EED Seminar March 24, 2016

Using Education Research to Improve Undergraduate STEM Teaching: Understanding and Reducing the Knowledge-Practice Gap

The Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER) community has shown that there are many aspects of teaching that can be systematically studied and improved using scientific methods. DBER has also shown that a wide variety of instructors in a wide variety of institutions can consistently improve student learning by using research-based teaching practices. Like most fields, though, there is a substantial gap between the research-based knowledge that DBER has developed about effective teaching and the actual practices of physics instructors. In this talk I will discuss this current state of research related to the knowledge-practice gap in undergraduate STEM instruction and make recommendations for reducing this gap.


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 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 $7M in external grants and has resulted in a many publications (see  In spring 2010, he was a Fulbright Scholar with the Finnish Institute for Educational Research at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Dr. Henderson is the senior editor for the journal Physical Review Special Topics - 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.

Location of this seminar is 216 Hitchcock Hall.