The Sandra K. Abell Conversations about College Science Teaching are monthly meetings intended to spark discussion about different approaches to science teaching and encourage interdisciplinary conversations among faculty and graduate students in STEM disciplines at the University of Missouri. For more than 10 years, the conversations have provided college science teachers with time and space to reflect on their own teaching challenges and learn new teaching methods from their peers.
Each month, approximately 40 faculty members and graduate students from departments across the university gather for a lunchtime discussion about a variety of relevant topics regarding college STEM education. Past topics have included flipped classrooms, problem-based learning, online modules, creativity in science, curriculum redesign, diversity, and more. Many presenters share data or specific application examples.
Ample time is always included for group discussion so participants can ask questions and talk about future implementation. Because the meetings take place during the lunch hour, faculty and graduate students are able to listen and discuss as they eat together in a casual and relaxed environment that fosters interdisciplinary collaboration. Beginning last year, all meetings are now recorded so they can be shared with individuals who were unable to attend. The conversations have been sponsored by the Division of Biological Sciences.