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16 – Science Teaching Experience Program for Upcoming PhDs (STEP-UP)


  • Richard Gardner, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, UW Seattle
  • Becca Price, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell
  • Elaine Klein, Learning Sciences, College of Education, UW Seattle
  • Ben Wiggins, Department of Biology, Colleges of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle


Graduate students in STEM fields are just a few short years from being classroom leaders for a diverse population of talented students worldwide. While well-educated in research fields, these future instructors have fewer options to find high-level training and practice to hone their teaching identities. The Science Teaching Experience Program for Upcoming PhDs (STEP-UP) is a program for graduate students that provides rigorous, multi-disciplinary practice in pedagogies for higher education.

Specifically, STEP-UP was funded by the NSF Innovations in Graduate Education program to train new instructors on a toolkit of equitable teaching strategies for use in classes with diverse populations of students. Participants practice and get feedback on the micro-skills needed for effective active teaching as well as interpersonal methods for supporting and including students from a wide range of backgrounds and outlooks.

Advanced graduate students in a wide range of STEM fields are potentially eligible.
Advanced graduate students can apply to the program with the approval of their research advisor. Each cohort will go through a 2-credit Autumn course (MCB508 Teaching College Science) in which they will work with an experienced teacher-educator. Trainees develop course materials during Winter quarter, and then teach or team-teach their course (BIOL 410) in Spring to senior STEM undergraduates. Trainees will be equipped for larger teaching opportunities and have a number of tangible items that will demonstrate to future employers; these include syllabi, collegial reviews of teaching, student evaluations, and course materials built out for teaching demonstrations.

This poster will share early findings from the research team, overviews and details of the program itself, will be a strong first point of contact for graduate students who might be interested in joining a future cohort. We also hope there is interest in the methods used for equitable teaching by other teacher-educators in our community.