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dB-SERC provides the following services:
  • dB-SERC conducts workshops for both veteran and new faculty and teaching assistants with a mission to help a wider audience of faculty and graduate students learn about effective approaches to teaching.
  • January 23, 2015 and August 29, 2014, dB-SERC conducted a workshop for new natural science TAs at Pitt.
  • August 19, 2014, dB-SERC conducted a workshop for new natural science faculty.
  • May 5, 2014, dB-SERC conducted a workshop titled "Improving Student Learning in Large Classes"

Grants for educational projects:

  • Course Transformation Awards
    • ​Yearly awards for faculty interested in improving teaching and learning in a natural science lecture or laboratory course by adopting innovative instructional strategies. Proposals can be submitted to transform, e.g.,:
      • large foundational courses with large DFW (Drop, Fail, Withdraw) rates
      • laboratory courses
      • a regular course into an honors level course
      • any course in which the instructor would like to implement, e.g., inquiry learning, authentic learning, technology in the classroom, and other evidence based instructional strategies
    • ​For more information, see the Course Transformation Award request for proposals.
  • ​Mentor-Mentee Awards
    • ​Awards for faculty to mentor a graduate student or post-doc in transforming at least a two week segment of a natural science course.
    • For more information, see the Mentor-Mentee Award request for proposals.
  • Support for establishing faculty learning communities
    • ​dB-SERC provides support for faculty members who are interested in establishing a learning community in their department. For example, faculty who regularly teach certain courses may want to set up regular lunch meetings to discuss teaching related issues and how to improve student learning in those courses. dB-SERC can provide funds for necessary supplies (e.g., books) and can cover expenses for pizza.
    • For more information see the RFP for Departmental Faculty Learning Communities.
  • ​Travel grants


Regular lunch meetings (with free food) with faculty interested in teaching and learning

  • At these seminar style gatherings, discipline-based education research papers are discussed with a focus on improving knowledge of evidence-based teaching strategies. In addition, practical issues regarding implementation of these strategies is also discussed.
  • Regular meetings have been held since May 15, 2014
    • ​More information about the papers discussed, discussion leaders, and short summaries of the discussions is available here.


​​Consultation in assessment of teaching and learning

  • dB-SERC provides consultation to faculty members in Natural Sciences at Pitt who are interested in assessment issues, for example, consultation with how to assess student learning in a course (conceptual, attitudinal, etc.), or providing consultation on the assessment component of a proposal with a significant educational component.

​Interdisciplinary education

  • dB-SERC strives to bring together faculty from different departments who are interested in creating new courses or transforming existing courses to emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of current science research.
  • If you have an idea for such a course and would liek to be connected to faculty members from a different department, send an email to

Support with grant proposals

  • dB-SERC provides support to faculty who are interested in writing grant proposals which include a significant educational component.
  • If you are working on such a proposal and would like consultation on, for example, the assessment component, contact the dB-SERC Post-Doctoral Teacher Scholar and Assessment Consultant, Emily Marshman at

Effective use of technology


Connecting Pitt faculty with K-12 educators and students

  • dB-SERC can help connect faculty members at Pitt who are interested in K-12 education with teachers. For example, faculty members may be interested in:
    • ​Working with students
    • Giving talks about science research being done at Pitt
    • Working with K-12 educators to develop teaching modules
    • Engage in outreach.


Consultation regarding IRBs for educational studies involving human subjects

  • The Institutional Review Board is a committee charged with ensuring ethical research methods for research involving human subjects.
  • Any educational project which involves research with students (e.g., impact of a particular intervention on student performance), if presented outside of Pitt requires (e.g., national conference, research article) must receive approval from Pitt's IRB.
  • dB-SERC can provide consultation about what kind of IRB status to select and how to write an IRB request.