the freedom to conduct their courses as they deem appropriate. Less-experienced faculty also may be reluctant to share their ideas and concerns about teaching and learning because they fear exposing their pedagogical naiveté or missteps to those who may later evaluate their suitability for tenure and promotion. Such reluctance to seek feedback and advice may be especially pronounced should a new faculty member be experimenting with alternative approaches to teaching and learning that may appear suspect to faculty colleagues. In turn, senior faculty may be reluctant to sit in on the courses of less experienced colleagues because they lack the time to do so or believe their presence could interfere with those colleagues’ abilities to conduct the classes as they see fit.

Research universities are recognizing this problem and increasingly are developing programs to help graduate and postdoctoral students in the art and craft of teaching. The availability of such programs in the natural sciences, however, currently lags behind that in other disciplines (Golde and Dore, 2001).


Dozens of professional societies and umbrella or multidisciplinary organizations are devoted to the support and improvement of research. Far fewer organizations exist whose primary focus is the improvement of teaching and learning in STEM, especially for undergraduate students. Most of these organizations have the potential to influence positively their members’ recognition that teaching can be a scholarly endeavor parallel to research in the discipline.

In the past 10 years, however, disciplinary societies and organizations have shown increased interest in finding ways to assist their membership in improving undergraduate teaching and learning. For more than a decade, for example, the research-based American Mathematical Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics have worked closely with mathematics education organizations, such as the Mathematical Association of America, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the American Mathematics Association of Two Year Colleges. Together they have examined mathematics curricula and standards for learning for grades K–14. Likewise, the American Chemical Society offers

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