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Open Access

Scaling Up: Lessons for Persuading Science Faculty to Adopt an Evidence-Based Intervention

Journal of College Science Teaching—March/April 2024 (Volume 53, Issue 2)

By Jessi Smith, Dustin Thoman

The science education community is deeply vested in growing the next generation of scientists. One way to do this is through evidence-based interventions that support the motivation and performance of students in introductory classes. The literature is replete with interdisciplinary research presenting such interventions. Unfortunately, the process of developing and evaluating pedagogical practices is not the same as the process required to scale those efforts into actual university classrooms. Efforts to spread the word about successful practices often move slowly, through relatively small personal and professional networks. We present a complementary proactive strategy designed to raise awareness of one exemplar intervention across a broad swath of U.S. biology faculty. Our 30-minute anonymous engagement (in three 10-minute asynchronous virtual sessions) resulted in this particular intervention being adopted in some form by more than 4 in 10 of faculty who learned about it, reaching an estimated 7,500 students across the U.S. We describe the three phases of our intervention adoption process, each informed by social psychology theories of persuasion and decision-making, and provide a detailed guide and ready-to-use resources to replicate the process using other evidence-based interventions ready for scale.

Biology Curriculum Pedagogy Professional Learning Teacher Preparation

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