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Our Research-Based Approach

We take a research-based approach to academic support. This means that our programming is guided by principles developed through research in educational settings, and that we investigate questions about undergraduate learning support environments. As part of the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching, over the past decade we have conducted research and evaluation projects in this area, with a particular focus on STEM and on collaborative learning.


Browse the publications below to learn more about our projects.

Micari, M., Van Winkle, Z., & Pazos, P. (2016). Among friends: The role of academic-preparedness diversity in individual performance within a small-group STEM learning environment. International Journal of Science Education, 38(12), 1904–1922.

‌Micari, M. & Pazos, P. (2015). Fitting in and feeling good: The relationships among peer alignment, faculty connectedness, and self-efficacy in undergraduate satisfaction with engineering. European Journal of Engineering Education, 41(4), 380-392.

‌Micari, M., & Pazos, P. (2014). Worrying about what others think: A social comparison–concern intervention in small learning groups. Active Learning in Higher Education, 15(3), 249–262.

Drane, D., Micari, M., & Light, G. (2014). Students as teachers: Effectiveness of a peer-led STEM learning program over 10 years. Educational Research and Evaluation, 20(3), 210-230.

‌Light, G., & Micari, M. (2013). Making scientists: Six principles for effective college teaching. Harvard University Press. 

Micari, M., & Pazos, P. (2012). Connecting to the professor: Impact of the student-faculty relationship in a highly challenging course. College Teaching, 60(2), 41-47.

Micari, M., & Drane, D. (2011). Intimidation in small learning groups: The roles of social-comparison concern, comfort, and individual characteristics in student academic outcomes. Active Learning in Higher Education, 12, 175–187.

‌Streitwieser, B., & Light, G. (2011). When undergraduates teach undergraduates: Conceptions of and approaches to teaching in a peer-led team learning intervention in the STEM disciplines: Results of a two year studyInternational Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 22(3), 346-356. 

Micari, M., Pazos, P., Streitwieser, B., & Light, G. (2010). Small-group learning in undergraduate STEM disciplines: Effect of group type on student achievementEducational Research and Evaluation, 16(3), 269-286. 

‌Pazos, P., Micari, M., & Light, G. (2010). Developing an instrument to characterize peer-led groups in collaborative learning environments: Assessing problem-solving approach and group interaction. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(2), 191-208.

Micari, M., Knife Gould, A., & Lainez, L. (2010). Becoming a leader along the way: Embedding leadership training into a large-scale peer-learning program in the STEM disciplinesJournal of College Student Development, 51(2), 218-230.

Micari, M., & Light, G. (2009). Reliance to Independence: Approaches to learning in peer-led undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workshopsInternational Journal of Science Education, 31(13), 1713–1741.

Micari, M., & Drane, D. (2007). Promoting success: Possible factors behind achievement of underrepresented students in a peer-led small group STEM workshop programJournal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 13(3), 279–293.

‌Micari, M., Pazos, P., & Hartmann, M. (2007). A matter of confidence: Gender differences in attitudes toward engaging in lab and course work in undergraduate engineeringJournal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 13(3), 295–315.

‌Pazos, P., Drane, D., Light, G., & Munkeby, A. (2007). A peer-led team learning program for freshmen engineering students: Impact on retention. Proceedings of the 2007 American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference.

Drane, D., Smith, H.D., Light, G., Pinto, L., & Swarat, S. (2005). The Gateway Science Workshop program: Enhancing student performance and retention in the sciences through peer facilitated discussion. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 4(3), 227–352. 

‌Micari, M., Streitweiser, B., & Light, G. (2005). Undergraduates leading undergraduates: Peer facilitation in a science workshop programInnovative Higher Education, 30(4), 269–288.

‌Munkeby, A., Drane, D., & Light, G. (2005). Supporting innovative freshman study: The engineering workshop program at Northwestern University. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, Portland, Oregon.