Enhanced Teaching

MU receives AAU grant to improve STEM education.

Johannes Schul and Sarah Bush
A team of MU faculty led by biological sciences professors Johannes Schul and Sarah Bush has helped MU secure an AAU grant to enhance STEM education.

The University of Missouri is one of 12 universities to receive a grant from the Association of American Universities (AAU) to further existing efforts to improve undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

The $20,000 mini-grant will support faculty learning communities, departmental workshops, a symposium on STEM education reform and visits with experts in STEM reform. Johannes Schul and Sarah Bush, both professors with MU’s Division of Biological Sciences, are leading the new project.

“This grant is an opportunity to build an infrastructure and a culture that encourages and supports efforts to reform courses, curriculum and the classroom experiences of students in STEM fields at MU,” Schul says.

Among the objectives of the project are to organize the faculty across campus who are already involved in STEM education reform efforts to create an active, interactive and visible community; develop faculty expertise as a resource for STEM education reform across campus, by training, encouraging and supporting additional STEM and Education faculty in active curriculum reform; and generate general awareness of the need for systematic STEM education reform on campus, as well as the ongoing efforts to accomplish it.

“This is a faculty-driven effort,” Bush says. “The fact that a group of faculty volunteered to put this project together indicates the extent to which professors at MU care about the quality of undergraduate teaching. Although we’re very grateful for the support we’re receiving from administration, efforts like this are most successful when faculty themselves have identified a problem and are motivated on their own to address it.”

The mini-grants are made possible by a five-year, $1 million grant from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, which supports diverse and sustainable national programs to enhance the STEM education experience for students and provide STEM teachers with the training and tools they need to be successful in the classroom.

”AAU remains committed to improving the effectiveness of undergraduate STEM teaching and learning at research universities,” says AAU President Mary Sue Coleman. “We are excited to support innovative concepts to scale education reforms at our member campuses.”

Grant recipients are the California Institute of Technology; Cornell University; Iowa State University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; McGill University; The University of Texas at Austin; University of California, Irvine; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Kansas; University of Missouri, Columbia; University of Virginia; and Yale University.

The 12 universities receiving this grant are active in the AAU STEM Education Network. The network is an outgrowth of the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative, a major project begun in 2011 to encourage STEM departments at AAU universities to use teaching practices proven effective in engaging students in STEM education and in helping students learn.

Project Leadership Team

Johannes Schul (co-lead)
Biological Sciences

Sarah Bush (co-lead)
Biological Sciences

Craig Kluever
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Dorina Kosztin

James Noble
Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Robert O’Connell
Electrical Engineering

Brenda Pecullis

Marcelle Siegel
Science Education, Biochemistry

Alan Whittington

Jim Spain *
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies

Noor Azizan-Gardner *
Asst. Vice Chancellor, Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity

Cooper Drury *
Assoc. Dean, College of Arts & Science

Hani Salim *
Assoc. Dean, Engineering

* administrative liaison