Jacinta Mutambuki, Ph.D. joined The Teaching Center as a STEM Education Postdoctoral Research Associate in July 2014. Jacinta’s main focus is on evaluating the effectiveness of Teaching Center programs that train future faculty in evidence-based teaching in the STEM disciplines. Jacinta works with Gina Frey and Denise Leonard to develop, implement, and evaluate the STEM pedagogies workshop series, which is a central component of the WU-CIRTL program for future faculty in STEM. A major part of this effort is the development of a STEM pedagogies survey, designed to assess the effectiveness of the workshops.
Jacinta is part of the team working on the development of the WU-CIRTL program, which is creating a learning community for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who will fill faculty positions in STEM fields. The CIRTL (Center for Integrating Research, Teaching, and Learning) Network, a network of 23 U.S. institutions, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), aims to improve undergraduate STEM education by training future faculty in evidence-based teaching. The Washington University CIRTL program focuses on helping future faculty develop a scholarly approach to teaching as well as cultivate active-learning pedagogies that can improve learning for diverse undergraduates. The evaluation of the WU-CIRTL program is supported in part by the NSF.
Jacinta’s main research interests focus on improving undergraduate STEM education by integrating real-world contexts and evidence-based approaches into introductory STEM curricula and on developing and evaluating professional development for future faculty.
As a graduate student at Western Michigan University, Jacinta developed and facilitated a six-week professional-development program for science graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) that focused on the implementation of active-learning classroom practices.
During her graduate studies, Jacinta developed interdisciplinary context-based laboratory modules for introductory college-level chemistry courses. Her dissertation work examined the effect of inquiry-based nanoscience modules on STEM majors’ attitudes toward science. Her research findings revealed that nanoscience and nanotechnology are potential tools for improving student perceptions and attitudes towards chemistry, which helps promote student engagement and retention in the STEM disciplines.