John Kenison, left, and Yifan Tian, graduate students in physics & astronomy, participate in a training meeting for an introductory physics lab course. Credit: UCI

UCI is one of 12 member universities active in the Association of American Universities‘ STEM Education Network chosen to receive up to $50,000 along with UCI matching funds to further existing efforts to improve undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The network is an outgrowth of the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative, launched in 2011 to encourage STEM departments at AAU universities to use teaching practices proven to be effective in helping students learn. The mini-grants are made possible by a five-year, $1 million grant from the Northrop Grumman Foundation and will fund specific departmental or collegewide improvements, such as: creating learning communities for STEM faculty members involved in reform efforts, establishing programs to train graduate students and undergraduate learning assistants or peer advisers in active learning practices, developing collegewide teaching evaluation programs, implementing educational analytics programs, and redesigning STEM courses. “The grant will allow UCI to strive to be the best version of itself in terms of academic achievement and campus climate,” said Michael Dennin, vice provost for teaching & learning. “With more funds to support such heavily impacted fields, UCI aspires to offer students more chances to acquire the necessary experience to propel them further in their careers and give them the tools required to succeed in life outside institutionalized academia.”