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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 submitted to and approved by NSF's IUSE program, "Systemic Transformation of Education through Evidence-Based Reforms (STEER)" (NSF DUE-1525574).  The lead-in sentences were "We change the culture of STEM departments in a research oriented university (Carnegie - RU/VH) 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."


Speaker series - Bringing up to four nationally distinguished leaders in STEM education to USF annually; funding of this aspect has been taken over by Vice Provost Paul Dosal.

Peer Observation (POP) - Teams of 12 faculty observe each other’s’ classes in the spring semester, in groups of 3 faculty each.  All 12 meet periodically for orientation and direction, and to exchange experience.

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

Senior Tenured Faculty Engagement - Department chairs identify and encourage faculty they select to adopt EBT strategies; such faculty are paired with teaching award winners to support their efforts.

Departmental Retreats. - STEER sponsors parts of departmental retreats to promote evidence-based teaching.

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.

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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