University of Waterloo
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Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
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Goldwin Smith Professor of Physics, Cornell University
There is a substantial and growing body of research -- many hundreds of papers -- that has identified several pedagogical approaches that are significantly more effective than traditional lecturing, even for large classes in conventional auditoriums. And yet traditional lecturing still dominates in most subjects at most institutions. This talk describes a program launched five years ago at Cornell University, by its College of Arts and Sciences, to address this contradiction. In the program's first iteration, large introductory course sequences in physics and biology were transformed by their respective departments. In two subsequent iterations, the program has grown to include 9 departments, affecting more than 70 faculty and thousands of students annually, and will more than double again in size by 2019 as it expands beyond the College of Arts and Sciences. This talk will discuss what was done, why and how it was done, and some of the impressive outcomes that followed from the changes. The talk will also discuss institutional challenges and opportunities created by such projects, from the perspective of the (then) dean.
Peter Lepage is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Physics at Cornell University. His primary research area is in theoretical particle physics, for which he won the American Physical Society's J. J. Sakurai Prize in 2016. He chaired Cornell's Physics Department for four years, was then dean of its College of Arts and Sciences for ten years, and is currently leading the university's Active Learning Initiative. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was appointed to the National Science Board by President Obama in 2012. He co-chaired the PCAST STEM Undergraduate Education Working Group for the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, leading to the Whitehouse publication Engage to Excel in 2012. The Association of American Universities (AAU) appointed him in 2011 to the Technical Advisory Committee for their Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative.
8.30 Light refreshments in DC 1301
9.00 Talk: Large-Scale Pedagogical Change and Sustainability at a Large Research University
10.00 Coffee and informal discussions
10.30 Demonstration of upper year/grad level active learning strategies
11.30 Informal discussions