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Coalition for Science Literacy


Improve and modernize teaching in all areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), leading to greater retention and graduation rates and better career preparation of STEM majors.


CSL was established in 1995 by then President Betty Castor.  Until 2008 it worked primarily with K-12 schools, and succeeded in securing about $23,000,000 in State and Federal support.  At the request of Dean Eisenberg, it applied for an NSF WIDER planning grant in 2013.  The application was successful, and resulted in development of a $3,000,000, 5-year program funded by NSF's IUSE program, Systemic Transformation of Education through Evidence-Based Reforms (STEER) (NSF DUE-1525574). 

"To change the culture of STEM departments in a large research oriented university to substantially increase the value assigned to use of effective, evidence-based teaching (EBT). We focus on under-represented groups by providing support structures not directly related to EBT, and by explicitly recognizing the importance of students transferring from Community Colleges."

STEER was granted a no-cost extension through August 2022. Though much progress has been made (read about it here) there is still work to do. The slate of programs evolve as faculty needs and the culture change. This year it is anticipated that the initiatives to be continued are: travel grants, small course enrichment grants, the peer observation program for faculty, STEM faculty virtual conversations on teaching, and STEM Lab TA training.


Travel Grants.  STEER pays up to 75% up to $1,000 for attendance of professional meetings that have teaching focused components; departments are required to meet the remainder of the cost.

Peer Observation Program - An interdisciplinary, team-based peer observation program. The focus is on collecting and sharing data in a non-evaluative way that benefits both the observer and the instructor being observed.

Course re-design - 5 Faculty are funded to re-design their course to incorporate practices that research has shown to lead to better student engagement and learning (EBT).

Speaker series. Leading researchers on institutional change, best evidence-based teaching practices, and inclusive teaching provide insights and add momentum for change in STEM education at USF.

STEM Teaching Awards. The STEER leadership team and previous award winners nominate distinguished STEM teachers who have adopted EBT strategies.

STEM Lab TA training. A sequence of meetings of STEER leadership team members with TA’s introduces TAs to effective leadership in the laboratory sections for which they are responsible.

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