REALISE: REALising Inclusive Science Excellence in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics at Radford University

We are driven to build a community of empowered faculty and student learners that is student-ready, welcoming and inclusive.

We aspire to deeply engage our students in their learning through problem-based and project-based pedagogies--through Making.

We seek to expand and cultivate a culture of excellence where all students believe they can succeed. 

REALISE aims to change faculty and student mindset through developing and implementing engaging and inclusive pedagogies.

There are four main features of the REALISE project:

  • Peer Role Modeling Program- Students are invited to participate in academic and social events hosted by trained peer role models. The peer role model program develops a network and sense of community among our students
  • Project-based learning (PBL)- PBL is a student-centered, hands-on approach to teaching that helps students gain ownership and acquire deeper knowledge of their field through active exploration of real-world challenges and problems. REALISE aligns with Radford’s existing Maker culture.
  • Faculty Development- Faculty have opportunities to participate in professional development opportunities to explore and implement best-practices for inclusive pedagogy and project-based learning.
  • Postdoctoral Fellows- Recent STEM Ph.D. graduates are hired to teach Biology, Chemistry, and Physics courses at Radford and participate in the REALISE professional development activities. As the postdoctoral fellows enter the classroom, Radford’s permanent faculty will be granted time to participate in the REALISE faculty development opportunities and redesign their courses to include project-based learning and inclusive pedagogies. The postdoctoral fellows will receive hands-on teaching experience, mentoring and faculty development in PBL and inclusive excellence that will prepare them for the next phase of their professional careers.

REALISE is a five-year program supported by a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) - the largest private, nonprofit supporter of science education in the United States.


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The REALISE program held a day long event in Fall 2017 to introduce the concepts and goals for the project.

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REALISE Introduces Peer Role Model Program

Think of a time when you faced a challenge at Radford University, whether it was trying to decide which classes to take, trying to balance your class work with life outside of class, or simply troubleshooting a technique for research? Who did you go to for help? Did you wish there were experienced peers who could help you navigate your challenge? As a student who overcame challenges, you probably have a few helpful hints to share with your fellow students. If you are looking for an opportunity to share what you learned so that others may learn from you, consider becoming a Peer Role Model.