (some are fully funded by the grant and others are partially funded). These include the introductory biology course sequence (BIOL 101-104), course-based undergraduate research lab courses (CUREs), Summer Research for All, Math 110/111, and Freshmen Scholars at Yale (FSY). The STEM-PERL team supported this grant by providing program management, grant management, and evaluation support.
Collaborators on current projects:

Jane Buckley, JCB Consulting

Xinnian Chen, University of Connecticut

David Hanauer, University of Pittsburgh

Graham Hatfull, University of Pittsburgh

Philip Reeves, U.S. Army War College

Vic Sivanathan, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Paul Turner, Yale University

Gabriela Weaver, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Michelle Withers, Binghamton University

Collaborators on previous projects:

Brian Couch, University of Nebraska

Mary Durham, University of Nebraska

Monica Hargraves, Cornell University

Claire Hebbard, Cornell University

Jennifer Knight, University of Colorado at Boulder

William Trochim, Cornell University

Tong Zhang, Indiana University of Pennsylvania