REALISE Impacts the Chemistry Department

Radford University was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Inclusive Excellence grant in 2017 to increase inclusivity of students. The program at Radford, entitled Realising Inclusive Science Excellence (REALISE), is a 5 year, one million dollar grant. The goal of this program is to create a student-ready, welcoming, and inclusive experience for students in STEM majors. The program provides resources to help faculty create inclusive classrooms through workshops and course-release time and to train REALISE peer role model students to provide social support and advice to help all students thrive in their majors.

Eight chemistry faculty have participated in learning cohorts to explore engaging teaching strategies, backwards course design, and inclusive pedagogy. Curriculum redesign to include project and problem-based learning in our first- and second-year courses help students make connections between their coursework and the world. The chemistry faculty also engage in a STEM-Ed reading group to discuss pedagogy strategies and share challenges and successes. In Spring 2018, faculty were challenged to embed metacognition and study strategies into their courses after reading “Teach Students How to Learn” by Saundra McGuire. The reading group provides an opportunity for faculty to collaborate with other STEM educators and providing a sense of community within the Artis College of Science and Technology.

To provide faculty the time necessary to incorporate inclusive pedagogy into their courses, the REALISE program offers time-release by hiring three postdoctoral teaching fellows. Dr. Anna Curtis, the Chemistry postdoctoral teaching fellow, contributed to course redesign and created tools for measuring success of the REALISE program. She recently accepted a position as a full-time Teaching Assistant Professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jun 27, 2019
Department of Chemistry