Supported by the Provost’s Office, the Engaging Pedagogies Grant Program is designed to support the exploration and implementation of evidence-based instructional practices (EBIPs) in arts, humanities and social science courses. The grant program supports faculty to select pedagogies that promote deep learning, self-efficacy, rapport with instructor, sense of community, degree commitment and academic satisfaction.
The first round of engaging pedagogies grantees were announced last spring, and faculty teams have been working to develop and implement changes to courses, integrating EBIPs in order to increase student understanding of course content and persistence to degree. The first round of funding went to the following departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Public Policy: communication, economics, English, history, music, political science, theatre arts and world languages.
The work of these faculty teams already is showing results in improved student learning and retention. For example, the music department has made changes to the first- and second-year music theory courses, including integrating learning assistants into the courses and adopting active learning approaches using keyboards in class. The changes were implemented during the fall 2016 semester and already have proven to be effective; student performance in the course and progress through to the next course has improved overall.
The Department of Economics has taken a two-pronged approach to their project. First, instructors introduced several EBIPs into the class, including conducting real-time classroom assessment of student learning using clickers. Second, they engaged peer mentors who work with faculty teaching the courses and assist their students at various stages of the courses (from assisting with homework, to sharing study skills, to reviewing tests and discussing student goals for improvement on exams).
Other teams are using the grant funding to make changes that affect multiple classes. For example, the political science department is creating three new political science (POLS) 200 level classes. These new classes will give students more choices of lower division classes and are being designed specifically to provide necessary skills to be successful in the academic degree. The project team expects that changes in the course will lead to student gains in critical thinking, collaborative work, writing and oral presentation.
The next round of proposals for these grants is currently being reviewed, and grantees will be announced in the next few weeks.