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A Cross-institutional Study of the Case Study Teaching in the Sciences Method

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.30.1 - 26.30.9



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Paper Authors


Sirena C. Hargrove-Leak Elon University

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Sirena Hargrove-Leak is an Assistant Professor in the Dual-Degree Engineering Program at Elon University in Elon, NC. The mission and commitment of Elon University have led her to explore the scholarship of teaching and learning in engineering and service-learning as a means of engineering outreach. Hargrove-Leak is an active member of the American Society for Engineering Education. With all of her formal education in chemical engineering, she also has interests in heterogeneous catalysis for fine chemical and pharmaceutical applications and membrane separations.

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Stephanie Luster-Teasley North Carolina A&T State University

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Dr. Stephanie Luster-Teasley is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Departments of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, and Chemical, Biological, and Bioengineering. Over the last ten years, Dr. Luster-Teasley has demonstrated excellence in teaching by using a variety of research-based, student-centered, pedagogical methods to increase diversity in STEM. Her teaching and engineering education work has resulted in her receiving the 2013 UNC Board of Governors Teaching Excellence Award, which is the highest teaching award conferred by the UNC system for faculty.

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Willietta Gibson Bennett College

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Dr. Willietta Gibson, a native of Durham, North Carolina, is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Bennett College. She received her B.S degree in Molecular Biology from Winston-Salem State University and Ph.D. in Biomedical Science from the Medical University of South Carolina. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE) at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) where she examined the sensitivity of inflammatory breast cancer cells to commercially available inhibitors of the sonic hedgehog signal transduction pathway. Dr. Gibson’s research interests include breast cancer health disparities amongst African-American women, natural products as chemopreventive agents in breast cancer and undergraduate STEM education. Dr. Gibson has taught Principles of Biology I and II, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Human Biology, Zoology and Biotechnology. She has a deep passion for teaching, helping others to learn, mentoring and increasing the number of underrepresented minorities entering into STEM graduate programs.

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A Cross-institutional Study of the Case Study Teaching in the Sciences MethodMany educators acknowledge that the millennial generation of students learns like no other, yet little hasbeen done to alter laboratory instruction in response to this generational shift. Further, most laboratorycourses use a traditional, formal style of “step-by-step” instruction. This “cookbook” instructionalpedagogy is based on the lower levels of Blooms Taxonomy and often leaves little to no impact onachieving higher levels of student learning. Data shows that students who participate in “cookbook”instruction are unable to apply lab concepts accurately beyond the original lab and many students do notretain laboratory skills they learned in the long-term. This work involves the use and evaluation of thecase study teaching in the sciences method for laboratory instruction. The case study educationalpedagogy promotes the use of cases, or interactive “stories,” to engage students in STEM courses and ithas been successfully used to help reform STEM instruction in traditional lecture courses. Our work isunique because the cases were used to introduce lab concepts and bring relevance to the analytical skillsbeing learned in the lab. This work is funded by NSF IUSE and is a collaborative effort of professors atthree distinctly different institutions: a public historically black co-ed technical university, a private,historically black liberal arts college for women, and a private, predominately white liberal artsuniversity. The proposed poster will report preliminary results from the evaluation of student learningpreferences and learning gains for students in environmental engineering, biology, and introductoryengineering courses at the three respective institutions. Data collection and analysis is currentlyunderway; however, we anticipate that the data will show clear linkages between learning preferences,learning gains, and demographic data such as gender, ethnicity, classification, and institutional type. Thiswork has the potential for broad impact because there is widespread interest in improving educationalpractices across STEM fields and in improving laboratory instruction.

Hargrove-Leak, S. C., & Luster-Teasley, S., & Gibson, W. (2015, June), A Cross-institutional Study of the Case Study Teaching in the Sciences Method Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23371

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