Funding, Grants & Awards

U Nebraska Lincoln Prof Lands NSF Grant To Study STEM Teaching

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) assistant chemistry professor will receive nearly $1 million over the next five years to study the way science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are taught in universities and seek ways to improve it.

Marilyne Stains will receive the $941,174 Faculty Early Career Development Program Award from the National Science Foundation. The awards typically go to pre-tenure faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars.

Stains has already done substantial research on the subject, developing and conducting education workshops to train UNL faculty in new teaching methods. She said she believes the grant will allow her to launch a study that should lead to better understanding of what faculty already know about new educational strategies, their beliefs about teaching and other factors that influence teaching methods.

"There's a growing recognition that we have been developing all of these new instructional strategies that we know are more effective, but STEM faculty aren't using them," Stains said. "Now there is an interest in training faculty."

Her goal is to improve faculty education workshops and provide individualized follow-up with faculty research participants, offering suggestions and feedback on their teaching. Stains will also develop a teaching specialization program in the UNL chemistry department for graduate students that will prepare them to teach college-level science courses more effectively.

"The ultimate goal is for faculty to implement these practices that we know increase retention of students in STEM fields," she said. "We have to understand the gaps in their knowledge so that we can target their needs more specifically and effectively."

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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