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Dr. Jack Eichler came to the UCR Department of Chemistry in 2010, and is currently an Associate Professor of Teaching in Chemistry (LSOE). Since coming to UCR, he has focused on developing, implementing, and assessing more engaging learning environments for large enrollment general chemistry courses. He has been the principal investigator on a United States Department of Agriculture Higher Education Challenge Grant Program project that helped recruit incoming freshmen to participate in an Environmental-Agricultural Science learning community. He was also the principal investigator on a National Science Foundation Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM (TUES) project that developed, implemented, and disseminated a series of problem-based case studies in the two year general chemistry/organic chemistry sequence, and has subsequently become the principal investigator on a National Science Foundation Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) project that has adapted problem-based studies for use as in-class activities for flipped classroom modules. Dr. Eichler has been recognized for his work in creating more engaging learning environments, as he has been awarded the UCR Innovative Teaching Award, the American Chemical Society Committee on Environmental Improvement Award for Incorporating Sustainability in Chemistry Education, and has been inducted into the UCR Academy of Distinguished Teachers. As faculty co-director, he aims to leverage this prior experience in developing innovative approaches to STEM teaching to inform the ongoing pre-service teacher training activities organized and run by the UCR CalTeach-SMI Program.
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Dr. Thomas M. Smith is Professor of the Graduate School of Education, Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor at UCR, and the Executive Director of the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools (NCSU). He has taught graduate and undergraduate level courses in research methods, regression analysis, hierarchical linear modeling, and improvement science. He has led quantitative and qualitative research on 11 Institute for Education Sciences and National Science Foundation funded projects, ranging from cluster-randomized trials (Co-PI on the IES funded Evaluating Math Recovery with Student Outcomes) to mixed methods longitudinal studies (PI on the NSF funded How Do Induction and Continuing Professional Development Affect Beginning Middle School Math Teachers' Instruction and Student Achievement? and Co-PI on NSF funded Investigating and Supporting the Development of Ambitious and Equitable Mathematics Instruction at Scale and Designing Learning Organizations for Instructional Improvement in Mathematics). Each of these NSF grants involved designing and administering focus group protocols, interviews, observations of classroom instruction and professional development, assessments of teachers’ mathematics knowledge for teaching, and administering on-line or in-person surveys. The latter two NSF funded grants were structured as Research Partnerships with large urban districts, where annual feedback based on each district’s theory of action for improving mathematics instruction was presented to district leaders in order to assist them in their planning for the following year. He also has experience leading a research-practice partnership as PI and Project Director of NCSU, which involved collaborators from 5 research universities, a curriculum and program developer (EDC) and two large urban districts. The ongoing results of the NCSU collaboration have been disseminated through national and international research conferences, testimony before the Texas State Senate; workshops and PD sessions with district policy makers and school level principals and teachers; a video of participants describing the work, and a website explaining the project and disseminating the publications (http://www.scalingupcenter.org). He currently serves as the liaison between UCR and the Riverside County Education Collaborative.
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Mrs. Leslie Bushong is an alumna of UC Riverside. She earned her multiple-subject teaching credential at UC Irvine. Since her return to UC Riverside in 1997, she has continued her passion for teacher education. During her tenure as the professional academic advisor for UCR's Mathematics Department, she created and developed advising resources and techniques to prepare undergraduate mathematics students interested in teaching mathematics. As a former academic advisor in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and classroom teacher, Leslie has served as the founding staff director for UCR-SMI since the program's inception in 2006. She is prepared and well-versed to serve as the to advise and prepare science and mathematics pre-service teacher candidates for their future careers in teaching.