University of Pittsburgh Week of SEISMIC

By Nita Tarchinski, edited by Ashley Atkinson

Talk, Eat, Talk, Repeat!

University of Pittsburgh Week of SEISMIC, January 16-19, 2023





Our ninth Week of SEISMIC kicked off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day last month with a virtual presentation by Kevin Binning and Erica McGreevy on “Creating Community in Large-Lecture College STEM Courses: An Ecological-Belonging Intervention.” The rest of the week followed parallel formats of a plenary talk or two, a series of lightning talks, then lunch and table discussions with the presenters of the day.

Tuesday’s plenary was by Chris Schunn and Jenny Ganger on “A New Model for Evaluation of Teaching at Pitt.” The new model includes, (1) an Annual Evaluation involving reflection and self-reporting, (2) Observation of Teaching, and (3) Addressing Promotion and Tenure / Reappointment Teaching Portfolios. Our speakers shared a useful webpage with resources they found helpful for improving their teaching (Teaching in Psych).

Lightning talk topics included the Pitt ECoach pilot, student perspectives on the barriers to office hours, TA training for introductory physics labs, and more. A hearty Chipotle lunch kept us fueled for the table discussions. Later that day we gathered again for a happy hour on the 7th floor of Alumni Hall, which included an incredible art installation showing perspectives of the city, all with the Cathedral of Learning somewhere in the view.

On Wednesday, Nita Tarchinski gave her usual talk on “Opportunities to Engage with the SEISMIC Collaboration,” with additional information on our two new SEISMIC grants and how the Pittsburgh SEISMIC community can get involved. Tim Nokes-Malach presented on “Developing and Testing a Mindfulness Intervention for Introductory Physics Courses.” Some of the themes that came up for student psychological threat included social comparison, exam worries, and lack of understanding. Lightning Talk presenters shared insights on co-teaching in Economics, inclusive teaching in large enrollment courses, ungrading in STEM courses, and plenty more. Delicious wraps, pita bread, and baklava from Forbes Gyro kept us energized for the small group discussions. Some members from the local SEISMIC team gathered for dinner that night at Butterjoint for absolutely delicious appetizers, desserts, and everything in between.

The final day began with Sean Garret-Roe’s plenary presentation on “Toward the vision of student-centered teaching and assessment in General Chemistry.” Sean emphasized the importance of developing assessments aligned with learning objectives and shared an interesting approach for creating assessment questions for general chemistry. We wrapped up our Week of SEISMIC with amazing bowls from Roots Natural Kitchen and one last session of table discussions.

Thank you to all of our presenters who contributed during this week: Kevin Binning, Erica McGreevy, Chris Schunn, Jenny Ganger, Jeremy Levy, Dan Wetzel, Russel Clark, Lingfeng (Kitty) Liu, Kirill Kiselyov, Eugene Wagner, Nita Tarchinski, Tim Nokes-Malach, Kevin Shaver, John Radzilowicz, Lizette Muñoz Rojas, Sean Garrett-Roe, Ben Rottman, Zuzana Swigonova, and David Sanchez!

Next up: Davis, CA for our 10th Week of SEISMIC!



Nita Tarchinski

Nita Tarchinski is the Project Manager for the Sloan Equity and Inclusion in STEM Introductory Courses (SEISMIC) Collaboration, coordinating multi-institutional and multidisciplinary research and teaching projects focused on making introductory STEM courses more equitable and inclusive.

Ashley Atkinson

Ashley Atkinson is a Program Assistant for SEISMIC Central, lending a hand to whichever projects need support. Her primary projects include the SEISMIC website, making graphics for various efforts, and editing a podcast. As an alum from Michigan State University, Ashley is passionate about equity and inclusion in STEM alongside science communication.