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Gantner Joins National Effort to Promote Inquiry-based Learning

April 6, 2017

Dr. Ryan Gantner, associate professor of mathematics at St. John Fisher College, will represent the College and the Greater Upstate New York Inquiry Based Learning Consortium at the 2017 Summer Inquiry Based Learning workshop this July.

Ryan Gantner

After using inquiry-based learning (IBL) techniques in several of his courses at the College, Gantner co-founded the New York consortium in 2014 with four professors from other institutions. The teaching pedagogy of IBL places the role of the student as central to the lesson, as opposed to the role of the instructor.

“Students are asked to develop theories, test hypotheses, work problems, present materials to their peers for critique, and/or synthesize any of the above while the instructor is there to facilitate the students in doing so,” Gantner explained. “This stands in contrast to a class where an instructor is lecturing—where the instructor is providing the students with the content rather than the other way around.”

Gantner and his colleagues secured a grant-funded budget exceeding $100,000 to promote inquiry-based learning among college professors in the region. And, through the consortium, he was able to connect with IBL advocates at the Academy of Inquiry Based Learning (AIBL) at California Polytechnic State University. AIBL recently received a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, allowing them to provide comprehensive professional development workshops for math instructors. The workshops, which are part of AIBL’s Professional Development and Uptake through Collaborative Teams (PRODUCT) project, aims to increase the use of IBL and active learning in classrooms across the country. As a member of the New York team, Gantner will help design the curriculum of the workshops and work with math instructors to incorporate these teaching strategies in their own classrooms.