Chi elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences


Jennifer Priest Mitchell

Michelene "Micki" Chi, Dorothy Bray Endowed Professor in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, has been inducted into an organization whose members include Benjamin Franklin, Jonas Salk and Georgia O’Keefe. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, formed in 1780, inducts innovative thinkers and leaders from a wide spectrum of fields each year.

“I was completely surprised and incredibly humbled by this honor,” said Chi. “I had no idea I was nominated.”

The academy’s mission is to “cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity and happiness of a free, independent and virtuous people.” As one of the country's oldest independent policy research centers, the AAAS convenes leaders from academic, business and government sectors to respond to challenges facing the nation and the world.

Mari Koerner, dean of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, praised Chi as an innovative academic leader.

“In a college where teaching and learning are of paramount importance, Dr. Chi’s work is especially significant and valued,” Koerner said. “Her research focus on active learning as a model fits so well with the philosophy of what good educators have discussed for years. Her hard work and intelligence has constantly led the way for the learning sciences.”

As a cognitive and learning science researcher, Chi investigates how students learn and develops interventions that can overcome learning challenges. She uses empirical methods to gather evidence-based findings about new ways to teach complex science concepts. She also studies why some students have difficulty understanding their teachers’ instruction.

Among Chi’s most significant contributions is the development of the theoretical learning framework ICAP — Interactive, Constructive, Active, Passive. ICAP provides operational definitions for ways that students can engage with instruction and instructional materials. These definitions can be translated to specific actions for teachers.

Chi is currently exploring how to leverage the effectiveness of one-on-one tutoring by capturing tutorial dialogue on video for possible instructional use to benefit those for whom individualized tutoring is not possible. This work shows the potential of scaling up the advantage of one-to-one tutoring, which is a highly successful but expensive and time-consuming teaching method.

Chi is one of only 12 ASU faculty members inducted into the AAAS since 1974. In October the 2016 inductees will attend a formal ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts recognizing new members.