Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

CWSEI Dept. Director: Stuart Sutherland, Sara Harris (emeritus)
STLFs: Alison Jolley
Emeritus STLFs: Tara Holland, Sarah Bean Sherman, Francis Jones, Brett Gilley, Erin Lane, Joshua Caulkins, Ben Kennedy
Faculty who have worked with STLFs on specific courses: S. Allen, R. Beckie, M. Bevier, M. Bostock, G. Dipple, E. Eberhardt, R. Francois, B. Gilley, E. Haber, S. Harris, F. Herrmann, K. Hickey, S. Hollingshead, T. Ivanochko, M. Jellinek, C. Johnson, F. Jones, L. Kennedy, M. Kopylova, M. Maldonado, U. Mayer, S. McDougall, J. Mortensen, D. Oldenburg, K. Orians, E. Pakhomov, R. Pawlowicz, V. Radic, K. Russell, C. Schoof, J. Scoates, M. Smit, P. Smith, D. Steyn, R. Stull, S. Sutherland, P. Tortell, M. Ver, S. Waterman, D. Weis
Additional Faculty/Instructors impacted by CWSEI: M. Allen, D. Athaide, P. Austin, A. Bain, E. Barns, T. Bissig, A. Caruthers, K. Chan, K. Grimm, L. Groat, P. Hammer, E. Hearn, O. Hungr, D. Jessop, M. Lipsen, L. Longridge, M. McKinnon, J. Monteux, L. Porritt, C. Suttle, .B. VanStraaten, D. Winget, H. Zerriffi, D. Turner, T. Dzikowski
Students contributing to SEI project components: L. Bailey, L. Beranek, J-F. Blanchette-Guertin, G. Baldeon, A. Caruthers, D. Cassis, R. Cockett, J. Dohaney, R. Eso, G. Epstein, L. Greenlaw, M. Golding, L. Gurney, M. Halverson, L. Harrison, S. Henderson, T. Hirsche, K. Hodge, E. Holmes, A. Jolley, K. Ko, P. Lelievre, C. Leslie, C. Livingstone, K. Lucas, J. Mcalister, C. Miller, P. Olmstead, K. Rasmussen, J. Rhajiak, E. Schaeffer, J. Schiller, E. Scribner, I. Shinnick-Gordon, B. Smithyman, K. Smet, L. Stock, R. Taylor, D. Tomkins, D. Tommasi, C. Wong


Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences received full funding from CWSEI in 2007 and began the efforts listed below in Summer 2007. The overarching goal of the Department’s science education initiative (EOAS-SEI) is to promote cultural change in our approach to teaching and learning and establish sustainable processes to continue and improve the work accomplished during the CWSEI project.

The EOAS-SEI program completed the first phase of CWSEI in 2014 with more than 40 courses either fully transformed or impacted by CWSEI. These courses are now using principles of research-based effective pedagogy in their design and implementation. Many instructors of these courses continue to iterate on improvements either on their own or with consulting help from STLFs. About 80% of EOAS faculty and over half of our sessional instructors have received direct support to adjust their courses and teaching from the SEI so far.

The second phase of the project – the Harris Project – is an extension of CWSEI that runs from 2014 to 2017. In addition to continuing course transformations and faculty support, this phase includes deliberate effort toward effective transfer of pedagogies to new instructors, experimenting with a paired-teaching model. This project is funded by John and Deb Harris, the UBC Faculty of Science, and the Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences department.

PDF Paper (Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 2016): Impact Assessment of a Department-wide Science Education Initiative using Students’ Perceptions of Teaching and Learning Experiences

PDF Poster (Improving University Teaching, 2014): Comparing Student, Instructor and Observer Data to Assess a 7-Year Department-wide Education Initiative

PDF Poster (CWSEI EOY 2013): Six Years of SEI in Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

PDF Poster (Geological Society of America 2013 Annual Meeting): Changing the Teaching Culture in a Large Research Oriented Department

PDF Poster (April 2012): Five Years of SEI in Earth and Ocean Sciences

PDF Poster (April 2009): EOS-SEI Long-Term Plan, Metadata and Faculty Survey - Sara Harris

The Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative in Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences touches all aspects of undergraduate teaching and learning in this department.  Our undergraduates include those headed for careers in science and many for whom our department is their only encounter with science during their university years.  We aim to provide the best opportunities for both these groups to practice scientific thinking and to incorporate scientific skills into their lives, regardless of their career path. We have been developing and using instruments to assess student achievement of learning goals and also their attitudes about science. Our graduate students are involved as an integral part of the undergraduate teaching and learning effort and we have developed a new TA training program to better meet the needs of grad students, undergraduates, and faculty.


  • Promote student achievement of the following learning outcomes.
    • Develop skills for making reasoned judgments based on scientific evidence and organized knowledge.
    • Enhance the ability to transfer knowledge, skills and concepts to new situations or contexts, for professional, academic, or general societal purposes.
    • Develop the ability to assess and remedy one's own understanding.
    • Achieve an appropriate balance between breadth and depth of knowledge, in order to recognize and express linkages among systems and concepts.
    • Explore the interacting frameworks of economic development and environmental stewardship in the richly multi-disciplinary context of earth, ocean, and atmospheric sciences

  • Expand and coordinate our efforts in the following areas as a department:
    • Increase teaching effectiveness and efficiency in our undergraduate courses and programs.
    • Raise university-wide levels of scientific literacy and global awareness.
    • Emphasize contemporary thought and new directions in science and science education.
    • Enable, facilitate, and support faculty and TAs to follow best practices for achieving departmental teaching and learning goals while retaining ownership of their courses.

A copy of our submitted proposal is available here: EOAS proposal .