STEM Instructional Program

Group Photo 2019-2020 STEM Instructional Program

Group Photo 2018-2019 STEM Instructional Program


Based on a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) grant project, this two-week professional development opportunity was developed to improve instructional techniques of participants. The STEM Instructional Program broadens WMU's effort in transforming undergraduates' experiences: developing scientists as teachers and developing students as scientists. By working together across STEM disciplines, we re-imagine innovative approaches to teaching and learning.

The goal of the WMU STEM Instructional program is to give individuals, who oversee the instruction and design of our STEM courses, the tools, and skills they need to innovate, re-design and assess their pedagogy. As such, we seek for students to gain opportunities to realize their potentials as emerging professionals in STEM fields.

Who the program is for:

All STEM Instructors and laboratory coordinators, including full-time traditionally ranked faculty, faculty specialists, term faculty, part-time faculty and graduate teaching assistants teaching STEM courses during Fall 2020 and Spring 2021

Learning outcomes:

  • Participants will be able to construct new active learning strategies based on their own course and personal teaching style.
  • Participants will be able to confidently integrate active learning strategies within their own course.
  • Participants will be able to evaluate how their roles in the classroom, independent from content, impact student learning.
  • Participants will participate in building a learning community.

When and where

Virtual STEM Instructional program begins June 15, 2020 with individual final project due June 28th.

How to apply

Application materials are to be emailed to by May 11, 2020. Participants will be notified via email by May 15 with more details.

Questions can be directed to

Past participants *** Names and Posters***

                2019 – 2020

                2018 - 2019



Through a grant from the HHMI Undergraduate Science Education Program, we developed a professional development series for STEM instructors and teaching assistants to add inquiry-based teaching strategies in their classrooms and laboratories to more fully engage undergraduate students in their learning.  The following videos provide a snapshot of content from this series.


Research Project


Promoting Inquiry-Based Learning in STEM: Professional Development for TAs



Our project is titled Promoting Inquiry-Based Learning in STEM: Professional Development for TAs.  Using the scientific method and Bloom’s taxonomy of learning we developed a 9-day workshop and year-long series to equip STEM TAs with skills to deliver inquiry-based instruction, an approach found to enhance student learning performance and reduce student attrition.
Using a pre-test, post-test design we found that after the 9-day workshop TAs achieved significant gains in:
  • Developing greater confidence and interest in implementing inquiry-based teaching to help students learn
  • Communicating to a broad and diverse audience
  • Using inquiry-based techniques and seeing the results of their efforts in the form of improved student learning
After the year-long series TAs continued to show:
  • High confidence and interest in using inquiry-based teaching especially advanced skills (e.g., peer evaluation, flipped classroom)
  • Recognition of how inquiry-based techniques enhance student learning performance
  •  Gains in personal growth as teachers, mentors, scientists, and as students themselves  
The research team recommends that this professional development program for STEM TAs and early career faculty continue at Western Michigan University. The program provides an array of inquiry-based pedagogical techniques that participants perceive help student learning performance in entry-level STEM courses. Moreover, this program increased participants’ confidence and interest in their teaching skills.