Published In

CBE—Life Sciences Education

Document Type


Publication Date



College teaching -- Methodology, Effective teaching, Doctoral students -- Research


Graduate students hold a critical role in responding to national calls for increased adoption of evidence-based teaching (EBT) in undergraduate classrooms, as they not only serve as teaching assistants, but also represent the pool from which future faculty will emerge. Through interviews with 32 biology graduate students from 25 institutions nationwide, we sought to understand the progress these graduate students are making in adopting EBT through qualitative exploration of their perceptions of and experiences with both EBT and instructional professional development. Initial inductive content analysis of interview transcripts guided the holistic placement of participants within stages of Rogers’s diffusions of innovations model, which we use as a theoretical framework to describe the progress of EBT adoption. We found that most graduate students in our sample are aware of and value EBT, but only 37.5% have implemented EBT. Many who were progressing toward EBT adoption had sought out supplementary instructional experiences beyond the requirements of their programs, and 72% perceived an institutional lack of support for teaching-related professional development opportunities. These data indicate that, while many graduate students are already engaged with the movement to adopt EBT, graduate training programs should emphasize increasing access to quality training in EBT strategies.


© 2018 E. C. Goodwin et al. CBE—Life Sciences Education © 2018 The American Society for Cell Biology. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). It is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License ( by-nc-sa/3.0).



Persistent Identifier