The Instructor Experience
Classes meet for 3 hours each day with two extended days each week for laboratory research, engineering design/build experiences, and/or field trips. All classes are capped at 20 students and, where feasible, instructors are supported with teaching associates or assistants. Instructors are able to teach on their own or with colleagues, if so desired.
STEM instructors are expected to provide a welcoming student-centered and inclusive teaching environment where students from all backgrounds are engaged in the material and learning can flourish. Instructors are supported in their course design through collaboration with the program director and STEM curriculum coordinator in a series of meetings prior to the program start. In addition, instructors will create a detailed academic project plan for submission to the STEM administrative team.
The courses should be designed to be student-centered and inclusive. Curriculum should allow for inquiry-based and experiential activities that encourage student growth and exploration. An integral part of a successful class is for the instructor to become a facilitator of the experience and find ways to transition the active teaching and learning directly to the students. Lecture should be kept to a minimum and activities that pair and/or group students to conduct the work themselves should be highlighted. Project-based learning, experiments, engineering challenges, modeling, role playing, case studies, literature review and discussion are just a few of the ways to engage students effectively in the classroom period. Instructors are encouraged to create course packs (in lieu of textbooks) for students that include content from diverse perspectives. Instructors and teaching support staff will have lunch with the students on the first day to explain the academic project in depth and should host office hours throughout the program where students can meet to discuss their academic experience and/or get support on their projects.
The Student Experience
The STEM program is designed to inspire students with similar interests in these subjects. Students are immersed in STEM courses, getting a real taste for what it means to be a scientist through exploration and discovery. STEM courses expose students to the intellectual concepts and processes of scientific topics that are taught at Brown University. Depending on the content, students are encouraged to conduct experiments, run design challenges, and make their own discoveries. Inquiry-based instruction means that the students themselves – by asking appropriate questions – seek out knowledge, information, and scientific truth. STEM students learn from the ground up by first focusing on the basics and continuously reaching further to earn a deep understanding of the more advanced concepts. By exposing the students to this type of inquiry, they not only learn how to think critically, but also gain hands-on experience in how STEM professionals conduct research.
The STEM program is designed to be a holistic experience that supports students’ learning both in and out of the classroom. Community building workshops, talks, and STEM activities are woven throughout the two week period. Students work with others from diverse backgrounds throughout the program where they learn from each other, are inspired by each other, and form lasting friendships. As the courses are not graded, students learn for the sake of learning and this creates an enjoyable, safe, and relaxed environment, which in turn encourages each student to live up to their full potential. As a result, students build self-confidence and grow as individuals. The program activities and academic experiences are designed to help students develop the skills necessary to allow them to be successful in their future academic pursuits.
In addition to the academic course time, students are able to use their afternoon free time to work on their academic projects or participate in the diverse programming offered through Summer@Brown. In the evenings and on the weekends, the Campus Life staff plans and oversees an array of recreational activities (past examples include a movie night, bowling, rock climbing, and a Paw Sox game). Connections between the evening campus life activities and the academic course material is always encouraged.
Provide a welcoming student-centered inclusive teaching environment where students from all backgrounds can become engaged in the material and learning can flourish.
- Focus STEM interests and prepare for success in a rigorous academic environment
- Work closely with peers on research projects, experiments, or design-build challenges
- Live and learn at Brown with other motivated students from around the world
- Learn from current researchers and graduate students about their work and begin to explore possible academic and career opportunities