Projects & Initiatives

This page features current Sheridan Center projects and initiatives.  Learn about past projects and initiatives.

Grant Boosts Undergraduate STEM Teaching

The Sheridan Center is co-leading a new $1.5 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to implement innovative, evidence-based tranformations in introductory science classes to enhance stem education at Brown. 


The Association of American Universities has announced that Brown has been selected as one of eight universities to institutionalize evidence-based teaching in STEM fields.  The Sheridan Center will play a key role in this $500,000 project, which addresses mathematical competency among STEM concentrators to prepare students to succeed in interdisciplinary and research-based science courses.  The Center will support the implementation of effective teaching practices amongst several STEM departments across Brown and train graduate students.  Those departments include Chemistry, Physics, Applied Mathematics, Neuroscience and Engineering.  

Massive Open Online Courses

The Sheridan Center has been leading the development of massive open online courses (MOOCs) at Brown, in collaboration with the Library, the Instructional Technology Group, and Continuing Education. To date, three courses have been created and offered, for free, via Coursera:

  • "The Fiction of Relationship" (Prof. Arnold Weinstein, Comparative Literature)
  • "Coding the Matrix: Linear Algebra through Computer Science Applications" (Prof. Philip Klein, Computer Science)
  • "Archaeology's Dirty Little Secrets" (Prof. Susan Alcock, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World).

These three Coursera courses have introduced global audiences to the excellent teaching of Brown faculty and to the unique pedagogical approaches taken by many Brown courses. In the process, they have drawn participants of all ages and backgrounds into lively conversations with Brown faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. The Sheridan Center's involvement with these courses is creating new opportunities to transform on-campus learning experiences through the integration of digital and online components into courses at Brown.

Departmental Peer Observations of Teaching

 In 2013, the Sheridan Center developed Peer Teaching Observation Workshops for department chairs and faculty.  This formative process centers on the Center’s approach to peer observation, with an emphasis on the use of collegial peer observation to encourage reflective teaching practices.  The workshop models the three components of a teaching observation: establishing a productive dialogue prior to the observation; a comprehensive approach to observation; and a collegial post-observation discussion.  The training engages departmental colleagues in a dialogue around teaching and provides faculty with effective language for formative feedback.