Fostering Academic Success in STEM

We are inviting you to register for a one-day conference (May 26, 2017) on Fostering Academic Success in STEM at the undergraduate level. The conference presenters are featured below.

The conference will feature presentations and interactive sessions on current work on applying science of learning in undergraduate college and university courses, with an emphasis on STEM education. This conference will focus on helping non-experts in science of learning to implement and assess the impact of instruction informed by the science of learning.

Participation in the conference is free to registrants, with continental breakfast and lunch served. In addition, complimentary parking on campus will be provided as needed. Your only expense will be getting to and from the conference.

Additional Opportunity (by application)

Two and four year colleges and universities are invited to submit an application to participate in a STEM Pedagogy Institute on the day following the conference (May 27, 2017). Selected institutions will work with Institute staff to develop an instructional plan for a course or courses, informed by science of learning principles. The plans will then be implemented during the 2017-18 academic year with an assessment completed with support from UNH. Institutions with successful projects will be invited to present their findings at the 2018 STEM Pedagogy Institute. Click here for more detailed information on the STEM Pedagogy Institute. 


Victor Benassi

Director, Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and Learning, University of New Hampshire

Catherine Overson

Director of Teaching, Learning, and Research Services, Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and Learning, University of New Hampshire



To view each speaker's presentation, click on the title of each presentation

Diane Ebert-May

Professor of Plant Biology, Michigan State University

Dr. Diane Ebert-May provides national and international leadership in biology education research and teaching. Ebert-May’s lab group investigates the longitudinal impact of transformed biology courses on undergraduates’ use of scientific practices (e.g., models, arguments, working with data, and narratives) to learn the core concepts in biology. Her book, Pathways to Scientific Teaching is based on student-centered learning, inquiry-based instructional strategies, assessment and research. She is a AAAS Fellow in the Biological Sciences. Her recent awards include the US Professor of the Year Award for Michigan from the Carnegie Foundation/CASE (2011), the Education Award from the American Association for Biological Science (2012), and University Distinguished Faculty (MSU 2012).

Presentation Title: Evidence-based Teaching: Just the Facts or Thinking Like Scientists? Part 1 & Part 2


Shana Carpenter

Associate Professor of Psychology, Iowa State University

Dr. Shana Carpenter’s research interests include the application of memory principles to improve student learning and metacognition. She is the PI on an NSF-funded project designed to apply effective learning principles toward the improvement of STEM education, particularly as they relate to individual differences in student learning. She has served as associate editor for the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (JARMAC) and currently serves on numerous editorial boards for journals in both cognitive and educational psychology.

Presentation Title: Using Prequestions to Enhance the Effects of Retrieval Practice in STEM Courses

John Dunlosky

Professor of Psychological sciences and Director of Science of Learning and Education (STEM), Kent State University

Dr. John Donlosky has contributed empirical and theoretical work on metacognition and self-regulated learning, and his current research focus is on discovering techniques that will improve students’ learning and achievement across the lifespan.  Dr. Dunlosky is a member of the Governing Board of the Psychonomic Society, a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, a founder of the International Association for Metacognition, and co-author of Metacognition, the first textbook on the topic.

Presentation Title: Helping Students Achieve: Promising Strategies from Cognitive and Education Sciences




Samuel Pazicni

Associate Professor, Chemistry, University of New Hampshire

Dr Pazicni received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, and performed post-doctoral research in Biophysics and Chemistry Education at the University of Michigan. At UNH, Sam leads a research group specializing in both bioinorganic chemistry and chemistry education research, and co-directs the CC2CEPS Scholarship Program, designed to provide academic and financial assistance to community college students transferring to UNH to complete a baccalaureate degree in a STEM field. He is also a teaching/learning/assessment fellow with UNH’s CEITL. Sam is also a member of the American Chemical Society, and currently serves on the Society Committee on Education and on the Division of Chemical Education's Chemistry Education Research Committee.

Presentation Title: Investigating and Mitigating Students’ Illusions of Competence


Carrie L. Hall

Assistant Professor, Biology, zoology, University of New Hampshire

Dr. Hall completed her BS in biological sciences and her MS in Biochemistry at the University of Tulsa, and then completed a dual-track Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Biology Education at Idaho State University.  Before joining the UNH faculty in Biological Sciences in the fall of 2015, she completed her post-doctoral training and began her first faculty position in South Dakota. Dr. Hall is interested in teaching and learning methods that best work for students from diverse backgrounds, and seeks to understand how faculty decisions and adoption of teaching methodology best inspire all students to succeed.

Presentation Title: Does Method Matter?: A Study of Teaching Methodology and Content Learning in Introductory Biology


Melissa Aikens

Assistant Professor, Biology, University of New Hampshire

Dr. Aikens is an Assistant Professor of Biology Education in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of New Hampshire. She obtained her Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Virginia where she studied ecology and evolutionary biology. She then completed a postdoc in biology education at the University of Georgia and the University of Texas at Austin. Her research on education investigates (1) the effects of mentoring by graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty members on undergraduate researchers and (2) pedagogical strategies that foster positive attitudes toward quantitative skills in biology majors and that lead to greater quantitative skill development.

Presentation Title: Incorporating Quantitative Skills into the Undergraduate Biology Classroom

Faria Sana, Assistant Professor in the Centre for Psychology, Athabasca University

Dr. Faria Sana is an Assistant Professor in the Centre for Psychology at Athabasca University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University where she investigated cognitive principles that promote the learning of categories and concepts. She is currently investigating when, why and for whom cognitive principles (e.g., interleaving practice, pretesting concepts, and generating explanations) inform educational practices in secondary and postsecondary, including online classrooms.

Presentation Title: Applying the Interleaving Effect to Promote Student Learning - Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3



Michael Melville

Teaching and Learning Research Coordinator, CEITL, University of New Hampshire

Dr. Melville completed his Ph.D. in psychology at UNH with a specialty in social psychology and science of learning. He is a Teaching and Learning Research Coordinator at CEITL where he works with faculty in applying science of learning principles in their courses. Michael's research interests are at the crossroads of social psychology and the science of teaching and learning. His work has examined the role of interpersonal dynamics affecting learning in a classroom setting.

Presentation Title: How Can We "Activate" Student Engagement?



Joint Presentation Title: Designing Instruction and Practice to Benefit Students’ Performance in STEM courses

Victor Benassi

Director, Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and Learning, and Professor of Psychology, University of New Hampshire

Dr. Benassi is principal investigator of three Davis Educational Foundation grants on applying science of learning principles in academic courses and curricula. He is an American Psychology Association fellow and served as the 2013 APA Division 2 President. In 2003, he received the American Psychological Foundation’s Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology award. His current research focuses on the application of science of learning principles to teaching and learning in college and university courses.


Catherine Overson

Director of Teaching, Learning, and Research Services, and Affiliate Associate Professor of College Teaching, University of new Hampshire

Dr. Overson completed her Ph.D. in psychology at UNH with a specialty in  social psychology and the science of learning. Her research focuses on the application of science of learning principles in college and university courses. She conducts faculty development presentations and workshops on applying the science of learning. Catherine has presented on her teaching and learning research at national and international conferences, and is co-editor (with Victor Benassi and Christopher Hakala) of Applying the Science of Learning in Education: Infusing Psychological Science into the Curriculum (2014, STP).