Auburn joins network to advance efforts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

Published: April 01, 2016
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Auburn University has joined 25 other research universities across the United States and Canada as the newest members of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning, or CITRL, a national initiative to increase the number and diversity of graduates in the STEM fields, which include science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"Auburn's membership in the center's network illustrates our institution's ongoing commitment to excellence in STEM education," said Timothy Boosinger, Auburn University provost and vice president for academic affairs. "As we prepare the next generation of teachers and scholars, it is vital that our graduate students and faculty have access to such a robust network of resources and ideas."

Auburn joins the network as the university surpasses the midpoint of its five-year strategic plan in which advancing Auburn's intellectual community – while strengthening research and scholarship efforts – remain key commitments. As a CIRTL member, the institution will develop local learning communities to promote effective research-based teaching and mentoring techniques for STEM graduate students.

"Findings from the Wisconsin Center for Education Research's Longitudinal Study of Future STEM Scholars confirms that the integration of teaching and research enhances graduate student preparation for faculty roles," said Diane Boyd, director of the Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and CIRTL team administrative co-leader. "By amplifying their success as early career-faculty members, we are improving student learning in STEM."

Auburn's proposed local learning communities will advance faculty careers and prepare STEM graduate students in several interrelated ways. In tandem with the larger CIRTL network, Auburn's local learning communities will accomplish the following:

  • Strengthen Auburn's ability to compete for NIH and NSF funding as it provides a structure for including broader impacts in proposals that demonstrate Auburn's commitment to graduate student preparation and faculty success.
  • Provide mentoring networks for faculty to supplement their individual support of graduate students, improving graduate students' preparation as successful grant collaborators.
  • Support effective and efficient teaching for faculty and graduate students, resulting in better learning outcomes in the classroom with less perceived effort.
  • Distinguish our STEM graduate students from others entering the job market. The Auburn CIRTL program will allow graduate students and faculty access to resources to implement Teaching-as-Research projects in state-of-the-art EASL classrooms in the Mell Classroom building opening Fall 2017.

George Flowers, dean of the Graduate School and chair of Auburn's CIRTL team, applauded the invitation to join the network. "Membership in the CIRTL network clearly demonstrates Auburn's commitment to and concern for graduate student professional preparation, faculty development and student success," said Flowers.

Invitations to participate in Auburn University's local learning communities will be extended to the College of Sciences and Mathematics, the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, the College of Agriculture, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and selected programs in the natural and social sciences housed in the College of Human Sciences, the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts with the aim of including all STEM doctoral programs.

For more information or to join the Auburn CIRTL community, email cirtlau@auburn.edu or go to http://wp.auburn.edu/cirtl/.