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Now in its third year, the University of Virginia's (UVA) Nucleus program is helping to improve STEM education by supporting faculty as they redesign their large-enrollment, introductory courses. Participants begin this year-long program in the Teaching Resource Center's (TRC) intensive, week-long Course Design Institute (CDI). In CDI, faculty learn to

  1. develop more robust, epistemologically-based learning objectives;
  2. implement STEM-specific, evidence-based pedagogies such as Peer Instruction, Problem-Based Learning, Team-Based Learning, and Process-Oriented Group Inquiry Learning;
  3. create a variety of learning-centered assessments; and 4) develop appropriate learning activities. Throughout the program year, faculty regularly attend a STEM-focused learning community, participate in reciprocal peer observations and follow-up discussions with other participants, consult regularly with TRC faculty, and produce a portfolio describing their redesign efforts and documenting gains in student perceptions and/or learning.

Selected through a proposal process, all applicants must demonstrate their departments' commitment to initiating, supporting, sustaining, and financing the change initiatives proposed by the instructor. And, once selected, faculty participants agree to mentor for one semester any colleague who takes on future iterations of the course.