When Meredith Henry enrolled in a College Teaching course as part of her professional development at UAB Graduate School, she didn’t expect to one day conduct research in her classroom as a CIRTL Scholar.

cirtl awards ceremony invitation

"Doing Teaching As Research was something I never would have considered had I not taken this sequence of CIRTL courses," Meredith said. "Through CIRTL, I was exposed to the larger idea of teaching effectiveness, which enabled me take ownership of my teaching to benefit students.

"Teaching-As-Research solved a problem: Students in my statistics lab needed more opportunities to apply knowledge and troubleshoot problems in order to develop their professional skills. This effort to improve my course turned into a TAR project."

The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning is a national consortium of research universities preparing the next generation of college faculty in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Since being selected to join the network in 2012, UAB’s CIRTL program has awarded more than 140 certificates in college teaching, at 3 levels: 7 Scholars, 24 Practitioners, and 100+ Associates.

CIRTL @ UAB would like to recognize all Associates, Practitioners, and Scholars and award 24 certificates to current participants at the CIRTL Awards Ceremony on April 27, 2016, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Hill Student Center Ballroom D. Included in those awardees are two recent CIRTL Scholars who will be presenting their TAR posters at the ceremony: Doctoral candidates Christopher Radka (Microbiology) and Michelle Haddad (Psychology). All UAB faculty and students are welcome at the event. RSVP on Eventbrite.

The goal of the national CIRTL network is to advance the teaching of STEM disciplines in higher education. At the Associate level level, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars learn the foundation of evidence-based teaching practices. Paired with teaching faculty, Practitioners get hands-on experience in a Teaching Practicum and learn about Teaching as Research. Scholars go on to develop Teaching-As-Research projects, producing posters and drafting manuscripts for publication.

After pursuing CIRTL teaching certificates, numerous graduates and trainees have gone on to faculty positions at various types of institutions. All credit CIRTL with preparing them not only for their teaching responsibilities, but for the job search and interviews that got them there.

Dr. Christine M. Sestero, a former MERIT postdoc and CIRTL Scholar, is now Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Montevallo:

"Without hesitation I can state that the knowledge I gained in the (CIRTL) Developing a Teaching Portfolio course was essential to my success in obtaining a faculty position."

Amanda Swindall, a UAB graduate and former postdoctoral scholar, is Biology Instructor at Jefferson State Community College:

"..the instruction I received in (CIRTL) classes helped me so tremendously to be where I am today, a tenure-track faculty member... The knowledge gained …has been fundamental to my success as an instructor…”

Meredith – who writes a blog about her teaching – hopes that her CIRTL training will make her more competitive for those highly-coveted tenure-track positions.

"The greatest benefits I got from CIRTL are the opportunities to engage with a community of other teaching scholars and to contribute to the larger Scholarship of Teaching and Learning."

If you want to get involved in the future of STEM education, find out more about how CIRTL can prepare UAB’s graduate students and postdocs for STEM careers at www.uab.edu/cirtl.