News and Announcements

Special grants available to attend Lilly Teaching Conference

Clipart rendition of a suitcase

We are offering special, competitive grants for faculty members of any rank to attend the Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching. This year's conference will take place from June 1 to 4 in Bethesda, MD, and will focus on "Evidence-based Teaching and Learning." Each grant is set at an amount intended to cover transportation, hotel and conference registration costs.

The deadline for submitting an online grant proposal is Friday, March 3, 2017.

Note: first consideration is given to applicants who have not received a Lilly grant in the past three years.

Seed grants available for faculty to develop Integrative Studies Gen Ed courses

Informational webinar to be held on Thursday, Jan. 26

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Office for General Education is pleased to announce an opportunity for faculty interested in developing a new Integrative Studies General Education course.

Image of a white sprouting seedling with a solid blue background

Through The Office of the Provost, $400,000 has been provided for seed grants to promote the development of courses that embrace the goals of General Education, specifically around integrative thinking learning objectives and the new Integrative Studies requirement. The program is also supported by thirteen different collaborating University units, including five academic units, which will provide additional funds or wrap-around expertise and resources to assist faculty.

In April 2015, the University Faculty Senate approved a new Integrative Studies requirement within General Education, and implementation details were approved in March 2016. Such courses have never been required or had a recognized designation at Penn State. The seed grant initiative is designed to incentivize faculty to develop integrative studies courses, through either inter-domain or linked courses.

“Integrative thinking is a hallmark of contemporary education and a key new component of General Education at Penn State," said Margaret Slattery, interim director and assistant dean of the Office for General Education.

“Integrative Studies courses are intended to give students an intentional opportunity to practice this way of thinking. Development of these courses presents an opportunity for faculty to focus on helping students examine topics from different disciplinary perspectives,” Slattery continued.

More details about new General Education requirements, the seed grant initiative, as well as information on how to apply, can be found at gened.psu.edu. The deadline for grant submission is Feb. 28.

A webinar will be hosted by the Office for General Education at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, to describe the new Integrative Studies courses, requirements of the proposal, and the expectations for seed grant awardees. All faculty and staff are invited to participate. Connection details can be found at gened.psu.edu. For those not able to connect, a recording of the webinar will be made available.

“Integrative thinking is a hallmark of contemporary education and a key new component of General Education at Penn State."

Margaret Slattery
interim director and assistant dean
Office for General Education

The Office for General Education opened in August 2016 to develop and lead the General Education curriculum for all undergraduate students at the University and to support faculty development in this area. The unit was created as a result of recommendations from the University Faculty Senate to Penn State Provost and Executive Vice President Nick Jones regarding the need for a structure to provide ongoing support for general education at Penn State.

Contact SITE to schedule a pre-proposal consultation!

Collaborative Research at the Schreyer Institute Leads to Manuscript Acceptance

Our instructional consultants are often approached by Penn State faculty to assist them on a variety of topics and initiatives related to teaching. Last year, Jacqueline McLaughlin, associate professor of Biology at Penn State Lehigh Valley, contacted the Schreyer Institute about the exciting results she had achieved through the use of an innovative pedagogical strategy in her biology labs.

McLaughlin's four-step laboratory pedagogical framework, using authentic research experiences for her introductory biology laboratory students, achieved positive results for improving college students’ perceptions of their laboratory skills and knowledge, and promoted their interest in doing further research in the laboratory.

A manuscript sharing the positive results and application potential of this innovative teaching strategy was generated through the close collaboration between Dr. McLaughlin and her student Mit Patel; Christine Goedhart, instructor of Biology at Citrus College in Glendora, CA; and Suzanne Weinstein, former director of Instructional Consulting, Assessment and Research at the Schreyer Institute and David Favre, graduate instructional consultant at the Schreyer Institute. The manuscript was accepted for publication by the Journal of College Science Teaching (JCST).

Please look for “The Impact of a Four-Step Laboratory Pedagogical Framework on Biology Students Perceptions of Laboratory Skills, Knowledge and Interest in Research” to be published in JCST sometime during mid-2018.

SRTEs Go Mobile!

This semester students can choose to submit SRTEs using the new mobile friendly web version for phones and tablets. No app download is necessary, upon sign-in students will see this option when they have active SRTEs to complete. Students may find it convenient to respond to open-ended questions using the voice-recognition built into their mobile devices.

Screen shot of mobile icon from SRTE tool. 
Screen shot of Mobile SRTE icon.

When students choose the mobile option, they will see only one question at a time, rather than the entire SRTE form on their screens.

The regular web version SRTE is still available for students with laptops or without mobile devices.

Faculty will also be able to use the mobile version to check response rates for courses with active SRTEs. Those faculty who are concerned about response rates will be interested in taking advantage of this new functionality by asking students with mobile devices to complete their SRTEs during class.

Faculty: please remember that if you set aside class time for students to complete the SRTE, you need to leave the room.