Workshop Information & Materials for Participants available!

Sabancı University has adopted the global effort to rethink the role of the faculty and the students in undergraduate education and prioritize “Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” (SoTL) that values evidence-based student learning. As a part of this effort, Science of Nature (NS 101/102) Courses have been offered during the last 6 years in a theme-based modular format, emphasizing an interdisciplinary and student-centered course structure based on active learning. The courses cover basic concepts of physics, chemistry, and biology through the interdisciplinary modules. As a part of the first-year core curriculum at Sabancı University, the NS courses are compulsory for all incoming freshman students regardless of their prospective majors. To date, we have worked with more than 5000 students in this student-centered version of the NS courses.

Such a student-centered approach is unique especially for large freshman STEM courses in Turkish universities, and over the last 6 years we have accumulated a variety of experiences and data with our freshman students, which we believe are worth sharing. We have also developed and established professional development programs for instructors and assistants of the NS courses to inform them on the pedagogy behind the course and to help them gain the necessary skills to become effective facilitators in the student-centered learning environment.

The Workshop on Innovative Approaches in College STEM Education is aimed at sharing this professional development opportunity for college-level-STEM educators, who are interested in SoTL and in applying innovative approaches to their courses. The program consists of two phases: First, the 3-day workshop provides background pedagogical information through activities on student-centered strategies. It is then followed by an application phase, during which participants are expected to apply some of the learned approach with their own students. We will have an online feedback meeting in summer 2020 to conclude the program. We plan to compile and anonymously share the participants’ experiences and resources they find in the process on this website, which we hope will benefit the larger educator community within Turkey and beyond.

About the Workshop

The goals of this workshop are to:

  • share our experiences with the student-centered pedagogy used in the NS courses,
  • discuss the current advances in SoTL,
  • provide the participants an opportunity to develop skills to become effective facilitators in active-learning classrooms, and
  • actively engage the participants in the refinement and assessment of their own courses.

The Workshop Inclues Two Phases:

  1. 3-Day Workshop  (January 14-16): Composed of a series of 1-1.5 hour group sessions and some individual work. Constant guidance and feedback will be provided. The topics includes:
    • Student-centered course design
    • Active learning
    • Collaborative learning
    • Formative/summative assessment
    • Classroom assessment techniques
    • Collaborative learning techniques
    • Flipped classroom
    • Planning for possible application in your course

    See tentative workshop program. 

  2. Application & Feedback Meeting  (June - July 2020):
  3. Trial implementation (at any scale possible) of the plan that each participant prepare at the workshop. The participants are encouraged to share a summary of the experiences of their implementations. An online feedback meeting will be organized for each (group of) participants in early summer 2020 to discuss how they implemented the innovative approaches in their classroom and the strengths and weaknesses of their implementation.
  • Workshop venue: Sabancı University, Tuzla Campus (Orta Mahalle, 34956 Tuzla, İstanbul). Click here  to see the map.
  • Capacity: 25 participants
  • No participation fee is required
  • The workshop will be conducted in English

Visit the previous workshop websites:

Workshop Moderators

Yuki Kaneko

Research Interests: High-energy astrophysics, Science education.


Ph.D in Physics, University of Alabama in Huntsville
M.S in Physics, University of Alabama in Huntsville
B.S in Physics and Astronomy, Youngstown State University

Teaching Experience

1995-2006 Volunteer teachers/tutors at various K-12/college programs in the US
2000-2001 Teaching Assistant, University of Alabama in Huntsville
2006-2009 IB Physics Instructor, TEV İnanç Türkeş Özel Lisesi
2009-current Instructor/Coordinator, Sabancı University

Teaching Philosophy

I believe that knowledge is something that is built within each learner in a way that is unique and specific to each learner. Learners must integrate new pieces of information into their own context in order to build the knowledge. A teacher’s time is best spent coaching that learning process with the students, rather than just providing information.

Aslıhan Muazzez Ünsal

Research Interests: Spectral analysis of Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) prompt emission, Science education in college.


Ph.D in Physics, Sabanci University
M.A in Astronomy, Boston University
B.S in Physics, Bilkent University

Teaching Experience

Lead Discussion and Laboratory sessions of Freshman Astronomy courses in Boston University
Work as a Teaching Assistant and Master Teaching Assistant in Science of Nature courses (NS101/NS102) in Sabanci University

Teaching Philosophy

Being a good teacher is not all about knowing and explaining everything, rather it is to make your students be aware of their own learning. This requires being able to see students’ needs individually and provide appropriate learning environment, resources, and activities to them.

Süphan Bakkal

Research Interests:  Natural antimicrobials, antimicrobial resistance, and Science Education.


Ph.D in Molecular and Biology Graduate Program, University of Massachusetts Amherst
M.S in Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Bioengineering
B.S in Molecular Biology and Genetics, Boğaziçi University

Teaching Experience

2009-2010 Instructor: BIO H100-Life Sciences and Global Issues at UMass
2010-2011 Instructor: BIO 105H-Biology of Social Issues at UMass
2017-2018 Instructor: Proj 201- Undergraduate Project Course
2011-Present Instructor/Coordinator of NS Courses, Sabancı University

Teaching Philosophy

My experience in research and science education taught me that learning is a unique experience for everyone and learners may have different challenges according to their skills and learning styles. Learners’ active participation is the key component in the learning process. My role as a teacher is to create a learning environment that encourages learners’ motivation and participation as well as to provide guidance to the learners to strengthen their learning skills for becoming independent learners.

What are provided during the 4-day workshop?

Who should apply?

Someone who is:

How can you apply?

Please fill out and submit the online application form from this application link.

Since the space is limited, all applications will be reviewed and the participants will be selected based on the application materials. The application must be submitted by Monday, December 23. Early submission is strongly encouraged as the selection process will start immediately.


Please contact Yuki Kaneko (yuki@sabanciuniv.edu)  if you have any questions about the workshop.

Workshop Tentative Plan

Click here to download the poster.