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CIRTL Spotlights: Boston University
The next institution on our CIRTL Spotlights series is Boston University (BU), one of twenty-five institutions that makeup the CIRTL Network.
We cast our light on BU to showcase several centers of STEM research and education that match CIRTL pillars and mission. Among them is the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching (CEIT) which encompasses all schools and colleges within the university and is charged broadly with promoting and supporting innovative and exemplary teaching and facilitating continued professional development of faculty as teachers. Established in 2001, CEIT improves classroom and laboratory teaching infrastructure and technology, funds faculty travel to conferences focused on teaching, offers Grants for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (GUTS) ‐ designed to promote a culture of undergraduate inquiry‐based learning and to deepen the understanding of research among undergraduates - among other initiatives.
Also, CEIT in the last several years has been focusing on building campus-wide learning communities by, for instance, connecting faculty who teach doctoral students across the university so that they can share ideas, methods and resources. As such, CEIT has created a course site where materials can be shared. This aspect of CEIT has great potential to further evolve within CIRTL’s own learning communities and Network.
In addition to CEIT, the Vesalius Program at the School of Medicine is a leading program in training PhDs to become effective teachers in biomedical sciences. The program helps graduate students and potential future faculty design, present and organize lectures. It motives small group discussion sessions and exposes the participants to a supportive environment where they can improve their teaching skills. Similarly, the Biology Department has taught Bridge to Knowledge, a semester-long training in evidence and research-based science pedoagogy for the past 10 years, which has recently expanded to Physics and Chemisty with plant to CIRTL-ize in the coming semester.
BU also hosts a New Teaching Fellow Orientation Program which serves as a teaching seminar for graduate students offered once every semester.
From a national perspective, in the year 2010 Boston University granted 220 PhD’s in STEM disciplines.