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Improving STEM education in introductory-level courses

This program is no longer active.  This website serves as a representation of the Nucleus Program website as it appeared during the life of the program (2013-2016).


With funding support from the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, the Center for Teaching Excellence is pleased offer Nucleus, a program designed to help faculty improve STEM education in large enrollment, introductory-level courses at UVa using research-based pedagogies and assessment—and to help faculty and departments sustain improvements.

Participants in this year-long program engage in ongoing ways with colleagues at the CTE and in other STEM disciplines, including these: attend the CTE’s Course Design Institute and redesign an introductory STEM course based on the science of teaching and learning; continually improve their course through systematic assessment of student learning; participate regularly in a science faculty learning community; peer-observe other participants in the program; consult regularly with CTE faculty.

Faculty members are encouraged to propose redesigns of any introductory-level course—lecture or laboratory setting—in any STEM discipline. Instructors who are open to learning-centered approaches to teaching and those willing to fully and actively participate in small, structured learning communities are especially sought. Preference will be given to instructors proposing to redesign large enrollment, lecture-based courses (100+ students) using evidence-based principles (see, for example, Evidence for the Efficacy of Student-active Learning Pedagogies-Froyd) and especially to groups of instructors teaching multiple sections of these types of courses. Preference will also be given to instructors/departments committed to continuous improvement and permanent change.