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UA Joins Network Dedicated to Improving STEM Graduate Education

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UA Joins Network Dedicated to Improving STEM Graduate Education

June 9, 2020
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The university is one of six new institutions from the U.S. and Canada to join the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning.

The University of Arizona this fall will join a network of institutions in the United States and Canada dedicated to improving how graduate student and postdoctoral scholars are prepared for future faculty positions in STEM fields.

The university's membership in the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning was announced last week. The group is based at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin – Madison's School of Education.

CIRTL's member institutions are charged with developing learning communities where graduate students in science, technology, engineering and math -- future faculty members of these disciplines -- can learn STEM teaching practices that serve diverse undergraduate students.

The University of Arizona's membership will provide it access to network resources such as professional development opportunities, program evaluation guides, and online courses, workshops and events.

As a new member of CIRTL, the university will provide opportunities for graduate students to work on teaching projects with faculty in their disciplines, said Gail Burd, UA senior vice provost for academic affairs, teaching and learning and the institutional leader for the university's CIRTL partnership. Graduate students will also be trained to teach and assess student writing in STEM courses and will have opportunities to attend workshops on inclusive excellence in teaching and learning.

They also will be encouraged to join one of the university's Faculty Learning Communities, which meet several times each semester to talk about issues around teaching and learning.

"The University of Arizona provides excellent research training for future faculty in a variety of STEM disciplines," said Burd, a Distinguished Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology. "Our goal for the CIRTL learning community is to apply our experience with faculty professional development in evidence-based teaching to scaffold graduate student and postdoctoral scholar development for excellence in teaching and learning."