Longitudinal Study of Future STEM Scholars

In the News


Mark Connolly, featured panelist in an NSF-sponsored meeting
May 4th, 2016

As a featured panelist for “Future STEM Leaders,” Mark Connolly participated in important dialogue on innovations in STEM training for graduate students as well as policy and best practices related to STEM education. More information on this event can be found here.

Teaching Prep for STEM Ph.Ds. Improves Teaching Methods, May Increase Prospects for Faculty Hire
May 23rd, 2016

The LSFSS, a seven-year long study funded by the National Science Foundation, found that doctoral students who partake in teaching-development programs are more likely to utilize effective instructional methods in their classrooms. These programs help doctoral students to gain the confidence and skills they need to better facilitate undergraduate STEM courses.

WCER’s Connolly to join National Academies committee on STEM education
February 19th, 2016
School of Education News

Mark Connolly is serving on a National Academies of Sciences committee where he will join 13 other experts in education to develop a framework for evaluating the state of postsecondary STEM education on a national level. The results of this two-and-a-half-year study will ultimately help to assess the state of STEM education as well as track changes over time. More information on this project can be found here.


Which Groups Are Favored?
April 20, 2015
Inside Higher Ed

A recent study by Mark Connolly, You-Geon Lee, and Julia Savoy of the Wisconsin Center of Education Research suggests that hiring for faculty positions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields is becoming more diverse. However, barriers still remain for women with young children and minorities, especially when obtaining tenure.

Tenure, Not Hiring, Is Chief Bottleneck to STEM Faculty Diversification
April 17, 2015 
Chronicle of Higher Education

Though hiring for tenure-track jobs increasingly supports diversity, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research have found persisting barriers to obtaining tenure for women and non-Asian minorities.

Education Experts Point to Inadequacies in STEM Teaching
April 13, 2015
The Badger Harold

Retaining students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields depends on the quality of teaching; this is something that is often neglected at large research institutions, notes WCER scientist Mark Connolly. He suggests that graduate students in STEM fields should be supported and taught teaching strategies in order to increase undergraduate student retention rates.

Doctoral Student Teaching Development Programs Make a Difference
April 6, 2015
School of Education News

Most doctoral students are socialized by faculty and peers to value research more than teaching. Yet improving undergraduate education depends on leading these future researchers to value and use methods of high-quality undergraduate teaching and learning. Teaching development (TD) programs are an effective way to build early-career academics’ confidence in their college teaching skills, found WCER researchers Mark Connolly and You-Geon Lee.


WCER’s 50th Anniversary: A Celebration for Staff, Researchers, Colleagues, Students and Family
November 24, 2014

The Wisconsin Center for Education Research celebrated fifty years of innovative research on education on October 20, 2014. The event brought together researchers, alumni, and the public to celebrate and to attend sessions from distinguished speakers. PI Mark Connolly spoke about the LSFSS and its findings in a session devoted to understanding WCER’s leadership role in impacting higher education through scholarship and advocacy.


A Mismatch in Goals
July 19, 2012
Inside Higher Ed

Doctoral programs in STEM fields need to better prepare their students for a wide variety of careers. As interest in research-centered careers decreases, more students are considering teaching at a college level. A disconnect remains, however, between jobs they want, jobs they are trained in, and whether or not they are able to get those jobs. Results from the LSFSS’ surveys and interviews suggest that with better support from their departments and advisors, doctoral students could have an easier time accessing a wider variety of career pathways.

Interest in Research Wanes among UW-Madison Ph.Ds
May 26, 2012
Wisconsin State Journal

Though a Ph.D. is required to teach at the college level, the degree itself often has little to do with teaching. Learning teaching techniques is becoming more of priority as doctoral students lose interest in becoming research-intensive faculty and seek skills to help promote their future careers. WCER scientist Mark Connolly shares results from the LSFSS and discusses the implications of these findings for STEM graduate education.


Psst: Don't Tell Anyone, but Some Professors Like Teaching
November 21, 2011
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Graduate students in science fields who enjoy teaching often have to hide their enjoyment due to the distaste some scientists have for teaching. This repression leads to frustration and anxiety by cutting off what could motivate and inspire graduate students as well as support undergraduate retention. WCER scientist Mark Connolly shares results from the LSFSS and discusses the implications for STEM doctoral students who are trying to forge careers after completing their degrees.

Want to Be a Good Researcher? Try Teaching
August 18, 2011
The Chronicle of Higher Education

The belief that teaching reduces research quality in the sciences or that teaching is a signal of failure as a researcher is misleading. LSFSS PI Mark Connolly provided comments on recent research that suggests teaching should be a complimentary skill to research because it helps develop the researchers’ ability to come up with new questions.  

Time to Teach. Is There Room for Teaching and Research in a Postdoc Experience?
August 2011
HHMI Bulletin

Mixing teaching and research in science and math fields is not very common in the postdoc experience. Results from the LSFSS show that one third of postdocs have no experience teaching. However, the number of postdocs who want teacher training is increasing as students attempt to strike a balance between research and teaching.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Social Media in Education 
October 2011

Social media has both the ability to enhance students’ connection to each other and the material, as well as to distract and detract from higher-order reasoning. WCER’s Mark Connolly suggests that the best way to deal with social media is to be deliberate and to guide and support positive social media interactions.



Mobilizing STEM Education for a Sustainable Future