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CIRTL: Impacting STEM Education through Graduate Student Professional Development

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Methods, Techniques, and New Programs in Graduate Education

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.325.1 - 22.325.10



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Paper Authors

author page

Justin P. Micomonaco Michigan State University

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Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning: Impacting STEM Education through Graduate Student Professional Development In response to the concerns with STEM education nationally (e.g., Committee onScience, Engineering and Public Policy, 2006), there are many efforts underway to address theinability of the U.S. to adequately attract, retain and prepare students in the STEM disciplines.Key factors often linked to this weakness in STEM education include poor pedagogical practicesand curricular experiences (Seymour & Hewitt, 1994). To address these issues, the Center for theIntegration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) focuses on the preparation of graduatestudents for their future careers as educators. Graduate students in STEM fields represent thefuture faculty who will serve as the formal instructors at the more than 4000 institutions ofhigher education; moreover they will also be engaged in all forms of STEM education fordiverse learners, including college laboratories, distance education, K-12 pre-service preparation,and informal education. In the STEM fields, 80 percent of these graduate students are trained atonly 125 research universities nationwide. Thus, CIRTL leverages this critical point in thepreparation of future faculty in its efforts to influence STEM education nationally. Created in 2003, the CIRTL Network fosters the development of expertise in teaching aswell as research among graduate student through programs designed around the philosophical“pillars” of (a) teaching-as-research, (b) learning communities, and (c) learning-through-diversity. The pillars serve as the intellectual template for training graduate students to beeffective as both teachers and researchers in their future careers. This paper highlights CIRTL’s efforts to impact STEM education at all levels through itsprofessional development programs for graduate students. The paper will focus primarily ondescribing the work of CIRTL including (a) what role the philosophical pillars play, (b) whattypes of opportunities exist for graduates, and (c) how the member institutions interact as anetwork to promote learning and development inter-institutionally. In addition, the paper willdraw upon the data collected over the last seven years as part of an on-going case study of themulti-institutional network to discuss (a) evidence of success, (b) obstacles to succeeding inimplementing these programs, and (c) future challenges for CIRTL as an inter-institutionalnetwork.

Micomonaco, J. P. (2011, June), CIRTL: Impacting STEM Education through Graduate Student Professional Development Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17606

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