Dr. Alice Olmstead is the PI on the most recent NSF award that is supporting this research (#1914857). She is an Assistant Professor of Physics and the Co-Director of the Physics Learning Assistant Program at Texas State University. Her primary research expertise is on strategies that can help STEM faculty to improve their teaching and lead to long-term change, including teaching workshops, virtual instructor communities, and instructional change teams. She is currently a co-PI on a 5-year, $2.5 million NSF award to improve instruction across the Texas State College of Science and Engineering by engaging faculty in learning about culturally responsive instructional approaches and supporting faculty-student teams in pursuing course redesign work together. Prior to arriving at Texas State, she completed her PhD in Astronomy at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2016, and was a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Research on Instructional Change in Postsecondary Education at Western Michigan University from 2016-2018.
Amreen Nasim Thomson, Former Postdoctoral Researcher, Texas State University
Dr. Amreen Nasim Thompson received her B.S (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Brighton, UK in 2011, her British teaching license (Secondary Science) in 2012 and her MEd from the University of Sussex in 2013. Amreen worked as a secondary science teacher in the UK for three years before moving to Colorado to pursue her PhD in Science Education. Her research group were awarded an NSF IUSE in 2015 to characterize Active learning in introductory courses. It is from this research that Amreen’s dissertation and research interest in undergraduate STEM education reform emerged. She joined Dr. Olmstead’s research group as a postdoctoral scholar to work on the NSF IUSE Furthering the Work of STEM Undergraduate Transformation: Modeling Instructional Change Teams project. She now is a senior education researcher at fhi 360.
Andrea L. Beach, Principal Investigator, Western Michigan University
Dr. Andrea L. Beach is a Professor of Higher Education Leadership and Co-Director of the Center for Research on Instructional Change in Postsecondary Education (CRICPE). She founded and was Director of the WMU Office of Faculty Development from 2008-2015. Her research centers on organizational change in higher education, support of innovation in teaching and learning, faculty learning communities, and faculty development as a change lever. She has been PI and co-PI on several NSF-funded grants focused on instructional change strategies that have produced articles and book chapters, as well as instruments to self-report instruction and academic department climate for instructional improvement. She is most recently director of a $3.2 million project funded by the US Department of Education’s First in the World program to undertake, document, and measure outcomes of institutional transformation aimed at improving the persistence and academic success of students from low-income backgrounds.
Diana Sachmpazidi is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland, College Park. Diana received her Ph.D. in Science Education/Physics at Western Michigan University in 2021. Her research interests lie in the area of departmental/institutional change, research on teams for instructional change, and student-group thinking in introductory physics labs. Currently, she is working on the Effective Practices for Physics Programs (EP3) project. This study focuses on understanding how departmental stakeholders within local departmental teams think about and change the culture of assessment. Diana enjoys swimming, hiking, and watching movies in her free time.
Dr. Charles Henderson is a Professor at Western Michigan University (WMU), with a joint appointment between the Physics Department and the WMU Mallinson Institute for Science Education. He is the Director of the Mallinson Institute and co-Founder and co-Director of the WMU Center for Research on Instructional Change in Postsecondary Education (CRICPE). His research program focuses on understanding and promoting instructional change in higher education, with an emphasis on improving undergraduate STEM instruction. Dr. Henderson’s work has been supported by over $9M in external grants and has resulted in many publications. He is a Fulbright Scholar and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Dr. Henderson is the senior editor for the journal Physical Review Physics Education Research and has served on two National Academy of Sciences Committees: Undergraduate Physics Education Research and Implementation, and Developing Indicators for Undergraduate STEM Education.