U of I Joins Elite Network to Train Tomorrow’s STEM Educators

June 16, 2020   |   By University of Idaho Communications

From University of Idaho Communications

The University of Idaho joins some of the country’s biggest names in impactful research as it is welcomed into The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) Network, a dynamic academic network of top research universities dedicated to developing and expanding proven STEM teaching practices to educate diverse populations of students.

U of I joins the ranks of Michigan State University, Columbia, Cornell, Yale, Texas A&M and Johns Hopkins, among others.

Each member university develops its own local learning community around CIRTL’s pillars of teaching-as-research, learning communities and learning-through-diversity. The network shares resources, including professional development, program evaluation guides, research briefs and―highly relevant to this new COVID-19 era―online, cross-network courses, workshops and drop-in events.

“We have so many opportunities for student research, this will help further enhance that experience, helping us graduate the next generation of STEM teachers who are well-prepared with exceptional teaching tactics,” said U of I President Scott Green.

The five other new CIRTL members include: University of Arizona; University of Florida; University of Houston; University of Illinois-Chicago; and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada.

“We are excited to showcase our institution among the nation’s best in these CIRTL learning communities,” said Jerry McMurtry, dean of the College of Graduate Studies (COGS) at U of I. “The opportunities we can provide through this network build on our successes and will allow us to explore new areas.”

The effort at U of I is jointly sponsored by COGS and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).

“Through CIRTL, we will collaboratively generate a culture of engaged teaching, learning and research in STEM disciplines and prepare future faculty to positively effect, indeed transform, undergraduate education here and around the world,” said Brian Smentkowski, CETL director.

The newest member universities bring an even greater diversity in the expertise that the network gives faculty. The new partner institutions bring expertise in teaching indigenous students, and in serving students in urban multicultural environments.

“Now, during this pandemic, having a strong virtual learning community of peers and an established program of online offerings across the CIRTL Network provides members with a way to collaborate and leverage shared resources to better serve our graduate students and postdocs,” said Kitch Barnicle, associate director of the CIRTL Network.

CIRTL, launched in 2003, has always been ahead of the curve in remote learning, said CIRTL Founder and Director Robert Mathieu.