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California State University, Long Beach
College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Overview & FAQs

Welcome to the CNSM Teaching & Learning site! A key factor in student success is student interest and motivation to succeed, and we know that excellent teaching encourages these traits. We are glad that you have stopped by here to learn how faculty members in CSULB's College of Natural Science and Mathematics reach out to maximize student learning in our classrooms, laboratories, and in the field.

Why teach professors how to teach?

CNSM professors are experts in their respective disciplines in science/mathematics research. To become a college professor in science or math, our professors had to graduate in good standing with their bachelor's degree, then get admitted to and succeed in a rigorous 4-7 year graduate school training program to earn their doctorate, or Ph.D. After that, the majority of our full time faculty members have completed 1-5 years of a postdoctoral fellowship to develop additional expertise. Between 30-150 applicants apply for each full time position in our college, with only one faculty member being hired. Needless to say, our faculty know their stuff! That said, the science of pedagogy, or teaching, has been evolving almost as rapidly as our respective science disciplines. Because our professors are actual scientists/mathematicians, they need to be kept up to date with the newest and most effective ways of teaching in addition to staying up to date in their research areas. CNSM invests in the CNSM Faculty Learning Communities to keep faculty members at the forefront of effective, student-centered pedagogy. In addition, you will see on this site that we encourage CNSM faculty members to try new and innovative teaching methods in their classrooms, and then analyze and report on the results. This sharing of ideas has led to increased learning and student success across our college.

Why don't the changes faculty members make increase scores by huge amounts?
Why don't the new teaching methods result in all students earning "A's" in every class?

Regardless of how they are taught, science and math are still subjects that require time and effort to learn and understand. We happen to believe that the time and effort to understand these complex and beautiful topics is well worth it, but each student is an individual. Many factors are at play when a student enters college: time available for study, motivation and dedication, baseline knowledge, number of hours of outside work, and of course, personal circumstances. CNSM'S goal is to encourage the learning and success of all of our students as they progress through their education to graduation and enter the community as productive citizens.

Why does a student need to take a science and math course if he/she is not a science and math major?

Taking science and mathematics courses develops critical thinking and problem solving skills that students can then apply to all areas of living. These are skills they will benefit from long after graduation. Gaining a better understanding of how our natural world works, and how scientific process occurs is a key part of being an informed citizen.