Joshua Caulkins

Assistant Director, Undergraduate Programs
University Staff
TEMPE Campus


Joshua Caulkins is the Assistant Director for Undergraduate Programs within the School of Life Sciences (SOLS) where he serves as the Director of the BioSpine Initiative, a project focused on course and curriculum alignment, the promotion of evidence-based and inclusive teaching practices, and the adoption of adaptive learning software to improve effective instruction and student learning. Joshua is an educational developer with over a decade of experience working on STEM-focused course and curriculum (re)design, program assessment and evaluation, online learning, and collaborating with colleagues and peers to ensure equity and inclusion in higher education.

The BioSpine Initiative has a primary goal of improving teaching practices within the department so that student learning can be effectively promoted and measured over time. This includes both online and on-ground courses and degree programs, and incorporates the adoption and development of adaptive learning software into courses within SOLS. The BioSpine Initiative supports teams of faculty by introducing them to backwards design, an iterative process that focuses on (1) the creation of learning outcomes, (2) the alignment of assessments to measure those outcomes, and (3) the design and implementation of learning activities that will give students adequate deliberate practice to perform well on those assessments. The BioSpine Initiative has engaged approximately 50% of the faculty within SOLS over the past 24 months and aims to increase this number in the future.

Before coming to ASU, Joshua was the Assistant Director for Faculty Development in the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston (URI), where he directed all efforts towards instructional reform within STEM departments and programs. Prior to his time at URI, Joshua spent three years working with the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, primarily working on course enhancements with small teams of faculty and on the implementation of evidence-based teaching practices.

Joshua regularly presents at national conferences and runs workshops on topics related to educational development, inclusive teaching, metacognition, course and curriculum design, and STEM education reform in higher education.


Fall 2020
Course Number Course Title
BIO 530 Scientific Teaching
Fall 2019
Course Number Course Title
BIO 530 Scientific Teaching