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Drew University Professor Receives National Science Foundation Grant

Juliette Lantz’s research focuses on providing STEM students with transferable skills

April 2023 – Drew University Professor of Chemistry Juliette Lantz was recently awarded a generous grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for her current research project.

Lantz, in tandem with fellow principal investigator Dr. Suzanne Ruder, associate chair and professor of chemistry at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), will design and pilot a web application that allows instructors to assess student development of transferable skills like critical thinking, information processing, communication, and collaboration, and provide students with rapid and actionable feedback on how they can improve these skills.

The pair will add a grant-funded postdoctoral associate and spend two years collecting data at a range of institutions with a team of STEM instructors.

As a professor at Drew, Lantz has been able to see first-hand the impact that the skills targeted in this project have on students.

“One of the exciting things for me is how well this project intertwines with the liberal arts education at Drew, which by its nature fosters student development in key transferable skills as well as deep study in major programs,” said Lantz. “The class sizes at Drew support the active engagement and close interaction between faculty and students, so bringing on additional teaching strategies to encourage skill development is a great melding of purposes.”

Lantz often brings a researcher’s eye to her role as a professor, able to envision the implementation of additional insights, tools, and resources from her research.

“I bring instructional tools from my research projects right into my chemistry courses and use them to support student growth in developing these sought-after transferable skills. This project will analyze which skill-building pedagogical strategies—utilizing this new digital web application—were effective in student development across a range of STEM classrooms. Our goal is to develop streamlined feedback strategies that are easy to adopt by any STEM instructors, and scalable to classes of any size.”

Lantz also has a built-in pipeline of feedback from her students.

“They’ve been phenomenal at providing their insights and feedback on how certain classroom practices have impacted them and how the teaching methodologies could be further improved. At the end of the day, the research is all about providing students with the most robust set of skills and tools to take into the real world.”

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