LMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence is sponsoring a visit by Nobel Laureate and distinguished educational researcher Carl Wieman.  To be assured of seating, please RSVP to: teachers@lmu.edu.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Life Science Auditorium
Loyola Marymount University
4:00 – 5:30 pm

Advances in research on learning and teaching and their relevance to the evaluation of teaching

While there has been enormous progress in the knowledge and research methods in academic disciplines over the past 500 years, the teaching has remained largely medieval. This is starting to change, as there has been great progress in research on teaching and learning in the past few decades. When the insights from this research have been implemented in university classrooms, dramatic improvements in learning have been seen when compared to traditional lecture instruction, particularly on tests that capture how well the student is able to make decisions like an expert in the subject. Although the classroom studies have mostly been carried out in science and engineering, they are based on fundamental cognitive psychology/learning science principles that apply quite generally. This research makes a strong case that the extent of use of effective research-based teaching methods is a much better predictor of student learning and success than other methods for evaluating teaching. I will briefly review these advances in research on teaching and learning, and then discuss practical means to characterize teaching practices used in individual courses, followed by an open discussion.


Carl Wieman received the Nobel Prize in physics in 2001 for creating an incredible new state of matter, the Bose- Einstein condensate. He was named US Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation in 2004. Carl used his Nobel Prize money to create the popular PHET website, which provides numerous simulations in physics and other fields. In 2007 the U. of British Columbia provided him with five million dollars to transform the teaching practices in their STEM departments. In 2010 he served as Asst. Sec. of Education in the Obama administration. Since 2013 Carl has been at Stanford, where he is a Professor in the Physics Dept. and in the Graduate School of Education. His book Improving How Universities Teach Science was published in May by Harvard Press.