Texas Tech University


STEMinars serve as an opportunity for TTU faculty and staff to join together in the spirit of collaboration and multidisciplinary exploration. The STEM CORE Seminar Committee has attempted to select topics perceived to be of general interest; however, please let us know if you have topics or people you would like to bring to TTU campus. We would like to thank the TTU Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center for hosting the seminar sessions!

Recent STEMinars

Presenter: Jaclyn Canas-Carrell & Ken Griffith
Title: Considering the HSI designation and STEM: How Instruction and Research Serves to Benefit All Students
Date: Friday, April 27
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: TLPDC, Room 153
Summary: As TTU emerges as a designated Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI), faculty, staff and students are engaging in discussions on how best to serve our population. This new designation presents us with the opportunity to both reflect on our teaching practices, and as an R1 institution, research the efficacy of these practices as an emerging HSI. Join us for an engaging workshop where we will hear from a STEM student panel and also discuss Discipline-based Educational Research (DBER) opportunities. Additionally, we will introduce and discuss specific ways to seal the “leaks” in the so-called, “STEM Pipeline” that will lead to persistence and success for both underrepresented groups and traditional undergraduate student populations. Lunch will be provided and registration is requested.
Resources: Video Recording

Past STEMinars and Resources

Note: Digital resources from previous seminar meetings will be linked from the table below as promptly as possible following each session. Please contact webmaster.stem@ttu.edu if you experience any technical issues with these links.

Presenter: Stacy Lowery Bretz
Title: Measuring Meaning Learning in the Undergraduate Chemistry Laboratory
Date: Wednesday, April 4
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Location: TLPDC, Room 153
Summary: While no chemist can imagine teaching chemistry without the undergraduate chemistry laboratory, the role of the laboratory in student learning has largely remained one of confirmation of principles presented in lecture rather than exploration and concept development for many students. The challenge of measuring student learning in the undergraduate chemistry laboratory remains problematic. Novak's Theory of Meaningful Learning states that the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains must be integrated in order for meaningful learning to occur. While the psychomotor domain is obviously integral to the undergraduate chemistry laboratory, the extent to which cognitive and affective processing are present for students is unknown. For meaningful learning to occur, students must actively integrate both the cognitive domain and the affective domain into the doing of their laboratory work. The Meaningful Learning in the Laboratory Instrument (MLLI) was designed to measure students' cognitive and affective expectations and experiences. An analysis of student expectations as compared with their experiences during laboratory learning as measured by the MLLI will be presented.
Resources: Video RecordingStacy's Website
Presenter: Margaret Wertheim
Title: Science + Women
Date: Monday, March 19
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Location: TLPDC, Room 153
Summary: Wertheim's work on science and gender aims to help illuminate the obstacles women face to full participation in STEM fields, while also celebrating science and math as domains of wonder to which women can have access. Wertheim's interest in gender and science led her to write her ground-breaking book Pythagoras Trousers (1995), a history of the relationship between physics and religion that also explores how this entanglement has acted as a barrier to women. For 10 years in her native Australia, she wrote monthly columns about science and tech for women's magazines including Vogue Australia and Australian Elle, and may be the only journalist in the world to have held such a position. Her commitment to equity led her to conceive and write a six-part television science series aimed at teenage girls for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Titled Catalyst (ABC 1990), the series remains a landmark in TV science programming. More than 20 years before The Big Bang, Wertheim's series demonstrated STEM principles via activities designed to appeal to girls – mathematical patterns in pantyhose, electric motors in a hair-dryer.
Resources: Video Recording
Presenter: Dr. Danny Caballero, Michigan State University
Title: How might Physics Education Research Facilitate the coming computational Revolution in education?
Date: Tuesday, March 6

3:00 - 4:00 PM - Reception/Refreshments/Discussion

4:00 - 5:00 PM - Talk

Location: Education, Room 156
Summary: Computation has revolutionized how modern science is done. Modern scientists use computational techniques to reduce mountains of data, to simulate impossible experiments, and to develop intuition about the behavior of complex systems. Much of the research completed by modern scientists would be impossible without the use of computation. And yet, while computation is a crucial tool of practicing scientists, most modern science curricula do not reflect its importance and utility. In this talk, I will discuss the urgent need to construct such curricula in physics and present research that investigates the challenges at a variety of all scales from the largest (institutional structures) to the smallest (student understanding of a concept). I will discuss how the results of this research can be leveraged to facilitate the computational revolution in education. This research will help us understand and develop institutional/departmental incentives, effective teaching practices, evidence-based course activities, and valid assessment tools. This work has been supported by Michigan State University's CREATE for STEM Institute, the National Science Foundation (DUE-1431776, DUE-1504786, DUE-1524128, DRL-1741575), the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT), the Norwegian Research Council, and the Thon Foundation.
Resources: Video RecordingSlides
Presenter: Miranda Andrews, Chemistry Graduate Student
Title: A Millennial's Perspective on Sexism in STEM
Date: Monday, Feb. 19
Time: 2:00 - 3:00 PM
Location: TLPDC, Room 153
Summary: Millennials are known for investing in experiences instead of material things. This shift in perceived value shapes our worldview, specifically our view of people, including gender and gender stereotypes. This worldview influences how we communicate with each other and how we deal with our differences. While instances of blatant sexism still occur, they seem few and far between. Most of the sexism that is experienced by young women today is a result of implicit bias, those thoughts that we as a society grow up learning to have. The STEM field in particular is full of opportunities for young women to wonder, “Did that happen because I am a woman or am I just imagining things?” This is a good sign, but it also means that the work we have to do to level the playing field for women in science will be that much harder. We have to root out that implicit bias, which is one of the most difficult types of bias to overcome. This talk will focus on my experiences as a member of the millennial generation with regard to overt and covert sexism and how implicit bias affects women in STEM.
Resources: Video RecordingSlides (.pdf)
Presenter: Dr. Benjamin Owen, Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) at Texas Tech University
Title: Detection of Gravitational Waves from Binary Black Holes and Binary Neutron Stars
Date: Monday, November 27
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Location: TLPDC, Room 153
Summary: Last year LIGO and Virgo published the first detection of gravitational waves, from a binary black hole merger, a century after their prediction by Albert Einstein. That detection got this year's Nobel Prize in Physics. This year we published the detection of the first gravitational waves from a binary neutron star merger, accompanied by the full spectrum of electromagnetic waves from gamma rays to visible light to radio waves. It made last year's detection look boring. I'll describe what we learned from both.
Resources: Video Recording
Presenter: Dr. Rebecca Lindell, Tiliadal STEM Education Solutions
Title: Fixing the Disconnect: Aligning How Faculty Teach and How Students Learn
Date: Tuesday, September 26
Time: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Location: TLPDC, Room 153
Summary: Often a disconnect exists between what faculty wish to teach and what their students tend to be able to learn within their courses. This leads to frustration for both students and faculty. Solving this problem is possible, but requires change on both the students' and faculty members' part. During this talk I will discuss possible reasons for the disconnect; effects of the disconnect; and proven solutions to eliminate the disconnect. In addition, I will present how you can implement change in your courses to reduce the disconnect today.
Resources: Slides (.pdf) | Video Recording
Presenter: Brian Fisher, Lubbock Christian University
Title: Using Educational Tools to Foster Active Learning
Date: Monday, April 24, 2017
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Location: TLPDC, Room 153
Summary: The term “active learning” is has come to have many meanings in the education community; however, at the heart of every attempted definition is the notion that learning is inherently experiential. In STEM courses it is often beneficial to incorporate physical experiences for the students, such as laboratory experiments, manipulatives, or virtual worlds, in order to create these experiences which foster active learning. In this talk we will discuss how classroom artifacts can be transformed into vessels for exploring new ideas through the process of instrumental genesis. We will also discuss the spaces in which students can engage with these objects and how those spaces impact class discourse. As we explore these topics, I will share some physical manipulatives my colleagues and I have developed for use in multivariable calculus, as well as my experiences in incorporating tablet technology into the classroom.
Resources: Slides (.pdf) | Video Recording
Presenter: Zenaida Aguirre-Muñoz & Michelle Pantoya
Title: Articulating Broader Impact Statements to Maximize NSF Merit Review Scores
Date: Friday, March 25
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Bob L. Herd Petroleum Engineering Building, Room 208
Summary: If you have trouble specifying activities that meet broader impact statements, you should join us for an informative workshop that will develop your skills in constructing convincing broader impact statements that will set your proposal apart. The broader impact statement is not enough, however, you need to specify a plan to achieve the broader impact. This session will provide practice in creating a broader impacts plan.

Video Recording | Broader Impact Seminar Slides
Sample Statements | Statement Sort
NSF Broader Impact Themes

Presenter: Camille Thomas
Title: Research Publishing
Date: 02/24/16
Summary: This is a presentation about open science, the move towards making science research, collaboration, and communication openly accessible and available to the public.
Resources: Slides (.pdf) | Video Recording
Presenter: Dr. Beth Thacker
Title: Major Large-Scale Assessment of TTU Physics: Results from Conceptual Inventories and Free-Response Pre-/Post-testing
Date: 03/25/15
Summary: We report conceptual inventory and free-response (FR) assessment results from a major large-scale assessment at Texas Tech University (TTU). We studied the introduction of materials and instructional methods informed by physics education research (PER-informed materials) into a department where most instruction has been traditional and a significant number of faculty are hesitant, ambivalent or even resistant to the introduction of such reforms. The changes were made in the laboratories and recitation sections of the introductory classes, both calculus-based and algebra-based, introducing PER-informed materials and training the teaching assistants in student-centered instructional methods. Results from a small PER-informed, inquiry-based, laboratory-based class are also reported. We found that the highest conceptual inventory gains were achieved by the combination of PER-informed lectures and PER-informed laboratories and recitation sections in large class settings and by the hands-on, laboratory-based, inquiry-based course taught in a small class setting. The FR pre- and post-testing yielded qualitative information on multiple skills, including conceptual understanding, mathematical and laboratory skills, and also information on our students' explanatory abilities and the use of higher level thinking skills. We found that an increased use of PER in the lecture, laboratory and recitation sections resulted in higher pre-/post-test gains, with the students in the inquiry-based class performing better than the other students on most of the problems, and that FR assessment is a useful tool for gathering departmental information that goes beyond conceptual inventories that can be used to inform instructors and administrators of students' skills, abilities and content knowledge and as the basis for further research and curriculum development.
Resources: Video Recording
Presenter: Dr. Sybil Hart
Title: Writing for Professional and Popular Audiences
Date: 03/10/15
Summary: Based on her experience as an author of trade and academic books, Dr. Hart will discuss some of the "how" and "why" of publishing for different audiences, coming up with good ideas, communicating with agents, editors, illustrators, and publicists, and some of the ups and downs along the way.
Resources: Video Recording
Presenter: Dr. Susan Back & Mr. Archie Pitsilides
Title: NSF Proposal Process Strategies and Current Opportunities for Collaboration
Date: 01/27/15
Summary: The purpose of the presentation is to answer participant questions on developing successful strategies for proposals to the NSF. Insights offered would apply to NSF STEM proposals, as well as to proposals in other fields of study and to other federal agencies and private funding sources. The presentation will summarize: Proposal Strategies; Goals, Objectives and Evaluation Questions; Project Evaluation; Impact and Transportability; Broader Impacts. Additionally, the presentation will announce and review cross-disciplinary funding opportunities as time allows.
Resources: Slides (.pdf) | Video Recording
Presenter: Jessica Simpson
Title: Data Management: The Proposal and the Process
Date: 12/02/14
Summary: In the process of writing an application for a grant in recent years researchers may have needed to include a data management plan (DMP) as part of their grant proposal. Some funding agencies even require such plans as obligatory for funding, the NSF and the NIH being the most prominent. While many individuals will include this document because it is part of their requirements, a strong data management plan is an important part of the academic process. In this discussion I will go over the important elements of a data management plan and discuss resources and tools that are available to help create a great DMP proposal. This talk will benefit faculty new to creating a DMP, experienced faculty wishing to improve the quality of their DMP, grant support staff and anyone interested in preparing a project so that it has the most effective impact in their area of study.
Resources: Video Recording
Presenter: Dr. Michelle Pantoya
Title: Research on the role of engineering in the elementary classroom
Date: 11/07/14
Summary: This talk will discuss how to integrate foundational engineering concepts into elementary curriculum. Highlights will include our work with teachers in the integration of engineering concepts, so as to be able to use those principles in their own efforts; how we measure the impact of this work, again so that they can draw general principles and apply it to their own projects; and, how we build on this work, so that we can seek future funding. The goals of our on-going research are to introduce engineering into K-5th grade using literacy and scaffolded Engineering is Elementary curriculum. These activities facilitate learning of science concepts and enhance student engagement in all STEM activities. I will discuss how and why engineering is the glue that holds STEM together and can be used as a method for increasing engagement and content understanding of STEM concepts. We have used the Engineering is Elementarycurriculum in Kindergarten classrooms to assess engagement and content learning of STEM concepts. Results from this pilot test will be presented as well as modifications to the research design for future research.
Resources: Video Recording
Presenter: Dr. Zenaida Aguirre-Muñoz
Title: Assessment and Evaluation of K12 STEM Outreach
Date: 10/09/14
Summary: This session will help STEM outreach providers with a process tool to design your evaluation based on your program goals and budget. She will also assist with turning your program goals into to a logical description of how your program works (theory of change) to ensure that your assessment plan, including assessment tools, captures key process and outcome benchmarks. Many funders require a well-developed theory of change; this session will help you develop one. It will also provide some general assessment tools that are commonly used to measure attitudinal and satisfaction of your program participants. If you have a set of tools you use already, Dr. Aguirre-Muñoz can provide you with feedback on the alignment between your tools and stated goals and theory of change.
Resources: Process Tool Document
Presenter: Dr. Mark McGinley
Title: Encyclopedia of Earth: A Valuable Tool for Informal Science Education?
Date: 09/24/14
Summary: This talk will focus on the Encyclopedia of Earth, an online peer-reviewed source of information about the environment. The Encyclopedia's scope of content includes all of the environmental sciences, including earth sciences, climate, biology, and the allied aspects of history, archaeology, environmental policy as well as engineering applications. The session will also serve as the kickoff for the 2014-2015 STEM Center for Outreach, Research & Education Seminar Series.
Resources: Video Recording
Presenter: Dr. Jon Ulmer, Ms. Melissa Cook, Dr. Jaclyn Cañas-Carrell, Dr. Zenaida Aguirre-Muñoz, & Dr. Jerry Dwyer
Title: Logistics of Summer Outreach
Date: 04/30/2014
Summary: Come spend some time with faculty who have experience with student and adult summer camps. Learn about planning, recruiting students (including underrepresented populations), evaluating your program, and hear from TTU Conference Services. Online registration is now closed.
Resources: Presentation Slides
Presenter: Dr. Jerry Dwyer
Title: The State of STEM Outreach & Engagement at TTU
Date: 11/21/2013
Summary: Dr. Dwyer will present an overview of STEM Outreach & Engagement activities from across TTU. The session is intended begin a campus-wide examination of the nature and value of STEM initiatives. He will also be outlining how the newly established STEM-CORE can serve campus partners in facilitating new and existing initiatives. Online registration is now closed.
Resources: TTU STEM Initiative Index