Professional Development Program

Teaching science as inquiry, engineering as design

The ISEE Professional Development Program (PDP) is a flexible, multi-year program for scientists and engineers at the early stages of their careers, with a primary focus on graduate students.

Participants receive training through two intensives, work on a team to collaboratively design an inquiry activity, and then put their new teaching skills into practice in “teaching labs” — ISEE-affiliated educational programs or courses.

The PDP has been running since 2001, and has now had nearly 400 participants, many of whom have returned to the program for more than one year. A volume published on the PDP includes 45 papers written by participants, instructors, and others in the PDP community. Alumni of the program are now in academic and non-academic STEM positions throughout the U.S. and internationally. Alumni report that they gain:

  • Teaching and learning experience that is transformative
  • Enhanced teaching qualifications that land jobs, awards, and promotions
  • Improved professional skills (leadership, project management, communication)
  • An advantage in fellowship and grant applications
  • Unique experience in how to teach through inquiry
  • A practical understanding of research on how people learn
  • Strong foundation that supports many teaching and mentoring strategies
  • A community that is dynamic, enduring, and rare

The PDP has a rigorous approach that is designed to fit with participants’ demanding research schedules, and enable participation over many years.

More information on the history, outcomes and details of the PDP 

Map of where PDP participants are now