|Abstract||"The mission of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL, www.cirtl.net) is to develop a national STEM faculty committed to advancing effective teaching practices for diverse student audiences as part of their professional careers. CIRTL seeks to reform undergraduate education though targeting graduate education at research universities. The rationale for this model is that since 80% of STEM Ph.D.’s are granted at only 100 research universities, targeted focus on students at these institutions will impact the vast majority of new faculty flowing into all US undergraduate institutions.
CIRTL’s philosophical foundation integrates the improvement of teaching and learning within a STEM research model, and embedding professional development within learning communities of and for graduates-through-faculty. The teaching-as-research idea guides STEM educators to consider prior work, hypothesize, implement, collect data, analyze, and improve. This work is fostered in interdisciplinary learning communities that engage all participants in improving their teaching. The diversity of such learning communities promotes understanding that learning of all is enhanced through diversity.
The twin goals of development of local and national learning communities create a synergistic whole greater than the sum of its undeniably remarkable parts. As CIRTL Network institutions develop, implement, and evaluate an effective STEM graduate-through-faculty learning community at their own campus, they are also feeding their innovation, expertise, and inherent diversity back to the community of current and future educators. In addition to the available innovation and expertise, the national learning community allows graduate students to engage with colleagues across institutional boundaries, cultural norms, personal experiences and disciplinary divisions better preparing them for future faculty positions.
CIRTL is in the process of expanding from six to 25 universities. This expansion represents the next step in developing a national STEM faculty committed to advancing effective teaching practices for diverse student audiences. "