We describe a major transformation in teaching large introductory courses in the sciences and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, impacting over 17,000 students yearly. The transformation was emergent, not prescribed, and occurred through two programs that included both engineering and science departments. Working collaboratively in Communities of Practice (CoPs), made up of a small number of faculty and teaching professionals formed within departments, faculty adopted and implemented evidence-based instructional practices with the goal of sustaining them over time. To make the reform process understandable to research faculty, we adopted the adage of “teach like you do research,” meaning not only using iterative, evidence-based decision making but also engaging in a scholarly, collaborative community that pushes each individual member toward excellence. Another essential feature of the reform was embedding faculty members within the CoPs who had both knowledge of and a track record of implementing evidence-based reforms in their courses to serve as resources to the CoP. We describe the course-reform process and lessons learned and provide evidence for the success of our efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-38
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of College Science Teaching
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Changing the Teaching Culture in Introductory STEM Courses at a Large Research University'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this