Improving How Universities Teach Science: Lessons from the Science Education Initiative (Hardback)
  • Improving How Universities Teach Science: Lessons from the Science Education Initiative (Hardback)

Improving How Universities Teach Science: Lessons from the Science Education Initiative (Hardback)

Hardback 288 Pages
Published: 01/05/2017
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Too many universities remain wedded to outmoded ways of teaching science in spite of extensive research showing that there are much more effective methods. Too few departments ask whether what happens in their lecture halls is effective at helping students to learn and how they can encourage their faculty to teach better. But real change is possible, and Carl Wieman shows us how it can be brought about.

Improving How Universities Teach Science draws on Wieman’s unparalleled experience to provide a blueprint for educators seeking sustainable improvements in science teaching. Wieman created the Science Education Initiative (SEI), a program implemented across thirteen science departments at the universities of Colorado and British Columbia, to support the widespread adoption of the best research-based approaches to science teaching. The program’s data show that in the most successful departments 90 percent of faculty adopted better methods. Wieman identifies what factors helped and hindered the adoption of good teaching methods. He also gives detailed, effective, and tested strategies for departments and institutions to measure and improve the quality of their teaching while limiting the demands on faculty time.

Among all of the commentary addressing shortcomings in higher education, Wieman’s lessons on improving teaching and learning stand out. His analysis and solutions are not limited to just one lecture hall or course but deal with changing entire departments and universities. For those who want to improve how universities teach science to the next generation, Wieman’s work is a critical first step.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674972070
Number of pages: 288
Dimensions: 235 x 156 mm


Carl Wieman has been leading a heroic crusade to increase rationality in our society by transforming how professors teach science in universities. In this highly informative, completely honest new book, he reveals the many lessons learned not only from his successes, but also from his failures. Should be required reading for every dean and faculty member concerned about America’s future. - Bruce Alberts, President Emeritus, National Academy of Sciences

In an era of cacophonous rhetoric cluttered with nonsense about the failures of American education, Carl Weiman offers an evidence-informed, humble, generous, and optimistic antidote. Turning his rigorous standards of inquiry to the very hard science of improving instruction, Weiman has been a leader in applying the best research to the reform of science education, and this book is a must-read for teachers, students, and college leaders striving for improvement. - Michael Feuer, President, National Academy of Education

Wieman's candid analysis of the Science Education Initiative offers a wonderful array of lessons and insights. His book will have a significant impact on university and faculty leaders in educational change. - Howard Gobstein, Executive Vice President, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

A useful read for anyone who is interested in considering some of the challenges of teaching undergraduates. - John Warner, Inside Higher Ed

Wieman’s new book…makes a strong, evidence-based case for pursuing broad changes in science instruction: out with lectures and in with active learning. It’s also an easily digested how-to guide for interested parties, including deans, department chairs and other faculty members. The project has major implications for administrators, too. Spoiler alert: if institutions want better science teaching, they have to value it alongside research. - Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed

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