Brown University supports the introduction of evidence-based, high impact practices in first and second year STEM courses. During the past two years of reform efforts, we have focused on gateway courses in Physics, Applied Mathematics, Chemistry, and Engineering by introducing intensive, small group collaborative problem solving sessions.
Facilitators for the sessions represent all levels of the Brown community, from faculty to postdocs to graduate students to undergraduate students, all collaborating together to improve STEM education. The goals of these problem solving sessions are to provide a student-centered learning process, a community within and across courses, and a larger context in which students can situation their disciplinary knowledge.
Future reform efforts will focus on:
- Creating a template for "AAU STEM" courses that will establish a new norm in introductory STEM education at Brown,
- Building a "train-the-trainer" program through Brown's Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning in which graduate student instructors become the change agents behind the pedagogical strategies used in problem solving sessions, and
- Providing a forum for past and present "AAU STEM" instructors to engage one another as a community of innovative educators.