Pratibha Varma-Nelson is Professor of Chemistry and the founding executive director of the STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Before she joined SEIRI she was the executive director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. She is well known in the STEM community for her pioneering work in the development, implementation and dissemination of the Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) model of teaching. She has been a Co-PI of three NSF funded National Dissemination Grants. In addition she was a founding Co-PI of the first NSF funded Undergraduate Research Center “Center for Authentic Science Practice in Education, (CASPiE)”. Her research group is currently working on the development, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of cyber-PLTL (cPLTL)
. For the cPLTL project, she has received funding from IUPUI, NSF, and EDUCAUSE, Next Generation Learning Challenges. This work broadly informs the understanding of how students learn chemistry (general and organic) in online environments as well as in face-to-face environments. Dr. Varma-Nelson is co-author of several publications about PLTL, cPLTL, and CASPiE and has made numerous presentations in local, national, and international venues. She co-authored the 2011 AAAS report, “Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action” as well as several other national reports.
Varma-Nelson received James Flack Norris Award (2008), Stanley C. Israel regional award from the American Chemical Society (2011), George C. Pimentel Award (2018) among others. In 2017 she was selected as the ACS Fellow. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her B.Sc. from Pune University, India.
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