PER Seminar - 9/7 (Alice Olmstead)


Wednesday, September 7, 2016 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm


1400 Biomedical & Physical Sciences

An Assessment of Professional Development for Astronomy and Physics Faculty: Expanding Our Vision of How To Support Faculty’s Learning About Teaching
Alice Olmstead, Western Michigan University,

In this talk, I will describe my dissertation work exploring approaches to faculty instructional change within astronomy and physics. This research primarily focused on professional development workshops, which are a central mechanism used within our community to help faculty improve their teaching. Although workshops serve a critical role for promoting more equitable instruction, we rarely assess them through careful consideration of how they engage faculty. To encourage a shift towards more reflective, research-informed professional development, we developed the Real-Time Professional Development Observation Tool (R-PDOT) to document the form and focus of faculty’s engagement during workshops. We then analyzed video-recordings of faculty’s interactions during the Physics and Astronomy New Faculty Workshop, focusing on instances where faculty might engage in pedagogical sense-making. I will also briefly mention a local, team-based effort to improve an introductory course sequence for astronomy majors at the University of Maryland, in which I played a central advisory role. I will conclude with some hints of how this work may relate to and inform the project I am starting as a postdoctoral researcher at Western Michigan University, as well as some broader recommendations for professional development leaders and other researchers.