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The Challenges of Spreading and Sustaining Research-Based Instruction in Undergraduate STEM

posted Mar 22, 2013, 9:12 AM by Mark Urban-Lurain

The Center for Engineering Education Research (CEER), College of Engineering, Michigan State University, is pleased to sponsor a talk by

Charles Henderson, Western Michigan University

The Challenges of Spreading and Sustaining

Research-Based Instruction in Undergraduate STEM

Tuesday, April 2, 1:00 – 2:00 PM – 3105 Engineering. 

Pizza, pop and networking starting at 12:30

There have been many calls for the reform of introductory Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses.  These calls have resulted in a cadre of researchers who study the teaching and learning of undergraduate STEM and have developed instructional methods that improve student learning.  There currently exists a substantial gap between research-based knowledge of ‘best practice’ instructional methods and the teaching practices of typical STEM faculty.  This talk will connect data about the spread of research-based instructional strategies in college-level STEM to ideas from the change literature.  Recommendations will be made for how to decrease the knowledge-practice gap.


Charles Henderson, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Western Michigan University (WMU), with a joint appointment between the Physics Department and the WMU Mallinson Institute for Science Education. Much of his research activity is focused on understanding and improving the slow incorporation of research-based instructional reforms into college-level STEM courses. Research projects have attacked this problem from several directions: in-depth studies of faculty attempting to change their instruction, surveys and interviews with faculty related to the impact of evidence-based instructional strategies in their teaching, and an interdisciplinary literature review of change strategies in higher education.   

Dr. Henderson’s work has been supported by several National Science Foundation grants and has resulted in a number of publications (see http://homepages.wmich.edu/~chenders/ for details).  In spring 2010, Henderson was a Fulbright Scholar with the Finnish Institute for Educational Research at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. He is currently the Editor of the journal Physical Review Special Topics – Physics Education Research and a member of the National Research Council Committee on Undergraduate Physics Education Research and Implementation.