25 Oct 2016

Lilly Conferences on Evidence Based Teaching and Learning

Submitted by Sheila Smith, University of Michigan- Dearborn



As a member of the Ionic Leadership Council the idea of evidence based teaching and learning is not foreign to me.  As a community, we are actively engaged in changing the way inorganic chemistry is taught.  We are committed to teaching the pedagogy of active learning.  We are supporting  faculty growth and development . We have been fortunate to receive generous support from NSF and hopefully we have added value to our profession and to the lives and careers of our community members. 


But, what is our evidence?  How do we prove our value? How do we assess the long term success of our efforts?  These are questions we wrestle with, and not only in grant writing seasons. 


What can we learn from other disciplines? I'm attending a Lilly Conference on Evidence Based Teaching and Learning this week in Traverse City to try to find out. Honestly, I had never even heard of this conference until a few months ago. I was supported to come by my University's Hub for Teaching and Learning.  


In fact, they were thrilled to have a "regular" science faculty member who was interested in this conference, because, for all that science is supposed to be data driven, when it comes to our teaching, many scientists are data resistant. 


We build our wet chemistry on the work of others. We don't assume we have to explicitly repeat their experiments before we can build on their results and conclusions.  Why don't we believe data about teaching and learning?


I look forward to sharing more of what I learned with you in the next few weeks as I process the information in my notes, but in this post, I just want to let our community know that there’s this other community out there that cares deeply about Evidence-Based Teaching, and encourage you all to consider attending one of these conferences.    The 2016-17 conference series still has 3 conferences left.


January 5-7, 2016 Austin TX

February 23-26, 2017 Anaheim, CA

June 1-4, 2017 Bethesda, MD