Chemistry professor embraces inclusive teaching revolution at CMU

| Author: Robert Wang | Media Contact: Robert Wang

Anja Mueller, a chemistry professor at Central Michigan University, noticed a bit of a snag in her classes. Some students seemed like they were zoning out, leading to not-so-great grades and some no-shows. But instead of shrugging it off, Anja decided to shake things up a bit.

Teaming up with CMU colleagues who were already involved in the new InSciTE program – folks like Wiline Pangle, Mark Francek, Itzel Marquez, Doug Lapp, and Shasta Sabo – she aimed to make her classes a place where everyone felt valued.

Now, what's this InSciTE program all about for faculty? Well, in one way it's like a community of educators that model inclusive teaching methods. InSciTE provides a support system for all faculty that may want to try out new techniques to make STEM education more inclusive – InSciTE offers workshops, training on equity, professional development retreats. The result is a community where every student’s voice matters.

Mueller's teaching game plan? Being super inclusive and tuned in. She made sure to embrace her students' diverse backgrounds and tailor her teaching to fit their needs. With active participation, group projects, and flexible assessments, she created an environment where everyone felt included. And she wasn't stopping there – Anja was all about learning her students' names, beefing up communication, and adding diverse perspectives into the mix.

And guess what? Mueller's efforts paid off big time. By ditching the old-school lectures and diving into interactive learning, her students’ grades were improving, and they were actually remembering what they learned. Amped up by her success, Anja is determined to keep fine-tuning her teaching style, ensuring every student felt like they matter when they left her class.

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