What is the Community for Instructional Transformation Initiative at CAT?

The Community for Instructional Transformation Initiative @ CAT (CITI @ CAT) is a year-long structured program to help a group of instructors implement changes to their course and evaluate the impact of the interventions. By bringing a group of instructors who are all implementing course changes, we hope that participants will form relationships, learn from each other and support the group’s efforts. We also hope to connect instructors to existing campus resources and learning communities they may not have known about before, and  encourage continued involvement in those communities.

Instructors will be supported in considering how their interventions can improve equity and inclusivity in the classroom. Depending on your goals, your time commitment to CITI@CAT will vary! You do NOT need to overhaul the enitre coure (e.g., “flip” it). At the bottom of this page you will see an example of a candidate intervention. We expect participants to spend about 5 hours per quarter, which includes meetings as well as your preparation.

Participation in the CITI @ CAT can be highlighted in your dossier to be recognized for your next merit or promotion. Participants will receive $1,000 upon completion of program requirements.

Development of the current program was inspired by The Out of the Box initiative. Program materials will be developed and administration will be guided by project facilitators Courtney Clark, Melissa Paquette-Smith and Kumiko Haas, and supported by graduate student Megan Imundo, and members of the CAT community.

Contact: Please email courtneyclark@ucla.edu or paquettesmith@psych.ucla.edu with any questions.

Application

Applications are now closed.

Program Details

Program Outcomes

In supporting classroom interventions, our broad goal is to help instructors improve their courses and provide tools that will help them continue to refine their teaching. By participating in the program, instructors will:

  • Evaluate their courses for areas of improvement
  • Implement an intervention
  • Evaluate the impact of that intervention using appropriate measures
  • Support their peers’ improvement efforts in the cohort
  • Connect with campus resources and communities related to teaching

Program Role

To help instructors achieve the outcomes listed above, the program will provide:

  1. Assistance with research design: Support for instructors in navigating the research design process, including developing ideas for empirically-supported interventions (e.g. from the psychology and education literatures) and establishing how to evaluate the impact of those interventions.
  2. Resources to help implement interventions: For instance, banks of validated scales (and associated references) that instructors might use as outcome measures, existing resources from teaching sites around campus, such as recordings of workshops.
  3. A structured timeline for making these changes happen: Structure for instructors to make meaningful changes in their courses for a manageable time commitment spread over a year.
  4. Support for removing barriers for research: For instance, guidance for training undergraduates in coding responses, and support with IRB if needed.
  5. A way to demonstrate professional development: This program can be included on participants’ CVs. At the participant’s request, program directors will write letters describing involvement in the program for inclusion in professional materials.
  6. Community: By bringing a group of instructors who are all implementing course changes, we hope that participants will form relationships, learn from each other and support the group’s efforts.

Eligibility

This program is open to all faculty (including Unit-18 lecturers, teaching postdocs, and academic administrators) assigned to teach during the 2021-22 academic year.

Space and funding will be limited. Priority will be give to instructors who:

  • teach large undergraduate courses with an enrollment of 50+ students this year and plan to teach the course again in subsequent quarters.
  • are in roles emphasizing teaching and face barriers to implementing classroom research (e.g., a lack of support from research assistants).
  • expect to be able to attend all workshops

Program Requirements

Attendance:

Instructors will be expected to attend the group meetings throughout the academic year of 2021-22.

Design and Implement an Intervention:

Instructors, with the support of the program, will be expected to:

  • Evaluate their courses for areas of improvement
  • Implement an intervention
  • Evaluate the impact of that intervention using appropriate measures

Submit final report:

A summary of project methods and findings must be submitted along with a short cover letter by the end of Spring 2022 to receive your $1,000 award and certificate of completion.

Participants will also be invited to showcase their work in a CAT event.

Proposed Schedule and Timeline

Sept 9, 2021 (Time TBD)

Initial preparation meeting

  • Group Meeting 1: Some instructors may want to use Fall 21 data as a baseline or pilot against which they can compare their Winter quarter intervention. Meeting early in September will allow time to consider an early Fall quarter measure, such as a pre-course survey.

Fall 2021

Preparing for classroom interventions

  • Group Meeting 2: Continued discussion of ideas for interventions.

Winter 2022

Implement interventions

  • Group Meetings 3 & 4: Check in on data collection and discuss initial findings.

Spring 2022

Summarizing findings from Winter, possible followup or repetition of Winter intervention

  • Group Meeting 5: Discussion of results and venues for dissemination and inclusion in professional materials (i.e., teaching statement)
  • Group Meeting 6: Feedback on final projects and discussion about ways to continue innovating (e.g., potentially applying for own education grants, making changes in another course)

Example of a Candidate Intervention

Example 1

Research Questions:

  1. Does completing a quizzing activity in groups increase students’ understanding of course material?
  2. If so, can activities that foster better group collaboration further enhance the benefits of working in a group?

Fall Quarter (class is run as usual):

  • During one in-class lab, students complete a quizzing activity (~30 minutes) in which they answer a series of multiple choice questions by themselves. At the end of the lab session, students take a final test on the material from the quizzing activity.
  • Administer group work attitudes scale in the post course survey. Administer final exam as usual.

Winter Quarter (intervention):

  • During the same lab activity, students complete half of the quiz items in groups and half alone (~30 minutes). Students complete the same final test on the material.
  • At the end of the quarter, administer the group work attitudes scale to determine whether scores changed from Fall. Analyze quizzing activity data to determine whether students performed better in groups, and whether that benefit was sustained to the post-activity test and on relevant final exam items.

Spring Quarter:

  • Depends on results from Winter.
  • Could potentially try to increase the effectiveness of group collaboration. For example, students could complete short activities (~5-10 minutes at the beginning of each lab) designed to foster group cohesiveness. The quizzing activity from Winter will be repeated.