$3M Grant Aims to Transform Teaching Approaches in STEM Classrooms

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Wayne State University has received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to restructure its teaching approach from a lecture-based curriculum to evidence-based instructional practices in its science, technology, engineering, and math classes.

"This grant will create a culture of evidence-based teaching approaches in STEM areas at Wayne State, and ultimately engage more students in choosing STEM majors, decreasing their time-to-degree and building their career and future educational opportunities," says Gloria Heppner, associate vice president for research at Wayne State. 

The grant will be divided into awards of up to $100,000 and allocated to STEM departments. Heppner says through the program, students will experience more engaged learning while faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students will be trained in modern, evidence-based teaching methods.

"With a large portion of our student body comprised of non-traditional and underrepresented minorities, improved teaching practices will lead to significant increases in retention and graduation rates of these students," Heppner says.

The grant expands on a National Science Foundation grant given to Wayne State in 2013 for a self-study of teaching practices used in the university’s classrooms.​

IN RELATED NEWS, the Illitch family will donate $40 million to construct a new Wayne State University business school near downtown Detroit, according to numerous news reports.

Reports indicate the Ilitches will donate the land and $35 million to build the school plus a $5 million endowment. The business school, which could take up an entire block, will be 120,000 square feet, and will be located at the southwest corner of Woodward and Temple.