What is the Community for Instructional Transformation Initiative at CAT?

The Community for Instructional Transformation Initiative @ CAT (CITI @ CAT) is a multi-quarter structured research program to help a group of instructors implement changes to their course and evaluate the impact of those changes. 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 and learning 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 entire course (e.g., “flip” it). At the bottom of this page you will see an example of a candidate intervention. We expect participants to commit about 5 hours per quarter to the program, 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. Upon completion of the program, participants are eligible to apply for up to $1,000 to support teaching-related professional development.

Development of the current program was inspired by the Out of the Box initiative launched by the Division of Life Sciences and Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences. Program materials will be developed and administration will be guided by project facilitators Melissa Paquette-Smith, Beth Goodhue, and Kumiko Haas, and supported by graduate student Megan Imundo, and members of the CAT community.

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


Application deadline: February 10, 2023

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 two quarters (Winter and Spring) with data analysis support over the summer.
  4. Support for removing barriers to conducting classroom research: For instance, guidance for training undergraduates in coding responses, and support in submitting an 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.


This program is open to all faculty (including Unit-18 lecturers, teaching postdocs, and academic administrators) assigned to teach during Spring quarter, 2023.

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

  • teach a medium or large sized undergraduate courses in the Spring 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


Instructors will be expected to attend the group meetings Winter and Spring quarters.

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

Present your findings to the CITI@CAT Community:

At the end of the program, instructors will present a summary of their project methods and findings. The date of the final presentations will be determined by the group (either late Summer or early Fall quarter 2023).

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

Proposed Schedule and Timeline

Winter 2023 (Time TBD)

Initial preparation meeting

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

Preparing for classroom interventions

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

Spring 2023

Implement interventions

  • Group Meeting 3: Check in on data collection and discuss initial findings.

Summer/Fall 2023

  • Group Meeting 5: Participants will present their final projects. CITI@CAT team will present briefly on places where participants can disseminate their work and potential ways to recruit undergraduate research assistants to help with classroom research.

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?

Winter 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.

Spring 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.