RiSE Center announces FIG-MLA Program awardees

Eight University of Maine faculty members will receive 2017–18 course modification incentive grants from the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center) through the Faculty Incentive Grant-Maine Learning Assistant (FIG-MLA) Program.

This year’s grant recipients are:

  • Farahad Dastoor for BIO 200: Biology of Organisms
  • Paula Drewniany for MAT 127: Calculus II
  • Brett Ellis for MET 320: Six Sigma
  • Joshua Kelley for BMB 322: Biochemistry
  • Jean MacRae for CIE 331: Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering
  • Amanda Olsen for ERS 102: Environmental Geology
  • Jennifer Tyne for MAT 116: Introduction to Calculus
  • Todd Zoroya for MAT 122: Pre-Calculus, with revised curriculum

The FIG-MLA Program aims to strengthen instruction and learning outcomes in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses. STEM instructors submit grant proposals for modifying a course to include more evidence-based and student-centered teaching strategies, such as the use of clicker questions, collaborative group work, think-pair-share, and others. Proposals include the use of undergraduate Maine Learning Assistants (MLAs) in the class to help instructors implement course modifications.

MLAs serve as peer instructors, facilitating group work and assisting faculty as they transform their course to incorporate more interactive-engagement and student-centered instruction. MLAs learn to use innovative, research-based instructional strategies, develop relevant pedagogical skills, deepen their content understanding, and have the opportunity to explore their interest in STEM teaching, while participating in a vibrant community of peers and faculty.

The FIG-MLA program is modeled after the successful program developed at the University of Colorado Boulder. The program began in 2012 under a grant awarded to the RiSE Center through the National Science Foundation’s Math and Science Partnership program. Due to the demonstrated effectiveness of the FIG-MLA program, it is now funded through UMaine. Since the initiative’s start, 38 instructors with 37 courses in 14 departments have received awards. In addition, 236 undergraduate students have been hired as MLAs in STEM classes, receiving a stipend of about $1,000 per semester.

The FIG-MLA program will be partnering with the new UMaine Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning to offer continued professional development opportunities to all faculty awardees and MLAs.

The RiSE Center is now accepting applications for fall 2017 MLAs. A list of fall MLA courses and the application are online.

More information about UMaine’s FIG-MLA, including past awardees, also is online.