up to $2000 mentoring visit expenses per fellow / $500 mentor stipend
$1000 meeting travel each for fellow and mentor

Apply Online

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis

Mentoring Matters

The Promoting Active Learning & Mentoring (PALM) network was established to spark sustained biology education reform at diverse institutions through one-on-one mentorships for faculty new to approaches based on Vision and Change recommendations. PALM provides faculty and postdoctoral fellows with resources that allow them to gain hands-on experience and mentorship in bringing evidence-based, effective active learning strategies into their own classrooms. The longer term goal is to lead enduring change that will positively influence the teaching culture at each PALM fellow’s institution.

Mentor Michelle Smith comments on the PALM mentoring program
PALM mentor Michelle Smith discusses benefits of the program for PALM Fellows
Active Learning in Introductory Biology


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Sign Up to Be a Mentor

PALM Fellows Will:

  • Identify and secure partnership with experienced mentors who have already reformed their classrooms. A successful application will define how Fellows will visit the mentor’s site to observe and participate in teaching redesigned classes. This will allow Fellows to experience first-hand and begin to put into practice the full scope of pedagogical and cultural shifts needed to achieve effective change.
  • Submit a complete proposal according to the parameters of the evaluation rubric {link}.
  • Schedule dates to visit their mentor’s institution, and complete the identified work within 9 months of receiving the award notification.
  • Develop an active learning based module for one of their classes with guidance from their mentors, and implement it.
  • Submit videos of their teaching before and after their mentoring experiences for analysis (this can be done with a smart phone or tablet).
  • Consider best options and timing for disseminating their materials to others in their institutions and in the greater scientific community, including publication.
  • Report on their activities to colleagues at a gathering of the PALM Network, as well as at a national, regional, or sectional meeting of their respective scientific societies.
  • Participate in surveys over several years so the PALM Network can assess the extent and persistence of change in classroom practice.

Faculty and Postdoctoral Fellow Eligibility

  • Applicants (and mentors) must belong to or join a professional society in a STEM field or in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). However, if you are a community college instructor you may apply without joining a professional society.
  • Applicants must demonstrate an abiding/sustainable interest in undergraduate biology education.
  • Applicants must establish a mentor relationship before formally applying.
    • Mentors must be skilled in active learning strategies and evidence-based teaching that align with Vision and Change See
    • Mentors must belong to (or join) one of the PALM Network organizations.
    • Assistance with mentor matching is available (PALM Steering Committee members can make recommendations based on geography and specific teaching interests).
  • Applicants without immediate access to their own teaching setting may be considered.


PALM will fund up to $2,000 for Fellows to visit, observe, and work with a mentor.

  • Funds will be in the form of reimbursements for submitted receipts for pre-approved expenses, which include site visit travel and teaching materials. Funds may not be used for indirect or overhead costs, salaries or wages, classroom technology or lab equipment or supplies, or alcoholic beverages. Reimbursement (as opposed to lump-sum payment) relieves the recipient of any tax implications.
  • Reimbursable receipts must be submitted within 9 months of receiving the award notification.

Mentors will receive a $500 stipend when the Fellow submits initial travel receipts. This timing reflects a clear milestone in the working relationship. Fellows and mentors will each receive up to $1,000 (reimbursed travel receipts) to present their work and its outcomes at a meeting of a professional society or a national group focused on teaching and learning, such as a Lilly Conference. Reimbursable receipts must be submitted within 30 days of travel.

The PALM Network Will:

  • Establish application review committees with members of Network societies as needed per the application cycle and application pressure.
  • Screen applicants with an evaluation rubric to assess the likelihood of success for the identified work. The rubric assesses: mentor selection; learning outcome goals; plans for implementation, assessment, dissemination; and budget.
  • Assess the effectiveness of each awarded active learning mentorship intervention by using the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) to analyze videos of PALM fellows’ teaching before and after mentorship.
  • Host a yearly gathering of fellows and mentors to provide a supportive community to encourage further development and to solicit suggestions to improve the program.
  • Expand the reach of this program through dissemination activities including societal meetings, media streams, and publication outlets.
  • Seek to expand the network to reach more instructors of underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students.
  • Rely on sustained input from a Steering Committee that includes collaborative education leadership from PALM Network professional societies as well as individuals from a diverse array of undergraduate institutions.

Helpful Resources

Applicants can receive support from Academic Technology Support Services at the University of Minnesota to create videos (a standard class period of 45-75 min; basic A/V or phone). This support would include guidelines for video recording procedures that will allow sampling of classroom behavior suitable for analysis. The PALM network can provide a template for student release forms authorizing photography or recording.

Networking Works

The PALM Network combines the shared educational interests of scientific organizations working for Vision and Change. The following Steering Committee will oversee the program, screen applicants for mentorships, provide mentor orientation and regular follow-up, lead an information sharing meeting of all Fellows and mentors each summer, and advise how to expand the network to reach more instructors of underrepresented students:


Michael Wolyniak, Hampden-Sydney College (Chair)
Jessimina Blum, CourseSource
Amy Chang, American Society for Microbiology
Antonia Franco, SACNAS
Triscia Hendrickson, Morehouse College
Winnie Nham, American Society of Plant Biologists
Marsha Matyas, American Physiological Society
Mark Peifer, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Alexandra Piester, Morehouse College
Amy Prunuske, Medical College of Wisconsin
Sonia Hall, Genetics Society of America
Susan Wick, American Society for Cell Biology, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

We welcome other societies to join the PALM Network. Please email Sue Wick {} if you are interested.

Questions? Please email Sue Wick at
PALM is funded by NSF Research Coordination Network in Undergraduate Biology Education grant #1624200. Project support from Professional Societies Alliance for Life Science Education
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