2017 NMSSI Geology of North America

Professional development opportunities

The DBER community is interested in providing a variety of professional development opportunities for faculty, postdoctoral research assistants, graduate students, and in-service K-12 teachers. Our research efforts aim at improving students’ experiences in STEM classrooms and as such we engage in various professional development activities to support instructors in these learning environments. Learn about opportunities for pedagogical professional development for faculty, graduate students and in-service teachers.


STEM focused pedagogical workshop series: A set of workshop series have been developed specifically with STEM faculty in mind. These workshop series help raise awareness and implementation of evidence-based instructional practices. ARISE

Peer Review of Teaching Project: The Peer Review of Teaching Project provides a model for how you can document, assess, and make visible your teaching and your student's learning through the developing a course portfolio. Even if you value and support excellence in teaching, it is often difficult to capture the intellectual work of your teaching in a form that can be conveyed easily to others. This yearlong project supports faculty in documenting learning through workshops, writing retreats, small group discussion with peers, and general discussions about pedagogy. Peer Review

Teaching and Learning Symposium: The Teaching and Learning Symposiums, sponsored by Academic Affairs, are an opportunity to participate in conversations about teaching and learning, to hear from experts on emerging issues in improving student outcomes, and to network with others seeking to improve teaching at UNL. Teaching and Learning Symposium

Graduate Students

DBER | College STEM Education Minor: The Graduate Minor in College STEM Education is designed for graduate students planning to pursue careers that involve teaching a STEM discipline at the college level. It will provide graduate students (master's and Ph.D.) in any science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) discipline an avenue for obtaining academic preparation for teaching their major discipline at the college level. STEM Education Minor

Specialization in Chemistry Teaching at the Postsecondary Level: The aim of the specialization in Chemistry Teaching at the Postsecondary Level is to enhance the preparation of chemistry graduate students who intend to pursue an academic career. The discipline-specific pedagogical training that this specialization provides addresses the American Chemical Society’s finding that chemistry graduate programs around the nation do not provide sufficient preparation for careers after graduate school (American Chemical Society, 2013). In particular, one of the recommendations relates directly to this specialization:

“The ACS should develop one or more formal courses for the more explicit preparation of students who intend to seek academic employment. The first should be focused on undergraduate curriculum development, teaching standards, and teaching methods. It should be provided on campus through specifically trained faculty or perhaps online, in part, or in whole. Academic institutions should strongly encourage all applicants for teaching positions to have résumés noting successful completion of this course or a suitable alternative.”

The specialization consists of four courses for a total of 10 credit hours. The course are listed below in the order in which they should be taken.

      CHEM 898 Sect. 3 - Teaching Methods in Chemistry (1 credit): This course explores teaching strategies specific to chemistry at the college level, and promotes the development of skills for facilitating active, student-centered learning in both lecture and laboratory settings. It is required for first-time teaching assistants.
      EDPS 854 - Human Cognition and Instruction (3 credits): Cognitive psychology and its applications in instruction. Memory, problem solving, cognitive process in reading, research approaches, and applications to teaching.
      CHEM 898 Sect. 2 - Evidence-based Teaching Methods for the Postsecondary Classroom (3 credits): The overarching goal of the course is to provide graduate students interested in pursuing an academic career with training in teaching at the postsecondary level. Specifically, the course is intended to introduce graduate students to instructional practices that have been empirically demonstrated to enhance students’ learning and attitudes toward science and their associated learning theories. Moreover, the course is intended to provide students with opportunity to develop, implement, and receive feedback on a unit and lecture of their choice as well as develop a teaching philosophy grounded in research on how people learn.
      CHEM 898 Sect. 4 - Practicum in Chemistry Teaching (3 credits): The course is intended to train TAs in student-centered teaching by requiring them to implement strategies in real context while receiving constant feedback and support. This course will build on the knowledge gained in the prior two courses. In particular, students will be asked to develop and implement instructional strategies in the setting in which they teach (laboratory or recitation). They will be trained on observing and providing feedback on the instructional practices of other TAs. They will also be asked to develop and implement strategies to overcome weaknesses identified during observation.

Contact Dr. Marilyne Stains at mstains2@unl.edu if you have any questions.

In-Service Teachers

Nebraska Math and Science Summer Institutes: The goal of the Nebraska Math and Science Summer Institutes is to offer Nebraska teachers of math and science intellectually rich graduate coursework that will enhance their ability to offer their students challenging courses and curricula. NMSSI courses are designed with teachers' schedules in mind, with 40 hours of instruction concentrated into a one-week period for one course, or a pair of courses over a two-week period. NMSSI GEOS 898: School of Rock