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Community College Journal of Research and Practice

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Teaching-as-research internships: a model for the

development of future chemistry faculty and the
improvement of teaching in science, technology,
engineering, and math

Donald L. Gillian-Daniel & Kenneth A. Walz

To cite this article: Donald L. Gillian-Daniel & Kenneth A. Walz (2016) Teaching-as-research
internships: a model for the development of future chemistry faculty and the improvement of
teaching in science, technology, engineering, and math, Community College Journal of Research
and Practice, 40:2, 133-145, DOI: 10.1080/10668926.2015.1004140

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Published online: 29 Apr 2015.

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2016, VOL. 40, NO. 2, 133–145

Teaching-as-research internships: a model for the development

of future chemistry faculty and the improvement of teaching
in science, technology, engineering, and math
Donald L. Gillian-Daniela and Kenneth A. Walzb
Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA; bChemistry
and Engineering, Madison Area Technical College, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Over the past decade, the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison)
and Madison Area Technical College (Madison College) partnered to create
an internship pathway for graduate students pursuing careers as future
science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) faculty members. Since
2003, 10 doctoral students from the university completed teaching intern-
ship appointments with the technical college chemistry department. Interns
benefited from a variety of teaching and educational experiences that
helped lay the foundations for their future teaching careers. Following
completion of their internships, many students secured employment in
higher education as new instructors and enthusiastic members of the
teaching profession. Intern projects also benefited veteran faculty mentors
at Madison College, and the experience provided a rich forum for collabora-
tion that generated curricular and instructional innovations in the class-
room. Centered on the three pillars of teaching-as-research, learning
community, and learning through diversity, the internship program created
at UW-Madison and implemented at Madison College provides a model
pathway for preparing future STEM faculty. This approach provides clear
benefits not only for the future faculty who are trained, but also for veteran
faculty mentors, for the host institution, and for the undergraduate students
impacted by the educational innovations. This paper examines the key
attributes of this program, with the hope that our experience may be
disseminated and replicated to benefit others.

Two-year colleges represent roughly half of all higher education institutions. These schools educate roughly
13 million students each year, representing 45% of all the undergraduates in the United States (American
Association of Community Colleges [AACC], 2013). Studies by the National Science Foundation have
shown that 44% of bachelor and master degree holders in STEM fields, and slightly more than 8% of
doctoral degree holders attended community college before receiving their degrees (Tsapogas, 2004). It is
clear from these numbers that two-year colleges play an important role in higher education. Their value is
further evidenced by the Obama administration’s provision of $500 million for community colleges to
create and expand innovative training programs. This initiative complements the administration’s broader
goal of ensuring at least one year of postsecondary education as part of the American educational
experience (United States Department of Labor, 2012). Similar goals are also evident in the work of
major philanthropic groups (e.g., Lumina Foundation).
Despite these facts, discussion of two-year college teaching opportunities remains fairly uncom-
mon within the graduate schools of major universities. Many faculty and students at large research

CONTACT Donald L. Gillian-Daniel University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Center for Education
Research, 1025 W. Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53706.
Color versions of one or more of the figures in the article can be found online at
© 2016 Taylor & Francis

institutions have limited exposure to two-year colleges, and they possess only a cursory under-
standing of the challenges and opportunities afforded by teaching at a two-year school. In recent
years, a handful of teacher training initiatives have aimed to prepare graduate students for employ-
ment at a two-year institution. Western Carolina University pioneered one such program, leading a
collaborative effort with 12 regional community colleges; this program focused on faculty prepara-
tion through a series of professional development workshops (Williams & Pennington, 2002).
Humboldt State University (n.d.) introduced a 12-credit online Certificate in Faculty Preparation
that targeted graduate students “pursuing a teaching career at a community college or university”
(para. 1). Meanwhile, New Mexico State University (2005) created a Preparing Future Faculty
Graduate Assistantship Award that is “designed to promote the development of the next generation
of faculty at community college and institutions of higher education” (para. 1).
Nevertheless, despite numerous national examples that advanced teaching skills for new faculty
members (Gaff, Pruitt-Logan, Sims, & Denecke, 2003; Golde & Walker, 2006; Handelsman
et al., 2004; The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, 2005; Trautmann &
Krasny, 2006), as recently as 2012, it was noted that educational development programs for STEM
faculty at large research universities remain somewhat rare (Felder, 2012). Furthermore, the National
Academies identified “creating and sustaining effective partnerships between two-year and four-year
institutions” (p. 9) as one of the key challenges in STEM education, noting that, “partnerships are
needed to address such issues as curriculum” (National Research Council, 2012, p. 9).
In this article we present an innovative future-faculty development partnership between a major
state land grant, Research-1 university and a two-year vocational, technical, and community college.
Over the past decade, UW-Madison and Madison College implemented an internship program that
was created by the Delta Program in Research, Teaching and Learning (Delta, the Delta Internship
Program, or the Delta Program). Since the program’s inception, nearly two dozen STEM educators
from the UW-Madison campus have engaged in some type of teaching activity at Madison College,
10 of whom completed formal teaching internships with faculty in the chemistry department. In this
article, we document the development of this partnership and report on the key aspects to its success.

History and purpose of the Delta Program

The Delta Program was created in 2003 at UW-Madison as a prototype program for the Center for
the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL). Delta and CIRTL promote professional
development for current and future (i.e., graduate students and postdoctoral researchers) STEM
faculty. Delta’s core programming includes credit-based graduate courses, noncredit programs,
monthly roundtable dinners, the internship experience, and a capstone Certificate in Research,
Teaching, and Learning (Austin et al., 2008). Similar to all CIRTL institutions, Delta’s programming
is based on three core concepts: teaching-as-research, learning communities, and learning through
diversity (Pfund et al., 2012). The partnership between UW-Madison and Madison College demon-
strates how a world class research university and a preeminent technical college can collaboratively
train future faculty to incorporate these ideas in their instruction and, as a result, become excellent

The Delta Internship Program and teaching-as-research

The Delta Internship Program provides graduate students and post-docs an opportunity to plan,
conduct, and evaluate a teaching-as-research project, as visualized in Figure 1. Interns work
collaboratively with a mentor at UW-Madison or from another institutional setting such as
Madison College. The goal is to apply STEM research and analytical methods to teaching practice.
In this study, Delta interns explored questions such as: Can interactive digital learning objects
improve student comprehension of molecular catalytic phenomena? And, how is student compre-
hension of the Greenhouse Effect influenced by underlying misconceptions related to atmospheric

Figure 1. A visualization of the Teaching-As-Research concept. One of the unique aspects of this professional development
program for future faculty is the use of Teaching-As-Research to frame the technical college teaching experience. An
instructor using Teaching-As-Research applies disciplinary research expertise to address student learning in the classroom.
The process begins with identification of the student learning problem or challenge, and then it proceeds with formulation of
a hypothesis, consultation of the literature, and then development of instructional materials and implementation of an
experimental teaching approach. The instructional innovations incorporate data collection and analysis to assess student
learning. The process is iterative, and analysis of learning informs further revision to the instructional materials or teaching

chemistry and the Ozone Hole? Simultaneously, the interns developed their understanding of the
Delta pillars (i.e., teaching-as-research, learning communities, and learning through diversity)
through classroom practice and student interaction.

A cross-institutional learning community

The Delta Program works to create a learning community beyond the boundaries of the UW-
Madison campus. Through the CIRTL Network, Delta participants interact with faculty, staff,
graduate students, and post-docs across the country in professional development programming.
Delta also partners with other Wisconsin colleges and universities to foster a local community
focused on teaching excellence. The relationship between UW-Madison and Madison College was
one of the earliest connections made, and it has been particularly fruitful as a result of the internship

The internship program was very intentional in cultivating this cross-institutional learning
community. For example, the original internship development team included a Madison College
faculty member, who became a mentor for the first Delta intern. Directors of the internship program
met with Madison College faculty and administrators early on to discuss the program’s benefits, and
they have worked with the college’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning to ensure that
faculty participation aligns with the college mission and continuing education goals. Additionally,
Madison College faculty members have periodically team-taught as adjunct instructors at UW-
Madison in Delta graduate courses about teaching. Engaging both two-year college faculty and
upper level administrators as champions has been key to the partnership. For example, one of
Madison College’s faculty members is a steering committee member for the Delta Program, and the
college’s Director of Grants and Special Projects served on the national advisory board for CIRTL.
Because most graduate students at research universities have limited (if any) knowledge of two-
year institutions, an annual open-house event was established at, and hosted by, Madison College.
Prospective UW-Madison interns visited the college where they met with faculty, toured facilities,
and brainstormed potential areas of collaboration. The open house also served as a forum for
recruiting new mentors from amongst the two-year college faculty who attended. For most of the
university attendees, this was their first visit to Madison College, and for many it was their first visit
to a two-year campus of any kind. Likewise, for many of the Madison College faculty, this was their
first exposure to the UW-Madison Delta Program and the larger CIRTL Network.
Interns and their mentors spend an average of three–five hours per week for one or more
semesters planning, implementing, and evaluating their teaching-as-research project. Depending
on the particular course assignment and duration of the planned internship, some Madison
College faculty received a workload release from teaching responsibilities while mentoring an intern.
In other cases, particularly for less intensive intern assignments, faculty mentors assumed these
responsibilities as part of their outreach and service workload.
In addition, all of the interns meet weekly as part of a semester-long, one-credit seminar (15-hour
equivalent). This provides a community of peers engaged in similar teaching-as-research projects,
and the group shares resources and provides constructive feedback. As a result of their collective
experience, interns develop a deeper understanding of teaching-as-research, and they are able to
integrate these methods into their future teaching practice.
At its core, this rich learning community is structured around the Delta interns. The thread that
binds together all of the parties involved is a common desire to see this ambitious group of new
educators succeed in their careers. The first intern in the entire Delta Program was placed at
Madison College in 2004, and this individual later became the first recipient of the Delta
Certificate in Research, Teaching, and Learning. Since then, nearly two dozen graduate students
and post-docs have engaged in internships and other teaching activities at the technical college.

Two-year colleges and learning through diversity

One of the major differences in teaching at a two-year school is the tremendous diversity of students.
Nearly eight million students attend two-year colleges each year, and the average age of a community
college student is 28 years (AACC, 2013). A National Science Foundation (NSF) report found that
72% of science and engineering graduates over the age of 50 had attended a community college, as
compared with 32% of those under the age of 24 (Tsapogas, 2004). Given the large number of adult
learners, it is not surprising that only 40% of two-year college students attend school full time, and
the vast majority of two-year college students live off campus and commute to school.
Beyond age, the student diversity is wide-ranging. For example, 42% of the nation’s community
college students are the first in their families to attend college (Adelman, 2005; AACC, 2013).
Thirteen percent are single parents, 12% have disabilities, 6% are non-U.S. citizens, and 3% are
veterans. When examining the STEM student population in particular, studies by NSF have found
that enrollment at two-year campuses is strongly tied to family status. For instance, among female

STEM students, 62% of those with children had attended community college (Tsapogas, 2004). In
addition, a large number of underrepresented students follow a vertical transfer path from commu-
nity colleges to a four-year institution (AACC, 2013). Considering these statistics, an instructor at a
two-year campus is likely to face a more diverse group of learners than they would at a typical four-
year school or research-focused university.
Madison College holds three days of faculty convocation events at the beginning and midpoint of
each semester that feature professional development workshops and breakout sessions, many of
which deal with instructional techniques for diverse learners from various groups. Over the course of
this study, interns were invited to participate in the Madison College convocation events and take
advantage of these opportunities. Many of the participants in this study sought internships at
Madison College in part to gain experience with a diverse student audience, and almost all
commented that this was one of the more valuable components of their internship.

Methods—assessing intern satisfaction and outcomes

To assess the internship program, a survey was administered to former interns (N = 10) using
Zoomerang, an Internet-based tool. The survey included both quantitative rankings to measure
impact, and qualitative questions to allow for comments and explanations of numerical responses.
Protocol SE-2009-0773 was submitted for Institutional Review Board approval, and was deter-
mined to be exempt by both UW-Madison and Madison College. Survey responses were rando-
mized to maintain participant anonymity, and data were analyzed inductively using a grounded
theory approach. A structured coding key was developed for individual questions to allow for
analysis of textual data, and patterns and themes were discerned. This allowed for interpretation of
data and for evaluation of the project. The percentage of respondents selecting a given response is
reported for both Likert-type scale and forced choice questions.

Results and discussion

Overview of intern experiences
Delta interns engaged in teaching-as-research projects that included explorations of a wide variety of
topics that ranged from catalysis and hydrogen fuel cells, to atmospheric chemistry and greenhouse
gases, to biodiesel synthesis and viscosity measurements. Some intern appointments also included
interdisciplinary teaching experiences that incorporated other academic disciplines (e.g., biotechnol-
ogy, physics, mathematics).
Of the interns who completed the survey, all but one had taken Delta’s College Classroom course,
either concurrent with or in advance of the internship. This graduate-level course explores effective
pedagogy in higher education and engages students in microteaching practical experiences.
Following the completion of their internships, all of the individuals have held some form of paid
teaching position (see Table 1).

Benefits to the interns and survey results

Interns unanimously stated that the internship was a “great value” to their graduate education
and training. Additionally, they all indicated that the experience positively impacted
their teaching practice (on a four-point scale, 75% of respondents indicated “great impact”;
25% indicated “some impact”) and helped prepare them for a teaching career (on a four-point
scale, 50% of respondents indicated “great preparation”; 50% indicated “some preparation”).
Interns identified the relationships with their Madison College faculty mentor and the
UW-Madison Internship Program coordinator as the most useful components of the internship
experience. Coursework provided by the Delta Program that focused on teaching was also

Table 1. Summary of intern participants.

Internship Madison college adjunct Published internship
Intern UW graduate department or program Degree earned year positions results Current employment status
1 Materials Science M.S. 2004 a 2006 Full-time High School Teacher
2 Environmental Chemistry and Technology Ph.D. 2005 b 2007 Full-time Industry Position
3 Physics Ph.D. 2006 c Post-Doc Washington Univ.

4 Materials Science Ph.D. 2007 a 2011 Full-time Industry Position
5 Chemical Engineering Ph.D. 2008 a 2011 Full-time Syracuse University
6 Environmental Chemistry and Technology Ph.D. 2009 b 2011 Full-time Dubuque University
7 Cell and Molecular Biology Ph.D. 2010 b 2014 Part-time Milwaukee Area Technical College
8 Environmental Chemistry and Technology Ph.D. 2011 a Full-time Industry Position
9 Environmental Chemistry and Technology Ph.D. 2011 a Full-time Madison College
10 Environmental Chemistry and Technology Ph.D. 2012 a Full-time Madison College
Note. The 10 graduate students/Delta interns surveyed for this study came from a variety of departments and programs at UW-Madison. They included both M.S. and Ph.D. students. Typically one
internship project occurred each year. Following the internship, many of the students also served as adjunct instructors at Madison College. Likewise, a number of internships resulted in
published manuscripts. Finally, the current employment status of former interns is noted: “a” indicates that the intern was a part-time instructor for both lecture and laboratory courses; “b”
indicates a part-time laboratory instructor; “c” indicates a guest lecturer or substitute instructor.

Table 2. Response data from the Delta Intern Survey regarding internship experience.
Q: How helpful were the following aspects of the
internship experience? Very helpful Moderately helpful Somewhat helpful Not applicable
The relationship with my faculty mentor 88% – 12% –
Having an internship coordinator 75% 25% – –
Delta Program coursework 50% 50% – –
Traditional university coursework and/or experience 29% 14% 14% 43%
Note. Using a 4-point scale that ranged from “very helpful” to “moderately helpful” to “somewhat helpful,” and finally, “not
applicable,” interns were asked to rate how useful different aspects of the internship experience were to their overall experience.
The percentage of interns selecting each response is indicated. (N = 10).

recognized as an important source of support—although this was not seen as useful as the one-on-
one interactions with veteran instructors and mentors. By comparison, interns indicated that
traditional university coursework and/or experience (e.g., serving as a teaching assistant or guest
lecturer) was considerably less helpful or not applicable in developing their skills as an instructor (see
Table 2). For example, one intern commented:
My framework for teaching is based on the Delta pillars. Any thoughts I have about how to teach a lesson or
development of curriculum includes this base of knowledge and understanding of teaching from the Delta
program. My internship collaborators and I stepped through the entire cycle of teaching-as-research, from
concept development, to implementation and assessment, to feedback, revision, and even publication.

Interns greatly valued experiences that were different from their own educational backgrounds
such as teaching at a different campus and working with adult and nontraditional students. Interns
also strongly valued the opportunity to exercise skills related to the teaching profession such as
creating, implementing, and assessing new instructional materials. A strong majority of the interns
ranked these aspects of classroom research as being very valuable components of their internship
experience (see Table 3). For example, one intern stated:
The internship exposed me to working with older, nontraditional students, and students who haven’t followed
the straight-from-high-school path. They can be pretty awesome students. It also introduced me to having to
deal with outside factors as a teacher, like low academic self-esteem, students with family and work con-
cerns, etc.

In the survey, interns documented significant changes in their attitudes towards teaching and
their awareness of two-year institutions. For example, after their experience, all of the interns
indicated that they were more likely to pursue a position with teaching as a primary activity (on a
four-point scale, 75% of respondents were “much more likely”; 25% were “somewhat more likely”).
Additionally, the interns all indicated a greater understanding of two-year educational institutions
(on a four-point scale, 38% of respondents indicated “much greater”; 62% indicated “somewhat
greater”), and unanimously stated that their impressions of two-year schools were “much more
positive.” As a result of their internship experience, all of the interns were more likely to consider
pursuing a teaching position at a two-year school (on a four-point scale, 38% of respondents were

Table 3. Response data from the Delta Intern Survey regarding internship program.
Q: How valuable were the following aspects of the Very Moderately Somewhat Not
internship program? valuable valuable valuable applicable
Opportunity to teach on a campus other than my graduate 100% – – –
Opportunity to work with adult and nontraditional students 75% 12% – 12%
Opportunity to create and implement new instructional materials 88% – 12% –
Opportunity to apply classroom assessment to measure teaching 62% 25% 12%
and student learning
Note. Using a 4-point scale that ranged from “very valuable” to “moderately valuable” to “somewhat valuable,” and finally, “not
applicable,” interns were asked to rate how important different aspects of the internship program were to their overall
experience. The percentage of interns selecting each response is indicated. (N = 10).

“much more likely”; 62% were “somewhat more likely”). Addressing the impact of the internship
experience on their teaching practice, one respondent commented:
It now seems like a long time ago when it began…but I continue to use the results and groundwork laid from
this experience in my teaching today—so, in a way, it feels like yesterday. The network of colleagues that I
developed and resources that we share continues to grow and I am very appreciative of my internship
experiences through UW and Madison College for that.

Faculty mentor benefits

A successful internship program is a true partnership that benefits not only the intern, but also the
mentor. As has been pointed out by Cross and Steadman (1996), “A profession, by definition,
requires lifelong learning. If teachers are to remain motivated to learn how to teach, they need to be
actively involved in formulating questions about how to teach and seeking the answers; they need
continual feedback on how they are doing; and they need the support and encouragement of their
colleagues” (p. 19).
Teaching can be an inherently isolated activity for the practitioner because their main daily
interactions are with students, rather than with faculty peers. This is especially notable at small
institutions, where the size of academic departments can be limited. For example, a 2010 study
conducted by the American Chemical Society identified 233 two-year institutions offering under-
graduate chemistry courses that employed a total of 469 permanent/tenure track faculty. This
corresponds to an average size of only 2.1 full time faculty members per department (American
Chemical Society Office of Two-Year Colleges, 2011).
Faculty members in such situations frequently struggle to identify colleagues with whom they can
share teaching successes and failures or brainstorm and develop new ideas and teaching strategies. It
is also common for schools to have one—or perhaps two—full-time faculty members along with a
larger cast of part-time adjunct instructors, the composition of which may have a very high turnover
rate. The internship model presented here offers a platform to foster academic collaboration on small
undergraduate campuses and can help address the need for well-trained adjunct faculty.
The Delta internship model inspires veteran faculty to seek new knowledge, to develop new
instructional materials, and to introduce contemporary topics into traditional curricula. For exam-
ple, one of the interns translated her dissertation research on transesterification reactions into a new
undergraduate lab experiment synthesizing biodiesel fuel (see Figure 2). Another intern created a
unit on nuclear fusion that included a scale model and electronic virtual tour of the reactor used for
his graduate studies. As a result of this internship program, several new laboratory activities were
created covering the topics of nuclear chemistry, fuel cells, environmental chemistry, and alternative
fuels—all of which incorporated quantitative measures of student learning. These lab activities
continue to be used at Madison College by multiple instructors in courses for both STEM students
and nonscience majors.

Benefits to the institutions

The Delta Internship model offers benefits to both the graduate institution that supplies the interns
as well as the college that hosts them. For the graduate institution, the model provides another forum
for graduate student development, and it offers teaching experience for students enrolled in graduate
programs that lack teaching assistantship opportunities. The internship experience also aids in
postgraduate employment and placement of alumni.
The host college benefits from the cultivation of experienced interns, which yields a talented pool
of potential young adjunct instructors, all of whom are strongly committed to the teaching profes-
sion. Of the 10 interns profiled in this report, 9 of them were employed as adjunct faculty at Madison
College in the early stages of their academic careers. In addition, two of our study participants went
on to become full-time faculty at Madison College.

Figure 2. Biodiesel fuel synthesis. Delta intern Stephanie Britton demonstrates the synthesis of biodiesel fuel to a Madison College
audience that included automotive, diesel, and agricultural equipment technician students. (Photo credit: Kenneth A. Walz)

Undergraduate student benefits

Several previous publications reported on undergraduate student learning associated with Delta
internship projects (D’Amato, Lux, Walz, Kerby, & Anderegg, 2006; Hoffman, Britton, Cadwell, &
Walz, 2011; Kerr & Walz, 2007; Walz et al., 2014). Anecdotally, we observed numerous other
benefits to the undergraduates who worked with Delta interns. In particular, the internship experi-
ence provided first- and second-year Madison College undergraduate students with exposure to
graduate students as role models. The following undergraduate student comments are illustrative of
our observations:

I appreciated seeing a woman pursuing a career as an engineering professor. [She] is a good example for future
The biodiesel lab was the best part of the class. I would like to do something in renewable energy for my future
I enjoyed the way the last few week[s] of class were taught with piloting the online assignments. This was
Cutting Edge! (author’s note: this comment was from 2005)
I liked having two instructors together team teaching, these were my favorite lessons.

The Delta internship model also strengthens outreach between the university and the local
community, while promoting the university as a transfer option to two-year undergraduate students.
For example, several of the Delta interns provided informal advice to Madison College students
seeking to transfer to UW-Madison. Their support frequently included assistance with selecting
majors and choosing courses. One of the Delta interns profiled in this study even recruited a
Madison College student to engage in an undergraduate research project during her sophomore
year. In this way, the Delta graduate intern was simultaneously serving as a research mentor for the
younger student. We are pleased to report that the undergraduate student has since transferred to
UW-Madison, received her B.S. in chemistry, and is currently applying to graduate programs with
the hope of becoming a future faculty member herself. Perhaps one day she will be fortunate enough
to engage in a teaching-as-research internship.

Implications for practice

Replicating the Delta Internship Model and community college-R1 university partnership
The National Science Foundation supported a study of future faculty programs that was cosponsored
by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Among the key activities and benefits that they identified were mentoring programs in teaching,
attention to diversity, and activities at partner institutions—including teaching internships—to
provide future faculty with a broad range of experiences and settings to better prepare them for
their careers (Pruitt-Logan, Gaff, & Jentoft, 2002). Likewise, a study sponsored by the AACC noted
that one of the biggest challenges affecting STEM education on two-year campuses is the recruitment
and development of STEM faculty (Barnett & San Felice, 2006). This report went on to recommend
creation of partnerships between two-year schools and research universities, noting that such
relationships would be mutually beneficial because “the community college emphasis on learning
provides university faculty and researchers the opportunity to teach small classes and gives graduate
students the chance to explore college teaching as they complete their advanced coursework”
(Barnett & San Felice, 2006, p. 24). In addition, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science
and Technology (2012) released a report, Engage to excel, proposing strategies for improving STEM
education during the critical period of the first two years of college. This report specifically
recommended the CIRTL model, including the training of graduate students and post-docs in
modern teaching practices so that they bring evidenced-based teaching to the wide array of colleges
and universities where they will teach. Clearly the approach detailed here has many benefits for the
future faculty being trained.
When considering the adaptation of the Delta internship model by other schools, the scale of the
collaboration between a research university and two-year college will depend on the individual
institutions involved. We see the possibilities as a spectrum, where the two extremes can be loosely
bracketed as illustrated in Table 4, where we have identified key components based on information
provided by interns and mentors. Some other important aspects that would apply to colleges and
universities at any scale include faculty mentors who have a flexible syllabus to accommodate intern
innovations and, ideally, a close proximity between campuses to facilitate travel.
The model internship program described in this manuscript is not unique to UW-Madison and
Madison College, nor is it confined to the field of chemistry. Since the start of the relationship
between the two schools, Delta students have also worked with the physics, math, and biotechnology

Table 4. Spectrum of internship program scales ranging from large to small.

Formal institutional scale program Informal (interpersonal) scale program
● Requires institutional commitment on the part of both R1 and two- ● Requires personal relationship between individual
year campuses faculty at R1 and two-year campuses
● Minimum important components include: Intern Coordinator, Intern ● Minimum requirement is a shared commitment to
Seminar, Open House events, Mentor Recruitment, Training and development of future faculty
Support, Data Collection and Assessment ● Must be willing to implement classroom innova-
● Most likely requires funding (either institutional tions and assessment
or extramural) ● Funding likely not necessary
Note. The internship program model is scalable across institution types and structures. The table lists some of the important
structural elements for both formal and informal programming.

departments at Madison College. The Delta Program has also placed interns at a variety of other
regional primarily-undergraduate institutions including Edgewood College, UW-LaCrosse, UW-
Richland Center, and Carroll University. Additionally, a number of CIRTL Network institutions
have teaching-as-research programs for their graduate students, and some have successfully con-
nected with local primarily undergraduate institutions (e.g., Vanderbilt University and Fisk
University). A similar cross-institutional relationship occurs in federally funded Institutional
Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) postdoctoral programs. Therefore,
based on our experiences and those of others, we are confident that the internship model provides a
template that could be easily adapted and adopted by others to encourage future faculty

We have found that the teaching internship partnership established between UW-Madison and
Madison College embodies the ideal of a strong teaching-focused community of practice. We believe
that the teaching-as-research model is a good template for others to pursue. Furthermore the
exposure of STEM graduate students to the classroom environment at two-year college campuses
presents a huge opportunity for both graduate and undergraduate students to learn from the
diversity of backgrounds and experiences represented.
Since completing their internships, all of the participants in this study have been employed in
positions with teaching as a main responsibility. All but one of the intern alumni have been
employed as a faculty member at a primarily undergraduate institution, and all but one of the
alumni indicated that they would “strongly consider” applying classroom research to examine their
own teaching and to evaluate their students’ learning. These same respondents stated that they
would “strongly consider” serving as a faculty mentor for a teaching intern if a structure similar to
the Delta Program existed at or near their campus. The remaining respondent indicated that he/she
would “possibly consider” these activities. Thus, it appears that the internship program provided a
sufficiently powerful experience to influence the aspirations of future faculty members. It is our hope
that these individuals will be successful in replicating the internship structure and experience,
thereby spreading the impact to a larger group and another generation of teachers.

The Delta Internship Program collaboration between UW-Madison and Madison College has
succeeded due to the contributions of a number of dedicated faculty and staff, including: Chris
Pfund, Bob Mathieu, Ed Clarke, Holly Walter Kerby, Karen Anderson, Barb Anderegg, Joy
McMillan, and Joan Boyce. Holly Walter Kerby was also instrumental in the development of the
Delta Intern Survey and creation of this manuscript. Special thanks go to Annelise Ayres for her
editorial assistance with this manuscript. Last, and above all we thank all of the Delta interns who

have participated in the program and whose work contributed to this study. Their efforts and
accomplishments have been a source of inspiration for all involved.

Partial financial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation (DUE Grant
# 0501764, 0903293, 1205015, 0227592, and 0717768).

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