Teaching and Learning

14th Annual Best Practices Conference on Teaching and Learning brings the STEM community together to promote successful strategies in improving undergraduate academic performances. World renowned experts in these fields present their findings, and best practice practitioners provide guidance on how to adapt and adopt their methods in the classroom and laboratory each year. STEM faculty members who attend this event have reported that what they learned has been instrumental in improving STEM teaching and learning at their institutions and has positively influenced the academic achievement of their students.



Date: October 28, 2016
Place: University of Puerto Rico - Cayey Campus  
(See Google Map) at the "Nuevo Edificio de Ciencias" (NEC). 

Participants parking will be at "Monte Olimpo".

see UPR-Cayey Campus map




Click to download Agenda

Deadline: October 20, 2016  

Invited Speakers:

Dr. Ann M.L. Cavallo

Short Bio: Ann M.L. Cavallo

Dr. Cavallo is the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, Co-director of UTeach Arlington Science and Mathematics Education program, and Distinguished University Professor of Science Education at the University of Texas at Arlington. She earned her B.S. from Niagara University, and her M.S. in Science Education/Biology, M.S. in Natural Science, and Ph.D. in Science Education from Syracuse University. She holds secondary teacher certification in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, and General Science, and taught middle and high school science prior to earning her graduate degrees. She has held faculty appointments at the University of Oklahoma, the University of California-Davis, and Wayne State University. She joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Arlington in 2006 as Associate Professor and earned the rank of Professor in 2009 in her field of Science Education. In 2015 she received the Distinguished Record of Research Award and in 2016 was named Distinguished University Professor and inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Scholars at UT Arlington. She is currently Principal Investigator of two National Science Foundation Robert Noyce grants totaling over $2 million. Dr. Cavallo’s research has investigated high school and college students’ learning approaches and strategies, scientific reasoning, self-efficacy, and their acquisition of conceptual understandings of science, particularly through inquiry based teaching models. 

Title How STEM Learning Informs Best Practice: The UTeach Arlington and NSF Noyce Teacher Education Programs

What does research indicate as important cognitive and affective skills for successful STEM learning? What would a university program that specifically prepares new teachers to develop these skills in K-12 students look like? Over the past eight years our interdisciplinary team at UT Arlington has worked to develop and implement a research-based science and mathematics teacher education program known as UTeach Arlington. The program launch was supported by grants and gifts from several entities, and coincided with our successful NSF Noyce scholarship program. Together these programs have produced a 10-fold increase in new, highly qualified STEM teachers. This presentation will review cognitive and affective skills for STEM learning and how this work informs best practices in our program. It will provide an overview of our collaborative UTeach Arlington and related NSF Noyce Scholarship programs in recruiting, preparing, inducting, and retaining new science and mathematics teachers – teachers who are prepared to meaningfully and positively influence the intellectual competence of the next generation of STEM students.

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Dr. Philip M. Sadler

Short Bio: Dr. Philip M. Sadler

Philip Sadler heads the Science Education Department of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and is Harvard's F.W. Wright Senior Lecturer in Astronomy. He holds a B.S. in Physics from MIT and an Ed.D. from Harvard. He co-authored the first integrated computer and laboratory introductory calculus course in 1975. He has taught middle school mathematics, science, and engineering, undergraduate astronomy, and graduate teaching courses. He has founded three companies and holds five patents. His research interests include assessment of students' misconceptions and how they change with instruction, the transition to college of students who wish to purse STEM careers, and the professional development of teachers. Dr. Sadler won the Journal of Research in Science Teaching Award, the AIP’s Computers in Physics Prize, the American Astronomical Society Education Prize, and the American Association of Physics Teachers’ Millikan Medal. Curricula and materials developed by Dr. Sadler are used by an estimated fifteen million students every year.

Title: Best Practices in STEM Education: Separating Facts from Fads

While most STEM educators passionately hold beliefs about the best ways to teach and promote career interest, the evidence that underpins their decisions is all too often anecdotal and personal. Through the collection of copious, nationally representative student data, my team investigates some of the more controversial disputes about the best way to educate students, particularly in STEM fields, both for persistence in interest and success when they get to college coursework. The cognitive sciences also have a major role in shaping our work by identifying promising research questions, along with the use of cutting-edge research methods. In constructing quantitative models that take into account student differences, we reveal underlying patterns, ultimately supporting or refuting beliefs about: high school coursework, content coverage, assessment, instructional practices, the role of mathematics, technology, and teacher knowledge. 

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Dr. Ramón López

Short-Bio: Dr. Ramon Lopez

Received his B.S. in Physics in 1980 from the University of Illinois, and his Ph.D. in Space Physics in 1986 from Rice University.  He is currently a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) where he leads a research group that is working in both space physics and science education.  Dr. Lopez is the author or co-author of over 110 peer-reviewed publications, as well as the popular science book “Storms from the Sun.”  Dr. Lopez was one of the Co-Chairs of the writing team that produced the Next Generation Science Standards, and he has won numerous awards for his work in both space physics and science education.  Dr. Lopez is a Fellow of the APS and the AAAS.

Title: Applying some simple research-based pedagogical techniques in the university classroom

In this talk Dr. López will briefly present evidence that the traditional lecture mode of instruction is not sufficient for university science instruction.  Over the past 20 years, a number of active learning techniques have been developed and popularized to address this issue.  I will provide some examples of research-based pedagogical techniques that can be applied simply in a wide range of science classes in a “how-to” fashion, along with resources that could be useful to the practitioner.  I will also provide evidence that these techniques are effective in improving instruction, and that they are transportable across institutions.

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Dr. Greg Hale

Short-Bio: Dr. Greg Hale

The Co-Director of UTeach Arlington, and Assistant Dean of Students and Science Education in the College of Science at the University of Texas at Arlington. He has worked with in-service and pre-service science teachers since 2001. His work with in-service teachers has largely centered around his role as an instructor and program director for the College of Science's Master of Arts in interdisciplinary Science. He has been involved as an instructor and administrator of science courses for middle level and elementary pre-service teachers since 2002, and his involvement with pre-service secondary science and math teachers began when he was named a Co-Director of UTeach Arlington in 2009. In addition to his work with pre-service and in-service teachers, he also has outreach projects that aim to increase the size, quality, and diversity of the STEM professional pipeline out of K-12 schools. Since being named Assistant Dean of Science in 2006, he has been the Principal Investigator for projects that have brought in over $4.3M and a Co-Principal Investigator on projects that have brought in an additional $4.8M. 

Title: Priming the STEM Professional Pipeline

There have been numerous reports that recommend an increase in the number of STEM professionals in the U.S., including the 2012 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology’s Engage To  Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  The Science Education and Career Center at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) has engaged in multiple initiatives to increase the size, quality, and diversity of the STEM professional pipeline. Our efforts directly targeting K-12 student audiences will be discussed here, including chemistry demonstration “magic” shows to a largely grades 2-6 audience, residential and day summer camps for grades 6-8 students, and close partnership with the Arlington Independent School District’s STEM Academy High School.  In this talk I will describe these efforts and the partnerships between UTA and other institutions that make the programs possible.

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