Research

Primary Goal

The primary goal of the PRIMERS project is to help undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instructors move towards more learner-centered instruction to help prepare STEM instructors to implement learner-centered instruction and foster active learning in their classes. An existing evidence-based PD program will be leveraged as a starting point for this project.

Research Questions

The PRIMERS project aims to find answers to the following research questions:

  1. How can evidence-based instructional methods and PD programs be effectively propagated in a variety of different institutions of higher education to support STEM instructor implementation of learner-centered instruction? (Primary research question)
  2. How do undergraduate STEM instructors decide what evidence-based instructional methods to adopt/adapt and what informs their decision-making process? (Supporting research question)
  3. How can participants of PD programs act as agents of change in STEM education? (Supporting research question)
  4. How exactly is teaching valued in different STEM departments and how might they be able to differentiate learner-centered instruction that fosters active learning from traditional teacher-centered lecture-based instruction? (Supporting research question)

Secondary Goal

Recognizing that there is no single “one size fits all” PD program, the secondary goal of the PRIMERS project is to create, test, and implement different versions of the existing PD program that are sensitive to differences between institutions of higher education and their varied institutional contexts, and to develop models for sustainability that will permit these versions of the program to persist at their institutions beyond the life of the PRIMERS project. 

Participating Institutions

The collaborating institutions in this project are:

  • Front Range Community College (FRCC)
  • University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV)
  • University of Colorado at Boulder (CUB)

The institutions are a community college, a minority serving and emerging research institution, and a premier research university, respectively. One institution has a tradition of instructional coaches and no teaching and learning center (FRCC), one institution has a center for teaching and learning and no tradition of instructional coaches (UTRGV), and one institution has neither a tradition of instructional coaches nor a center for teaching and learning (CUB).