September 2019

Strategies to Promote Effective Teaching

Kendra Cheruvelil, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources & Lyman Briggs College

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

11:15-1:00 (lunch available at 11:15, program begins at 11:30)

1425 Biomedical and Physical Sciences (BPS) Building



Although many STEM classes and labs make use of student teams, instructors often struggle with how to best form these teams, how to help student teams be most effective, and how to assess student teamwork. Further, many students resist working in teams and report learning less when in a team than when working individually. I will share strategies that I use in Introductory Organismal Biology to increase student learning in teams: 1) include an explicit learning objective regarding teamwork; 2) teach students why they should work in a student team; 3) teach students how to be part of an effective student team; and 4) use online software (CATME) that helps instructors to use self-chosen and evidence-based criteria to a) deliberately create student teams and b) formally assess team functioning throughout the semester. During this workshop, we will complete some of the exercises that have improved student satisfaction and success in my classes, as well reduced instructor guesswork and stress regarding student teams.


Dr. Kendra Spence Cheruvelil ( is a Professor at Michigan State University. She has a joint appointment with the Lyman Briggs College (LBC) and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (CANR). Dr. Cheruvelil's disciplinary expertise is as a freshwater ecologist who works collaboratively to better-understand what drives heterogeneity among lakes both across space and through time. She is also dedicated to scholarly teaching; she has been a Lilly Teaching Fellow, a STEM Gateway Fellow, and a recipient of a Teacher-Scholar Award at MSU. She conducts research on teaching and learning related to ecological literacy, evolution education, effective student teamwork, and ways to increase diversity in STEM. Dr. Cheruvelil is also very active in graduate student professional development. She serves on the Steering Committee for the MSU Future Academic Scholars in Teaching Program and was Founding Directing the LBC Graduate Fellowship Program in the Scholarship of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning.