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AAU & RCSA Publish Collection of Case Studies on Improving Undergraduate STEM Education


The Association of American Universities (AAU), in partnership with Research Corporation for Science Advancement’s (RCSA) Cottrell Scholars Collaborative, today released Improving Undergraduate STEM Education at Research Universities: A Collection of Case Studies, a book that details how individual research universities have achieved large-scale transformation of undergraduate STEM education.

The case studies document current and past efforts to improve teaching and learning in STEM fields and are meant to be a resource for department chairs and deans who are contemplating large-scale efforts of their own.

The case studies include programs such as the Science Education Initiative at the University of Colorado, Boulder and the University of British Columbia, and the Freshman Research Initiative at The University of Texas at Austin.

The book is an outgrowth of the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative, a major project begun in 2011 to encourage STEM departments at AAU universities to use teaching practices proven to be effective in engaging students in STEM education and in helping students learn.

The Cottrell Scholars Collaborative is a cross-disciplinary network of Cottrell Scholars who work in teams on projects with potential impact to improve undergraduate and graduate science education at colleges and universities across the country. Through teamwork and in partnership with national initiatives, CSC develops creative approaches to overcome traditional bottlenecks to excellence in teaching and student learning.

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Founded in 1900, the Association of American Universities comprises 62 distinguished institutions that continually advance society through education, research, and discovery. Our universities earn the majority of competitively awarded federal funding for academic research, are improving human life and wellbeing through research, and are educating tomorrow’s visionary leaders and global citizens. AAU members collectively help shape policy for higher education, science, and innovation; promote best practices in undergraduate and graduate education; and strengthen the contributions of research universities to society.

For more than 100 years, Research Corporation for Science Advancement has been characterized by programs and initiatives that blaze a trail of discovery and innovation. RCSA is a private operating foundation that aids basic research in the physical sciences (astronomy, chemistry, physics, and related fields) at U.S. colleges and universities. It supports research independently proposed by college and university faculty members, convenes conferences and advocates for science advancement. RCSA is a strong supporter of improvements in science education.

Visit the RCSA website.


Barry Toiv (Association of American Universities, Washington, DC)
Email: [email protected]

Dan Huff (Research Corporation for Science Advancement, Tucson, AZ)
Email: [email protected]