What will I learn from attending a Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching?

The Summer Institute curriculum enables participants to answer the following questions:

  • What is scientific teaching? What are some challenges I might need to address in implementing scientific teaching strategies?

  • How can I create and sustain a more inclusive learning environment for my students through scientific teaching?

  • How can scientific evidence inform the teaching practices that I implement?

  • How can I use backward design to align learning objectives, assessments, and active learning strategies?

  • What modes of assessment can I use to promote student learning and inform instruction?

  • How does cognitive science research lay the foundation for the scientific teaching approaches and practices to use in my classroom?

  • How can I implement and disseminate scientific teaching in my community?

What will I do at a Summer Institute?
  • Engage in teaching and learning through sessions that model scientific teaching, use of supporting evidence from the literature, and inclusive teaching

    • Activities may include interactive presentations, mini-seminars, group work, discussions with other participants, and opportunities for reflection

  • Work in small groups with peers from other colleges and universities, along with a trained facilitator, to develop instructional materials 

  • Design and adapt instructional materials with clearly defined learning goals that integrate themes of active learning, assessment, and inclusive teaching

  • Present instructional materials to other participants for feedback and review; revise materials for dissemination where appropriate

What is expected of me as a Summer Institute participant?
  • Actively engage in all workshops and events for the entire Institute

  • Incorporate scientific teaching practices into your teaching during the academic year after attending, through use of the instructional materials developed at the Institute and/or adapting the principles learned into your own teaching

  • Participate in follow-up evaluation activities (e.g. surveys) during the academic year after attending

  • Attend a one-day follow-up meeting (at least one member of each institutional team)

What is strongly encouraged of me as a Summer Institute participant?
  • Present your teachable tidbit or experiences from the Summer Institute at a departmental meeting/event or a disciplinary conference

  • Coordinate, or recruit a colleague to coordinate, a scientific teaching workshop for faculty, postdocs, or graduate students during the academic year or following summer after attending the Institute

What is provided to me by the Summer Institute program?
  • Experienced facilitators and presenters to provide advice and expertise to help participants develop and hone teaching materials

  • Resources to help you develop and evaluate teaching skills and instructional materials

  • Access to teaching materials developed by previous Summer Institute participants

  • A newsletter and website to connect with the national network of Summer Institute alumni

What is required of my home institution in order to attend a Summer Institute?
  • A letter of institutional support as part of the application process

  • Travel, lodging, and meal expenses for participants to attend the Summer Institute and a one-day follow-up meeting at the Institute site.

(Please note: Subsidies are available for participants from community colleges and teaching-intensive institutions at Helmsley-funded Summer Institutes. Prior to applying, please contact the individual Summer Institute site leader for more information.)

  • Support and encouragement of teaching development in participant’s home department and throughout campus

How will I be different after the Summer Institute?

After attending a Summer Institute, participants will be able to…

  • Articulate elements of scientific teaching

  • Improve their ability to use education literature to support teaching practices

  • Apply evidence-based teaching practices

  • Address/confront misconceptions about teaching and learning


  • Be inspired to implement scientific teaching

  • Appreciate evidence-based practices

  • Recognize that diversity influences teaching and learning

  • Commit to incorporating scientific teaching practices

  • Be empowered to transform their students’ learning


  • Develop short-term and long-term plans for implementation and dissemination

  • Become part of a national community of scientific teachers

  • Advocate for scientific teaching on their home campuses

  • Consider opportunities to lead scientific teaching initiatives regionally and/or nationally


  • Implement backward design when developing courses and/or curricula

  • Employ inclusive teaching strategies that value diversity in the classroom

  • Use a variety of assessments to measure student learning

  • Incorporate active learning exercises to engage students