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Dec 5 / Carl Sorgen

WIDER Steering Committee Accepting Proposals for 2017 SSTEP Fellows

A team of faculty consisting of Andrew Feig (Chemistry), Peter Hoffmann (Physics), Robert Bruner (Mathematics), Karen Myhr (Biology), and Mathew Ouellett (Associate Provost and Director of the Office for Teaching and Learning) have been awarded a series of NSF grants to study and improve STEM education at Wayne State.  The project began with WIDER (Widening Implementation and Dissemination of Evidence-Based Reforms) and is continued with funding from the NSF IUSE (Improving Undergraduate STEM Education) program.  This program has funded a five-year project, titled “Student Success Through Evidence-based Pedagogies” (SSTEP).  The SSTEP grant is designed to fund a range of competitive, department-based awards of up to $100,000 supporting faculty-driven course reform projects.


In 2016, four teams of faculty were awarded SSTEP funding for their course reform projects.  These projects are:

  • Student-student and student-instructor interaction intensive teaching strategies for two fundamental proof-based mathematics courses. This project is utilizing group work and project-based learning to improve student learning and experience in two upper-level courses in the Department of Mathematics.
  • Evidence-based course sequence in “Physics for the Life Sciences.” Based in the Physics and Astronomy Department, this project includes a redesign of the curriculum and implementation of Peer Instruction in a sequence of introductory Physics classes for life science majors.
  • Effective Mathematics INstruction for lEarning aNd Teaching (EMINENT). EMINENT is reforming a sequence of math classes for pre-service K-12 teachers, including the use of group work and journaling.  This project is a collaboration between the Wayne State Departments of Mathematics and Mathematics Education and Henry Ford College Mathematics Education.
  • Student-initiated learning in engineering. This project has incorporated a team-based project in an introductory course in the College of Engineering, demonstrating real-life application of the coding skills learned in this course.


The WIDER Steering Committee is now accepting proposals for faculty-driven course reform projects for 2017.  Faculty in STEM departments are invited to submit proposals for course reform projects leading to the implementation of evidence-based practices and learner-centered classroom experiences.  Preference will be given to developmental and foundational courses for STEM majors, though upper-division classes impacting degree completion will also be considered.


Two information sessions will be held for faculty to ask questions about their proposals and the review process.  Additionally, questions can be directed to the PI, Andrew Feig (  The information sessions will be held:

  • December 6, 2016 at 10 AM, Maccabees Building, Conference Room A
  • January 5, 2017 at 1 PM, Purdy/Kresge Teaching Commons, Room 150


The request for proposals can be found here.  Proposals are due February 8, 2017.


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