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What is the PALM Network?

The Promoting Active Learning and Mentoring (PALM) Network was established to increase the use of active learning in undergraduate lecture courses. PALM guides instructors to put into practice effective methods of active learning under the sustained mentorship of other instructors with experience in evidence-based active learning. Each Fellow works individually with a mentor chosen to help the Fellow reach specific goals and objectives, but there are also shared resources, conference calls, and Network gatherings with workshops in which Fellows and mentors can learn from each other. This network of Fellows and their mentors are recruited and supported in their professional development by a network of life science professional societies. Fellows and mentors also disseminate information about their mentorship experiences and products through their professional society meetings, websites, and social media.

Who can be a PALM Fellow?

PALM Fellows can be postdocs aiming for a career that involves undergraduate teaching or they may be faculty at almost any stage of their academic career. They can be from any kind of post-secondary institution.  PALM particularly welcomes participation from instructors at two-year institutions and minority-serving institutions.

Why Active Learning?

Mentoring Matters

Sign Up to Be a Mentor

Eligibility      Funding      Forms      Resources

Why become a PALM fellow?

PALM Fellows Will:

  • Gain mentorship from leaders in undergraduate biology teaching and learning
  • Learn best practices in teaching and in assessing active learning
  • Create an original teaching module that engages students in active learning
  • Join a community of scientists dedicated to active teaching and learning, and share ideas and support
  • Participate in Fellow-mentor journal clubs, meetings, and networking opportunities
  • Obtain invaluable career development for faculty careers
  • Be part of a network of scientific societies dedicated to supporting scientists in teaching and learning careers

Timeline of PALM Fellowship

Faculty and Postdoctoral Fellow Eligibility

  • PALM Fellows and mentors must belong to either a disciplinary-based professional society, a professional society that promotes the advancement of a group underrepresented in STEM (such as SACNAS) or an education-focused professional society like SABER or NABT.
    • However, if you are a community college instructor you may apply without joining a professional society, although many societies have discounted rates for instructors at community colleges.
  • Applicants must demonstrate an abiding/sustainable interest in undergraduate biology education.
  • Applicants must establish a mentor relationship before formally applying.
    • Assistance with mentor matching is available
      • PALM Steering Committee members can make recommendations based on geography and specific teaching interests
    • Mentors must be skilled in active learning strategies and evidence-based teaching that align with Vision and Change See http://www.visionandchange.org.
    • Mentors must belong to (or join) one of the PALM Network organizations.
  • Applicants without immediate access to their own teaching setting may be considered.

Funding

PALM will fund up to $2,000 for Fellows to visit, observe, and work with a mentor.

  • Funds will be in the form of reimbursements for submitted receipts for pre-approved expenses, which include site visit travel and teaching materials.
    • Funds may not be used for indirect or overhead costs, salaries or wages, classroom technology or lab equipment or supplies, or alcoholic beverages.
    • Reimbursement (as opposed to lump-sum payment) relieves the recipient of any tax implications.
  • Reimbursable receipts must be submitted within 9 months of receiving the award notification.

Fellows and mentors will each receive up to $1,000 (reimbursed travel receipts) to present their work and its outcomes at a meeting of a professional society or a national group focused on teaching and learning.

Reimbursable receipts must be submitted within 30 days of travel.

Useful Forms

Resources

Sign Up to Be a Mentor

Mentor Role in the Application Process

  • Mentors must belong to either a disciplinary-based professional society, a professional society that promotes the advancement of a group underrepresented in STEM (such as SACNAS) or an education-focused professional society like SABER or NABT.
  • The mentor works with the applicant to plan the project and its implementation, either in the Fellow’s classroom, or in the case of postdoc who is not currently teaching, in the mentor’s classroom.
  • The mentor works with the applicant to devise a timeline and format of their mentoring interactions, including the Fellow’s visit(s) to the mentor’s institution.
  • The mentor supplies a letter of support that promises to mentor the Fellow throughout the duration of the proposed activities, and that addresses the mentor’s experience in using the active learning approaches the Fellow has proposed to learn.
  • The mentor supplies a two-page teaching-focused CV that includes
    • A few paragraphs on teaching philosophy
    • Courses taught
    • Experience with evidence-based teaching
    • Educational innovations employed
    • Topic of any discipline-based education research
    • Previous experience in mentoring others in teaching

Deadlines: February 28th, April 30th, July 30th, and October 30th

Helpful Hints      Requirements Checklist       Mentor Role      Documents Needed       Sample Application

Helpful Hints

  • Review the PALM Application Rubric (It has all the criteria that will be used to evaluate your application)
  • In addition to CVs of the mentor and Fellow that emphasize their teaching experience, a strong PALM application will include the following information:
    • A clear description of the targeted course(s) to be revised. Including:
      • A description of the course topic, level, size, and the classroom you use
      • A description of current learning approaches used
      • Specific goals for course transformation
      • A description of proposed interactions with the mentor before, during, and after the visit; provide a general outline of how (phone? videoconference? in person if geographically close?) and how often you will interact over the period of the mentorship
    • A description of the mentor’s experience with active learning and STEM education research, both in the proposed work and in the supporting letter from the mentor
    • A brief discussion of possible formative and summative assessment plans
      • The plan should describe the assessment and include the before and after teaching videos required by the PALM fellowship
    • A budget that clearly shows expected transportation and housing costs for the Fellow’s visit to the mentor’s institution
    • A dissemination plan for sharing their mentorship experiences and any new teaching materials developed
      • This could be through conference presentations or publications, for example

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Requirements Checklist

Please be sure you understand the following requirements:
  1. PALM Fellows and mentors must belong to either a disciplinary-based professional society, a professional society that promotes the advancement of a group underrepresented in STEM (such as SACNAS) or an education-focused professional society like SABER or NABT.
    • However, if you are a community college instructor you may apply without joining a professional society, although many societies have discounted rates for instructors at community colleges.
  2. If you are a postdoc, you must upload a separate support letter from your current research mentor indicating that this person supports your participation in this program (and the time it requires)
  3. The pre-mentoring video of teaching needs to be submitted before any funds for travel are reimbursed
  4. The $2,000 award is for travel costs to visit your mentor and not lab supplies, textbooks, technology, etc.
    • Special allowance could be made for the purchase of books on active learning, POGIL, etc. if justified
  5. All work and post-mentoring teaching video needs to be completed and submitted within nine months of being accepted into the program
    • The final video will be submitted as soon as the Fellow teaches the material devised with the mentor’s help

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Mentor Role in Application Process

  • Mentors must belong to either a disciplinary-based professional society, a professional society that promotes the advancement of a group underrepresented in STEM (such as SACNAS) or an education-focused professional society like SABER or NABT.
  • The mentor works with the applicant to plan the project and its implementation, either in the Fellow’s classroom, or in the case of postdoc who is not currently teaching, in the mentor’s classroom.
  • The mentor works with the applicant to devise a timeline and format of their mentoring interactions, including the Fellow’s visit(s) to the mentor’s institution.
  • The mentor supplies a letter of support that promises to mentor the Fellow throughout the duration of the proposed activities, and that addresses the mentor’s experience in using the active learning approaches the Fellow has proposed to learn.
  • The mentor supplies a two-page teaching-focused CV that includes
    • A few paragraphs on teaching philosophy
    • Courses taught
    • Experience with evidence-based teaching
    • Educational innovations employed
    • Topic of any discipline-based education research
    • Previous experience in mentoring others in teaching

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Documents Needed

Please upload the following documents to complete your application:
  1. Proposal (PDF)
    • 1,000-word limit, 12-point font
    • The proposal must include:
      1. A brief description of your proposed project:
        • Type of institution in which you intend to teach the material you develop
        • Characteristics of the course (size) and its students
        • Topic or theme within the course you plan to address
        • Instructional strategies you would like to explore, if known, etc.
      2. A plan for implementation of the proposed project
        • Explain the flow from background reading or other preparation, to devising new active learning material, to using it with students, and identify where these steps take place (i.e., at your mentor’s institution or yours)
      3. Possible plans for formative and summative classroom assessments
      4. Your interest in being mentored in active learning
      5. Your teaching experience
      6. An outline of the specific time frame for your visit to your mentor and the development of the active learning materials
        • Exact dates are not necessary on the application, but you need an idea of the month and duration of the visit(s)
        • Ideally, supply a schedule of proposed meeting times (electronically or in person) with your mentor
      7. Proposed budget: logistical details including dates, location, and anticipated costs
      8. How you plan to disseminate your work relating to the mentorship, for example:
        • Peer-reviewed publications (Life Sciences Education, Journal of College Science Teaching, CourseSource)
        • Seminar at your own or your mentor’s institution
        • Oral presentation or poster at a scientific or teaching and learning meeting (besides the one for which PALM funds your travel)
  1. Mentor letter of support (PDF)
    • Two-page limit
    • Covers two parts:
      1. Promise to mentor the fellow throughout the duration of the proposed activities
      2. Mentor’s experience actively implementing Vision and Change principles in classrooms, especially pertaining to the specific approaches the fellow wants to pursue
  1. Fellow two-page teaching-focused CV (PDF)
    • Includes:
      1. Attendance at any workshops or institutes focusing on pedagogy
      2. Participation in preparing future faculty programs, if applicable
      3. Experience as a TA and/or instructor
  1. Mentor two-page teaching-focused CV (PDF)
    • Emphasizes:
      1. A few paragraphs on teaching philosophy
      2. Courses taught
      3. Experience with evidence-based teaching
      4. Educational innovations employed
      5. Topic of any discipline-based education research
      6. Previous experience in mentoring others in teaching
  1. If you are a postdoc,
    • A letter from your current research PI supporting your participation in the fellowship

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Sample Application

The following documents show an example of a successful PALM application as well as the feedback given, which generated through use of the rubric.

Sample Application       Feedback

Deadlines: February 28th, April 30th, July 30th, and October 30th

Past and Current PALM Pairs      Steering Committee     

Networking Works

The PALM Network combines the shared educational interests of scientific organizations working for Vision and Change. The Steering Committee oversees the program, screens applicants for mentorships, provides mentor orientation and regular follow-ups, leads an information sharing meeting of all Fellows and Mentors each summer, and advises how to expand the network to reach more instructors of underrepresented students.

The PALM Network Will:

  • Establish application review committees with members of Network societies as needed per the application cycle and application pressure.
  • Screen applicants with an evaluation rubric to assess the likelihood of success for the identified work. The rubric assesses: mentor selection; learning outcome goals; plans for implementation, assessment, dissemination; and budget.
  • Assess the effectiveness of each awarded active learning mentorship intervention by using the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) to analyze videos of PALM fellows’ teaching before and after mentorship.
  • Host a yearly gathering of fellows and mentors to provide a supportive community to encourage further development and to solicit suggestions to improve the program.
  • Expand the reach of this program through dissemination activities including societal meetings, media streams, and publication outlets.
  • Seek to expand the network to reach more instructors of underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students.
  • Rely on sustained input from a Steering Committee that includes collaborative education leadership from PALM Network professional societies as well as individuals from a diverse array of undergraduate institutions.

Past and Current PALM Fellow/Mentor Pairs

  • Christopher Baker, Michelle Smith
  • Teresa Lee, Karen Schmeichel
  • Stephanie Blumer Levi, David Marcey
  • Jason Chan, Le Paliulis
  • Anjali Misra, Diane Ebert-May
  • Veronica Segarra, Karen Bernd
  • Emily Furbee, Joseph Ayob
  • Ami Wangeline, Kristen Miller
  • Deborah Zies, Mark Decker
  • Sami Raut, Sara Brownell
  • Lara Goudsouzian, Stanley Lo
  • Michael Moore, Robert Talbot
  • Steve Elmer, Stephen DiCarlo

Steering Committee

  • Michael Wolyniak, Hampden-Sydney College (Chair)
  • Jessamina Blum, CourseSource and The Summer Institutes on Scientific Teaching
  • Amy Chang, American Society for Microbiology
  • Eben Lindsey, SACNAS
  • Carleitta Paige-Anderson, Virginia Union University
  • Winnie Nham, American Society of Plant Biologists
  • Marsha Matyas, American Physiological Society
  • Mark Peifer, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Alexandra Piester, Morehouse College
  • Amy Prunuske, Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Sonia Hall, Genetics Society of America
  • Susan Wick, American Society for Cell Biology, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

 


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Questions? Please email Sue Wick at swick@umn.edu.
PALM is funded by NSF Research Coordination Network in Undergraduate Biology Education grant #1624200. Project support from Professional Societies Alliance for Life Science Education