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Kyla Cox
Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Last modified: Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sloan Foundation grant supports ‘STIM’ teaching innovations at IU Bloomington

Nov. 15, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Bay View Alliance, a network comprising Indiana University Bloomington and six other leading North American research universities, has earned a four-year, $803,942 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to support research on leadership practices that encourage the widespread adoption of effective teaching methods in the sciences. At Indiana University, the areas of focus for applying Bay View Alliance research will be science, technology, informatics and mathematics, or STIM.

Lauren Robel

Lauren Robel

"This partnership offers an unprecedented vantage point for understanding how teaching can evolve," said Indiana University Executive Vice President and Provost Lauren Robel. "This prestigious grant from the Sloan Foundation enables the partner universities to pool their efforts in promoting best practices in teaching methods. Because the Bay View Alliance is presently focusing on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, Indiana University Bloomington will draw on our unusual strength in informatics to shine a spotlight on teaching within our 'STIM' areas."

Bay View Alliance partners joining IU Bloomington in the project are Queen's University in Ontario, Canada; the University of British Columbia; the University of California, Davis; the University of Kansas; the University of Saskatchewan; and the University of Texas Austin.

The research project aims to identify conditions that will substantially improve the rate of adoption of effective classroom approaches, and to pinpoint optimal forms of institutional collaboration that will reinforce these favorable conditions.


Sonya Stephens

Print-Quality Photo

"We already know quite a lot about what works in today's classroom, but less about how best to encourage the use of these new methods and models," said Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Sonya Stephens. "This collaborative partnership enables us to leverage the leadership of several major research institutions, so we can jointly highlight strategies for evolving these disciplines to make teaching as effective as it possibly can be."

The Bay View Alliance will examine leadership practices on its partner campuses by designing and implementing a range of pilot intervention efforts and studying the results to gauge their impact on the adoption rate of evidence-based teaching approaches. For example, one cluster of campuses that includes IU Bloomington will focus on resources that provide support for course redesign. Modeled in part on the University of British Columbia's Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative, this effort will assign educators with disciplinary and pedagogical expertise to help faculty redesign large STEM/STIM courses for more active learning.

IU Bloomington's Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning will serve as a vital resource for the research project, and for implementing its findings, Stephens said. "IU and the Bay View Alliance have a tremendous asset in CITL, which can provide not only expertise on effective pedagogies but also a successful model for working directly with faculty to integrate these innovations," she said.

"Innovation in teaching is critical to supporting learning in key STEM disciplines," said Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Program Director Elizabeth S. Boylan. "The foundation is excited to partner with the Bay View Alliance in its efforts to learn and disseminate information on the best ways to spread the adoption of evidence-based teaching methods in undergraduate STEM education, efforts that will, in turn, provide benefits to both the faculty and their students."

About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-president and CEO of General Motors Corp., the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant-making institution that supports original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic performance. The Bay View Alliance project is supported through the foundation's STEM Higher Education program, which aims to increase the quality and diversity of higher education in STEM fields.

About the Bay View Alliance

The Bay View Alliance is a network of universities carrying out applied research on the leadership of cultural change for increasing the adoption of improved teaching methods at universities. The alliance aims to identify and evaluate more effective ways for those of influence at all levels of a university to inspire and enable enhancements of teaching and learning, through adjustments to common educational methods and procedures. Currently, Bay View Alliance has seven member universities: Indiana University Bloomington; Queen's University; University of British Columbia; University of California, Davis; University of Kansas; University of Saskatchewan; and University of Texas Austin.