research on motivating adult learners, engage faculty in reflection of their teaching practices, and include a deliberate focus on changing faculty conceptions about teaching and learning.

•   Multiple factors interact to affect faculty instructional decisions. Efforts to translate DBER into practice should take into account individual, departmental, and institutional influences on instruction.

•   Although the evidence on efforts to prepare future faculty to incorporate research-based practices into their instruction is not conclusive, such efforts could represent a significant leverage point to translate DBER and related research into practice.


Although it is inherently difficult and complex to assess the extent to which DBER has informed instruction, the understanding of this topic is particularly limited because the research base is particularly sparse. The first step is to develop and test a model of what influences the teaching practices of individual science and engineering faculty members and of how teaching is situated in the larger organizational context. Because both individual and contextual aspects are relevant to assessing the effects of DBER, both are relevant to increasing the effects of DBER on teaching in the future.

A reliable baseline understanding of faculty instructional practices in the sciences and engineering also is needed; this research should mitigate the limitations of self-report data to the extent possible and provide insights into variations by discipline, institutional type, and course type (e.g., large courses versus small, introductory courses, courses for majors). In a related vein, current research on discipline-specific professional development efforts to translate DBER and related research into practice mostly consists of program evaluations. By their nature, these evaluations do not rigorously examine the question of how such programs influence instruction across disciplines. Future research on this topic should take into account the larger body of research on adult learning and effective professional development to identify guiding principles for the effective translation of research into practice. Specifically, it would be productive to study what support, guidance, and knowledge of underlying principles faculty need to successfully implement research-based practices (Henderson and Dancy, 2009).

Because departmental and institutional norms and cultures reflect shared values and beliefs—including beliefs about teaching and learning—gaining understanding of departmental and institutional norms and cultures is an essential step in designing efforts to enact new policies supporting educational innovation. Based on this understanding, policy initiatives can be aligned with existing norms and/or be carefully tailored to modify those

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