Need to train postdocs or instructors to support teaching improvements?

by Stephanie Chasteen on November 15, 2016

This summer, Carl Wieman will host a workshop at Stanford to train STEM disciplinary experts to become educational specialists working in departments, in a short, intensive version of the postdoc training developed at CU Boulder’s Science Education Initiative and the sister CWSEI at University of British Columbia. 

If you need to get someone up to speed as a science education support personnel, this will likely be a great experience, and an unusual opportunity to meet others creating similar programs.

Below is more information, with more information in this PDF workshop schedule:

Department education specialist training workshop at Stanford University, summer 2017. 


This six day workshop run by Carl Wieman will provide training for disciplinary experts (typically Ph.D.s) to become education specialists that work in departments to assist faculty in transforming their teaching.  The model for these disciplinary education experts are the science education specialists used with great success in transforming teaching at the University of British Columbia and University of Colorado in their Science Education Initiatives. For more information see and other information on the CWSEI website.

As shown in detail on the following pages, this training program will replicate in six intensive days the training program developed and refined in the SEIs, which is also much the same as Carl Wieman’s 10 week graduate course in science learning and teaching.  Participants will be expected to complete the necessary reading (two relatively easy books and a few articles) before the workshop, and at the workshop they will discuss the readings, create and revise a set of 10 different activities for a course based on the ideas in the readings, and receive feedback from Wieman and other participants.  By the end, they should be well-versed in the appropriate research on learning, and be prepared to create research-based instructional activities in courses based on this research.  This will also prepare them to work with other instructors to design and implement such activities in a range of courses.

Anticipated participants will be 1) relatively new Ph. D. s with a strong interest in teaching who have been hired to work in a department to implement SEI type transformations of the teaching, and 2) long term lecturers who are to take on a similar role of working with other faculty to transform teaching throughout their department.  If there is sufficient room and interest, tenure track faculty with an interest in working with other faculty to improve teaching will also be accepted.

The specific dates of the workshop will be determined by the preferences of potential attendees and availability of facilities and will be a Monday through Saturday some time between the last week of June and the end of August.  The cost has not yet been set, but it will mostly be the cost of travel, room, and board in the Palo Alto area for participants.

Interested potential attendees, or departments who expect to be hiring potential attendees, should contact Rachel Knowles,  with an expression of interest, the anticipated number of people your department would like to send, and any constraints or preferences you have for workshop dates.

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