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Reforming Undergraduate STEM Education Reforming Undergraduate STEM Education The AAU Initiative Tobin Smith AAU Vice President for Policy NSF S-STEM Projects.

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Presentation on theme: "Reforming Undergraduate STEM Education Reforming Undergraduate STEM Education The AAU Initiative Tobin Smith AAU Vice President for Policy NSF S-STEM Projects."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reforming Undergraduate STEM Education Reforming Undergraduate STEM Education The AAU Initiative Tobin Smith AAU Vice President for Policy NSF S-STEM Projects Meeting Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, Virginia October 16, 2012

2 AAU & its History in STEM Education AAU & its History in STEM Education - Boyer Commission Report, 1998 “Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America’s Research Universities” - Undergraduate Research Pilot Study, Standards for Success, 2003 “Understanding University Success" - Informal Survey of STEM Retention Programs at AAU Universities, AAU Undergraduate STEM Initiative, 2011

3 Recent Reports President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology (PCAST): Engage to Excel Report National Research Council (NRC): Discipline- Based Education Research Report

4 Mission Statement The goal of the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative is to help influence change in the culture of STEM departments at AAU universities so that they will use evidence-based, student- centered, active, sustainable pedagogy in their classes, particularly at the freshman and sophomore levels.

5 Rationale Workforce needs → Competitiveness Desire for a scientifically-literate population New scholarship on what works in the classroom: evidence-based teaching methods Several AAU institutions are already at the forefront of improving STEM undergraduate education

6 Problems STEM completion rates not good Research universities don’t produce as many STEM majors as other colleges and universities Evidence-based teaching methods are not widely adopted. Why? Teaching (and learning) are not effectively evaluated and rewarded

7 Key Components Framework (Goal #1) Demonstration Projects (Goal #2) Incentives (Goals #3 and #4) Promising Practices (Goal #5)

8 Framework [Goal #1] What is the Framework? A menu of evidence-based practices that can be used to improve STEM teaching and to measure these improvements. Core Component  Pedagogy Who will use it? The framework is designed to be used by several different stakeholders including:  Faculty  Administrators  Departments  Institutions How will it be used? The framework is usable along several dimensions:  To improve teaching and learning in the classroom  To coordinate courses within the department  To determine how broadly evidence-based techniques are being used

9 Out with the old…

10 In with the new…

11 Demonstration Projects [Goal #2] A subset of AAU institutions will be identified to serve as demonstration sites that will implement the framework. Activities will include implementing practices to:  Improve the quality of teaching and learning in STEM classes  Determine if and how evidence-based teaching methods are being used  Measure the effects of using improved teaching methods on STEM and Non-STEM majors Vs.

12 Preliminary Demonstration Site Criteria Presidents/Chancellors must make a public commitment to serving as a demonstration site. Institutions must contribute substantial resources to the demonstration project and provide a plan for sustainability. Institutions must include at least 3 departments with some rational connection within their demonstration projects. Respected senior faculty within participating departments must be engaged. Institutions must include assessment within their demonstration projects.

13 Incentives [Goals #3 and#4] F EDERAL I NSTITUTIONAL Work with federal agencies on mechanisms to encourage good teaching Explore institutional and departmental incentives for good teaching Including: ◦ Working with Cottrell Scholars, HHMI professors and others on identifying and disseminating promising practices for evaluating teaching in promotion and tenure PULSE Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education

14 Promising Practices [Goal #5] To develop effective means for sharing information about promising & effective undergraduate STEM programs, approaches, and methods. Key Projects Promising Practices Resource Booklet & Workshop Program Evaluation Techniques

15 Graduate Student Training Recruitment/ Retention of Women and URM Course Content/ Curriculum Areas of STEM Reform Pedagogy Faculty Development Future Faculty Development (graduate student training) Institutional/State/ Federal Policy Course content/curriculum K-12 Teacher Development Workforce Development Recruitment/retention of underrepresented student populations in STEM (including women and minorities)

16 Organizations Addressing These Areas of Need: Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU) ◦K-12 Teacher Development Business Higher-Education Forum (BHEF) ◦Workforce Development Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) ◦Faculty Development and Policy Association of American Universities (AAU) ◦Pedagogy Disciplinary Societies ◦Faculty development and curriculum Many others…

17 Thank you Tobin Smith Vice President for Policy Association of American Universities Phone: Website:


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