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many opportunities to foster their the network existed, get the word

MENTORING interests in teaching. We knew, out to the community, and moti-

having read several recent studies vate people to sign up. (None of
highlighting concerns about gradu- these tasks were easy during a pan-
Looking ate student preparation in teaching demic.) We also needed to commu-
Back on Year (Vergara et al., 2014, p. 95), that
we needed to draw on our growing
nicate what was required at each
level: in our proposal, we’d stated
One: Joining teaching community in new and that to reach Associate, students
would take a pedagogy course, an
innovative ways.
a National Though the Office of Instruc- FLC and a teaching workshop; at
Teaching tion and Assessment (OIA) offers
an excellent 10-credit Certificate in
Practitioner, they would complete
the teaching certificate, coteach or
& Learning College Teaching and the Gradu- take a course on teaching writing;
Network for ate Center and the Office of Post-
doctoral Affairs provide resources
and Scholars would present or
publish on a teaching topic.
Future Faculty on career-related topics, we wanted In these first few weeks, we cre-
to find a program that would bring ated CIRTL@UArizona’s identity
Kristin Winet and Gail D. Burd future STEM faculty more fully with a logo, a website and a digital
into our emerging campus culture platform. We added a Profes-
around teaching. sional Development header on the
The Story Behind the Although there are several pro- Academic Affairs website. Then, we
Story fessional development organizations sent an email to STEM graduate
program directors and coordina-
T he story of how we brought for future faculty, we specifically
looked to the Center for the Inte- tors and placed articles in UA News,
a professional development
gration of Research, Teaching and the university’s community newslet-
network for graduate students and
Learning, also known as CIRTL. ter, and Lo Que Pasa, an internal
postdocs to our campus began with
CIRTL prepares future STEM facul- employee newsletter. Within a few
a faculty project nearly 10 years
ty by offering cross-network courses weeks, 30 graduate students and
ago. Could we create a culture
and workshops and supporting lo- 19 postdocs had signed up for the
around evidence-based science,
cal programming, such as teaching- program.
technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM) teaching on as-research (TAR) programs.
What also piqued our interest Developing Programs
our campus? When we started out,
there were already some depart- was that members could earn As- and Fitting In
mental efforts to improve teaching sociate, Practitioner and Scholar After we launched the basic pro-
and learning, but there was not recognition as they participated in gram, we met with various STEM
much collaboration or centralized local and cross-network program- faculty and graduate program direc-
support (Burd et al., 2016, p. 91). ming. We applied to the network tors, spoke at several graduate semi-
To consolidate our efforts, we in March 2020 while navigating ex- nars (including nursing, chemistry
joined the AAU Framework for traordinary institutional and pan- and biochemistry, and chemical
Systematic Change in Undergradu- demic challenges, and launched and environmental engineering)
ate STEM Teaching and Learning our program that fall. and hosted a Zoom happy hour for
in 2013 and applied for a grant to postdocs. As part of this network-
build an infrastructure to promote
The First Day of CIRTL ing, we realized a few things: 1) stu-
evidence-based teaching. Under The weeks leading up to the dents didn’t think faculty learning
this grant, a team of dedicated launch were filled with Zoom meet- communities were “for them”; 2)
faculty and staff developed such ings and brainstorming sessions postdocs wanted teaching experi-
programs as our Faculty Learning from our home offices. Earlier that ence; and 3) there was widespread
Communities (FLCs), in which summer, Gail had hired Kristin, interest in a TAR program.
instructors meet every 2 weeks who was filling in as the assistant We decided to try to bridge
to discuss teaching topics, and director of the Writing Program, CIRTL and the FLCs first. In the
the Center for University Educa- to help her launch the program, fall, we started a book club around
tion Scholarship (CUES), which recruit members, and create and Jessamyn Neuhaus’ Geeky Pedagogy
awards grants to faculty engaged in assess new programs under the (2019) and, in spring, ran the book
teaching-as-research projects. CIRTL umbrella. Our first day club again and piloted two future
Over time, Gail and her team together, we mulled over a big CIRTL programs: a mini-course on
realized that what these efforts question: Where do we start? teaching writing and a workshop-
did not specifically support were We started with a list. We knew style session on classroom research.
graduate students and postdocs in we needed to announce our mem- In a survey given to the first Geeky
the STEM fields who, while trained bership, let graduate directors and Pedagogy participants, more than
well in research, did not have as program coordinators know that half of whom were new CIRTL

members, we learned that while First, as Gail has maintained Learning and a Distinguished Professor
some of them were nervous, they since the beginning, start with a in Molecular and Cellular Biology at The
University of Arizona. Dr. Burd has worked
came to enjoy the informal for- coalition of the willing. There are, to increase the use of evidence-based
mat—and 100 percent of them no doubt, people on campus who teaching practices and assessment of
planned to participate again. care deeply about teaching and student learning outcomes and to develop
and increase the number of collaborative
Though we can’t say this is entirely student learning. Put out the feel- classrooms for active learning at the
due to CIRTL recruitment efforts, ers, gather over coffee, read books University of Arizona.
it seems our strategy worked. In the on teaching and learning, and
year since we joined the network, discuss ways to place more value on
the number of students and post- teaching on your campus. Involve
docs in FLCs has nearly tripled. administrators in your conversa- ONLINE COURSE
Our conversations with postdocs tions and share literature that
also revealed that although many demonstrates the challenges and DEVELOPMENT
of them would like professional benefits to student learning. The
development in teaching, they were reality is that meaningful change
concerned they would not be at our can only happen when there is true Bring Your
university long enough to complete
the CIRTL pathways, that their prin-
bottom-up interest and top-down
support (Burd et al., 2016).
Mission to
cipal investigators (PIs) would not As we look back on a challeng- Life Through
support them, and that they were
already steeped in research.
ing year, we remain grateful for
the opportunity to do this work. Intentional,
To help us brainstorm ideas, Although we see challenges such as Evaluated
we formed a planning committee, high levels of attrition, recruiting
researched approaches to co-teach- students to the program, get- Online Course
ing and piloted a short-term, men-
tored teaching experience with two
ting faculty involved, and helping
participants prepare for a highly
co-teaching teams in electrical and competitive job market, we are Halley Sutton
computer engineering and plant proud of how far we’ve come. The

sciences in spring 2021. With the program we planned for in 2020 hen Royce Robertson took
insights we gained through surveys looks a bit different than we envi- a position as Director of
and interviews, we decided on a sioned, but our goal—to prepare Academic Technology at Le Moyne
two-semester cohort model that in- future STEM faculty for the teach- College, a Jesuit institution, it was
volved an application and letter of ing positions they dream of having the first time in his more than two
support from the PI, training and some day—has never seemed more decades in higher education that
preparation in fall and a short-term important than it does today.  ❖ he’d worked for a faith-based insti-
co-teaching experience in spring References tution. “They’re so welcoming and
ending with a portfolio and reflec- Burd, G. D., Tomanek, D., Blowers, P., Bolger, open about articulating their mis-
tion. We have nine postdoc fellows M., Cox, J., Elfring, L., … Wallace, C. (2016).
sion beyond an institution’s typical
Developing faculty cultures for evidence-based
from a variety of STEM fields in teaching practices in STEM: A progress report. mission statement,” Robertson said.
the program this year. In G. C. Weaver, W. D. Burgess, A. L. Childress,
He found himself intrigued by
& L. Slakey (Eds.), Transforming institutions:
Undergraduate STEM education for the 21st understanding the nuances of the
What We’ve Learned So century (pp. 90–102). West Lafayette, IN: Jesuit mission.
Far Purdue University Press.
Around the same time, he had
Neuhas, J. (2019). Geeky pedagogy: A guide
Starting a new program isn’t for intellectuals, introverts, and nerds who a memorable interaction with one
want to be effective teachers. Morgantown:
easy, especially when that program University of West Virginia Press.
of the Jesuit scholars at the institu-
values learning communities and its Vergara, C. E., Urban-Lurain, M., Campa III, tion. While in the library, the schol-
launch coincides with a time when H., Cheruvelil, K. S., Ebert-May, D., Fata- ar began chatting with Robertson
Hartley, C., & Johnston, K. (2014). FAST-
we were all Zooming from home. future academic scholars in teaching: A and expressed skepticism about
But even if we had been on cam- high-engagement development program. the quality of online learning in
Innovations in Higher Education, 39, 92–107, general. At that time, Robertson
pus, the recipe for starting any new
program requires the same ingredi- said the institution had been slow
ents: steadfast determination; a will- Kristin Winet is the program administrator to make changes regarding online
for the Center for the Integration of
ingness to accept when things don’t Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL)
learning, partially due to fear of
go as planned; flexibility when it at The University of Arizona, where she losing the institution’s identity as a
comes time to change course; and develops professional development in Jesuit institution.
the ability to listen, collaborate and teaching programs for graduate students The scholar posed a question
and postdocs and facilitates courses,
learn from others. If we had any workshops and learning communities in to Robertson: “Can we make an
advice for other institutions who writing and pedagogy. online course truly Jesuit?” Robert-
are looking to start programs like Gail D. Burd is the Senior Vice Provost son said his response was: “I can’t
this, we would say this: for Academic Affairs, Teaching, and tell you that today, but I can tell


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