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Travel support

dB-SERC can provide travel and lodging support to faculty members in the natural science departments at Pitt who are interested in visiting another university to learn about how to adopt and adapt a particular instructional innovation in their classes. It can be useful to observe the classes which are using certain instructional innovation because it can provide a tangible understanding of what the innovation looks like in practice. dB-SERC can provide travel and lodging support for faculty members who want to visit classrooms at other universities and to talk to the people engaged in those innovations (up to $1000 maximum award). Alternatively, dB-SERC can also provide travel and lodging support for faculty members who wish to attend an education conference to attend workshops related to instructional innovation if they are planning to adapt/adopt it in Pitt natural sciences classes for majors or non-majors.

In order to be eligible to receive travel support, a faculty member MUST be a full-time faculty in the nine natural sciences department at Pitt and must be wanting to adopt or adapt a particular instructional innovation in his/her own classes at Pitt in the near future (within one year of the visit). Therefore, dB-SERC requests the following from faculty members who are interested in the travel award:

  • Before receiving travel support:
    • The faculty member must submit a one page description to of the particular instructional innovation he/she would like to adopt or adapt. The following should be mentioned:
      • University where the educational innovation is being implemented and name(s) of the people involved.
      • A rationale for why the particular innovation is being considered (why it is expected to result in improved learning outcomes).
        • Evidence from discipline-based education literature if available
      • Pitt course(s) in which the faculty member plans to implement the innovation and an estimate of the number of students who will benefit.
    • The faculty member must submit an estimate of how much the trip will cost (dB-SERC will pay a maximum of $1000).
  • After receiving travel support, but before implementation of the educational innovation, the faculty member must submit a 1-2 page description to of the instructional design to be adopted/adapted for which the trip occurred. The description should include:
    • Student-centered evidence-based active engagement techniques to be used in the course(s).
    • Well-defined measurable course goals and an assessment plan to evaluate the extent to which the goals have been achieved.
    • A discussion of what kinds of formative assessments will be used.
  • After implementing the educational innovation, the faculty member must present the outcomes at a dB-SERC lunch discussion.

dB-SERC is happy to provide consultation with regard to implementation and assessment of an instructional innovation. Email the dB-SERC post-doc at if you would like consultation. In addition, the dB-SERC website ( includes information which can be helpful in designing an evaluation plan (e.g., contains a list of established assessments in each natural science discipline and information about evidence-based teaching strategies).