What is the "job description" for a STEM teaching lab in the undergraduate setting? How does learning happen in a 21st century STEM teaching lab?

From the LSC Guide:

College of the Holy Cross Teaching Labs

  • Exchanging learning, mentoring, and discovering between teachers and students

  • Engaging in intense, team-based research that yields presentable, publishable results

Dickinson College

  • Providing opportunities for hands-on exposure to faculty in their research, creating new knowledge and new frontiers of intellectual inquiry

  • Assigning projects to groups of students, not individuals, to foster a spirit of collaboration and teamwork in problem-solving

Grinnell College

  • Encountering science as scientists encounter science—as  a process of investigation and learning—as opposed to a static body of knowledge

University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • Participating in exciting and high-level laboratory experiments that link different disciplines

  • Engaging in laboratory experiments that exploit top-notch instrumentation

How has this "job description" evolved over the past two decades as research on learning and evidence from the field has validated the impact of research-like experiences in the undergraduate STEM learning environment?

How are undergraduate STEM teaching labs continuing to evolve?  How is the community responding to opportunities and challenges in ways that serve the future, such as:

  • Doing more with less, reimagining and repurposing current spaces 

  • Capitalizing on the power and potential of new technologies to enhance the learning experience 

  • Accommodating the morphing of disciplinary boundaries 

  • Making the doing of science visible to all students, motivating them to become socialized into the community of STEM learners and practitioners.

Upcoming Events


May 1, 2014
3:30 - 5:00 p.m. EDT

Exploring teaching labs: 21st century STEM teaching labs are evidence of how research on learning is transforming undergraduate learning environments—that learning is becoming more collaborative and more authentic—preparing learners for the world of STEM practitioners beyond the campus.

Facilitated by members of the LSC Guide working group and others from the LSC community. 


  • Amelia J. Ahern-Rindell, Associate Professor, Department of Biology - University of Portland and President-Elect - Council on Undergraduate Research

  • Elizabeth L. Ambos, Executive Officer - Council on Undergraduate Research

  • Michel George, Associate Vice President for Facilities - Lewis & Clark College

  • Richard M. Heinz, Principal and Vice President - RFD

  • Mike Jackson, Chair of the Department of Physics - Central Washington University

  • Michael Reagan, Vice President, Science+Technology Market Sector Lead - Stantec

  • Julio C. Rivera, Provost & Professor of Geography - Carthage College



The 7th Annual Canadian Learning Commons Conference
June 9-11, 2014
Hosted by Bishop's University at the Delta Hotel Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec


June 13, 2014
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA

This workshop offers a discussion of current and future trends in learning spaces for higher education—not only from the design point of view, but also assessment, budget, utilization, IT and instructional design at the institution. 


LSC Guide Session : Planning for Assessing 21st Century Spaces for 21st Century Learners

SCUP’s 49th Annual, International Conference “Plan for Transformation” 

July 12–16, 2014

Pittsburgh, PA