The CIRTL Network: 25 Research Universities Preparing a National Faculty to Advance STEM Undergraduate Learning
We seek to establish a national CIRTL Network of 25 research universities collaborating to advance the preparation in teaching and learning of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and thereby to create a national STEM faculty prepared to accomplish the CIRTL goal. This Network will prepare 1900 future faculty annually. For scale, 8900 of the STEM Ph.D.’s graduated in 2000 were teaching in U.S. higher education six year later.
The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL; www.cirtl.net) seeks to enhance excellence in STEM undergraduate education through development of a national faculty committed to implementing and advancing effective teaching practices for diverse learners.
The prosperity of US society in an accelerating global economy depends upon a competitive, technically expert, college-educated workforce. Yet there continue to be serious concerns about the quality of STEM undergraduate education that relate to the uneven quality of teaching, low enrollment and retention rates in introductory courses and inadequate student understanding, and the relationship between classroom experiences and equitable student achievement and persistence in STEM. In the face of continued concerns about the quality of STEM undergraduate education, there is a critical need to prepare future faculty members to be both forefront researchers and excellent teachers.
The overarching goal of CIRTL is to increase the STEM learning of all undergraduate students, and thereby to increase the number and diversity of those working in STEM fields and the STEM literacy of the nation.
The strategic leverage point through which CIRTL can shape the future of STEM undergraduate education is graduate education at research universities. Critically, 80% of STEM PhDs are granted at only 108 research universities, allowing for a highly targeted intervention before graduates flow into faculty positions at the 4400 U.S. undergraduate institutions (including research universities, comprehensive universities, liberal arts colleges, and community and tribal colleges).