Overcoming Barriers to Using Student-centered Instruction: From Research to Practice

Speaker: Dr. Cindy Finelli

There is ample evidence about the positive benefits of active learning and other student-centered instruction on student success, yet lecture continues to be the prevailing pedagogy in most undergraduate engineering classrooms. Dr. Cindy Finelli is engaged in research at the University of Michigan to answer questions such as: What factors motivate and inhibit faculty adoption of student-centered instruction in undergraduate engineering classes? What types of instruction do engineering undergraduates expect, and how do they respond to active learning and other student-centered instruction? How pervasive is student resistance to active learning? What strategies can faculty use to reduce resistance? Dr. Finelli will present research findings to answer some of these questions, and highlight implications for faculty wishing to overcome student resistance to active learning.


Dr. Cindy Finelli
is Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Associate Professor of Education, and Director of Engineering Education Research at University of Michigan. Her research interests include increasing faculty adoption of evidence-based instruction, studying the impact of the classroom space on teaching and learning, and using classroom technology to improve student learning and engagement. She recently led an international initiative to develop a taxonomy for the field of engineering education research. Dr. Finelli is a Fellow of the American Society of Engineering Education, Deputy Editor for the Journal of Engineering Education, Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Education, and past chair of the Educational Research and Methods Division of ASEE. She founded the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering at University of Michigan in 2003 and served as its Director for 12 years. Dr. Finelli earned the B.S.E., M.S.E., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from University of Michigan.