The Center for Education Innovation & Learning in the Sciences (CEILS) serves as a clearinghouse for the education tools and assessment resources instructors need to engage in effective, validated teaching practices that promote student learning, create inclusive and culturally-responsive classrooms, and retain students in Life and Physical Sciences majors. CEILS fosters the professional development and training of faculty who wish to incorporate evidence-based teaching approaches into their courses. Working with partners in the Center for Educational Assessment in UCLA’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT), CEILS also assists with the design and conduct of assessments needed to develop successful grant proposals that will fund curricular innovations. In addition, the faculty learning communities and change agents associated with CEILS contribute to the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) by publishing and disseminating results from discipline-based education research (DBER) projects about student learning related to pedagogical shifts. As a campus venue that supports instructional innovation in the life and physical sciences, efforts inspired by faculty or initiated by departments and interdisciplinary programs, CEILS plays a prominent role in transforming institutional attitudes about the merits of scholarly scientific teaching.
CEILS was created as a supportive home for tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty and instructors involved in undergraduate education. Later participation was expanded to include graduate students and postdocs with an interest in academic careers. Educators who engage with CEILS are dedicated to achieving teaching excellence and eager to integrate innovative and inclusive pedagogical and assessment approaches into their courses. Transforming the manner in which the undergraduate curriculum for Life and Physical Science majors is taught at UCLA should produce a more diverse and competent body of undergraduate scholars prepared to meet the intellectual demands of a scientifically literate and technologically competent 21st century workforce. Likewise, instructors should benefit from the resources and services provided by CEILS, gaining perspective, skills, and satisfaction from teaching experiences that more effectively explore the current breath of scientific knowledge and constructively employ the tools of scientific inquiry. Departments and interdisciplinary programs also benefit from interactions with CEILS by having instructors that are well prepared to create student learning outcomes for their courses with aligned educational activities and assessments. This has a positive impact on teaching effectiveness when used to inform and enhance the educational experience, and also generates standards by which departments and interdisciplinary programs can measure student success.