The mission of the Center for Integrative Research on Cognition, Learning, and Education (CIRCLE) at WashU is to provide a bridge between STEM faculty and researchers in the cognitive and learning sciences to facilitate collaborative projects to improve student learning. The Center connects the cognitive and learning sciences with classroom practices by:
- Fostering implementation of innovations in teaching across the university
- supporting research to evaluate the effectiveness of these innovations in enhancing student learning and retention of knowledge, and;
- disseminating the results of these classroom-based evaluations using experimental methods to the university community as well as the to the national and international teaching and learning communities.
CIRCLE was founded in 2011. It is funded by the Office of the Provost, though its leadership consists of STEM faculty members, which gives it particular cachet with departmental faculty and staff, with whom it operates in a partner role than rather than as a support structure. CIRCLE serves as a coordinating body for many STEM education-related activities on campus, including faculty learning communities and the Faculty Fellow program. The Center works on efforts that are part of the AAU Initiative, as well as those that fall outside the project.
The center recently obtained a four-year commitment to support its new Transformation for innovation in STEMS (TIES), which is adapted from Carl Wieman’s University of Colorado Boulder Science Education Initiative.