skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on November 24, 2022

Title: STEM Netweaver Dialogues: Creating, Designing, and Managing Transformative Networks
The Network of STEM Education Centers (NSEC) convened three 90-min network learning dialogues with four leading experts in network facilitation, systems change, and STEM education reform.
Authors:
Award ID(s):
1524832
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10303653
Journal Name:
Network of STEM Education Centers
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract Background Transforming the culture of STEM higher education to be more inclusive and help more students reach STEM careers is challenging. Herein, we describe a new model for STEM higher education transformation, the Sustainable, Transformative Engagement across a Multi-Institution/Multidisciplinary STEM, (STEM) 2 , “STEM-squared”, Network. The Network embraces a pathways model, as opposed to a pipeline model, to STEM career entry. It is founded upon three strong theoretical frameworks: Communities of Transformation, systems design for organizational change, and emergent outcomes for the diffusion of innovations in STEM education. Currently composed of five institutions—three private 4-year universities and two publicmore »community colleges—the Network capitalizes on the close geographic proximity and shared student demographics to effect change across the classroom, disciplinary, institutional, and inter-institutional levels. Results The (STEM) 2 Network has increased the extent to which participants feel empowered to be change agents for STEM higher education reform and has increased collaboration across disciplines and institutions. Participants were motivated to join the Network to improve STEM education, to improve the transfer student experience, to collaborate with colleagues across disciplines and institutions, and because they respected the leadership team. Participants continue to engage in the Network because of the collaborations created, opportunities for professional growth, opportunities to improve STEM education, and a sense that the Network is functioning as intended. Conclusion The goal to increase the number and diversity of people entering STEM careers is predicated on transforming the STEM higher education system to embrace a pathways model to a STEM career. The (STEM) 2 Network is achieving this by empowering faculty to transform the system from the inside. While the systemic transformation of STEM higher education is challenging, the (STEM) 2 Network directly addresses those challenges by bridging disciplinary and institutional silos and leveraging the reward structure of the current system to support faculty as they work to transform this very system.« less
  2. This report details how universities can pair the work of STEM Education Centers and Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTLs) to improve teaching and student success in STEM fields. The Collaborating at the Center report, written by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the POD Network in Higher Education, presents key recommendations on ways these two distinct types of campus-based centers can work more closely to further national STEM education improvement efforts. The report is based on some of the key findings of 46 leaders from SECs and CTLs who gathered at a November 2015 workshop thatmore »APLU, the POD Network, and the Network of STEM Education Centers (NSEC) convened with support from the National Science Foundation. The workshop was designed to introduce these communities to each other, discuss areas of synergy, and explore ways that these communities could most effectively collaborate to improve student success on their campuses and nationally as networks. Some of the key recommendations from the report include: -Approach cross-unit collaborations by inviting everyone to the table, creating relevant leadership groups, and keeping stakeholders informed. -Map the "territory of collaboration": identify common elements of mission, differentiated strategies, shared goals, strengths, stakeholders, expertise, resources, roles for each center, and benefits from participating in shared projects. -Acknowledge stretched staffing and resources by articulating different possible modes of collaborating at various levels of commitment and normalizing different responses as helpful and not damaging to the centers' relationship. -Record progress and make success visible.« less
  3. Barnard, Daron (Ed.)
    National efforts to improve equitable teaching practices in biology education have led to an increase in research on the barriers to student participation and performance, as well as solutions for overcoming these barriers. Fewer studies have examined the extent to which the resulting data trends and effective strategies are generalizable across multiple contexts or are specific to individual classrooms, institutions, or geographic regions. To address gaps in our understanding, as well as to establish baseline information about students across contexts, a working group associated with a research coordination network (Equity and Diversity in Undergraduate STEM, EDU-STEM) convened in Las Vegas,more »Nevada, in November of 2019. We addressed the following objectives: 1) characterize the present state of equity and diversity in undergraduate biology education research; 2) address the value of a network of educators focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics equity; 3) summarize the status of data collection and results; 4) identify and prioritize questions and interventions for future collaboration; and 5) construct a recruitment plan that will further the efforts of the EDU-STEM research coordination network. The report that follows is a summary of the conclusions and future directions from our discussion.« less
  4. Abstract Background The ability to navigate obstacles and embrace iteration following failure is a hallmark of a scientific disposition and is hypothesized to increase students’ persistence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). However, this ability is often not explicitly explored or addressed by STEM instructors. Recent collective interest brought together STEM instructors, psychologists, and education researchers through the National Science Foundation (NSF) research collaborative Factors affecting Learning, Attitudes, and Mindsets in Education network (FLAMEnet) to investigate intrapersonal elements (e.g., individual differences, affect, motivation) that may influence students’ STEM persistence. One such element is fear of failure (FF), a complexmore »interplay of emotion and cognition occurring when a student believes they may not be able to meet the needs of an achievement context. A validated measure for assessing FF, the Performance Failure Appraisal Inventory (PFAI) exists in the psychological literature. However, this measure was validated in community, athletic, and general undergraduate samples, which may not accurately reflect the motivations, experiences, and diversity of undergraduate STEM students. Given the potential role of FF in STEM student persistence and motivation, we felt it important to determine if this measure accurately assessed FF for STEM undergraduates, and if not, how we could improve upon or adapt it for this purpose. Results Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis and cognitive interviews, we re-validated the PFAI with a sample of undergraduates enrolled in STEM courses, primarily introductory biology and chemistry. Results indicate that a modified 15-item four-factor structure is more appropriate for assessing levels of FF in STEM students, particularly among those from groups underrepresented in STEM. Conclusions In addition to presenting an alternate factor structure, our data suggest that using the original form of the PFAI measure may significantly misrepresent levels of FF in the STEM context. This paper details our collaborative validation process and discusses implications of the results for choosing, using, and interpreting psychological assessment tools within STEM undergraduate populations.« less
  5. ABSTRACT The global COVID-19 pandemic left universities with few options but to turn to remote learning. With much effort, STEM courses made this change in modality; however, many laboratory skills, such as measurement and handling equipment, are more difficult to teach in an online learning environment. A cohort of instructors who are part of the NSF RCN-UBE funded Sustainable, Transformative Engagement across a Multi-Institution/Multidisciplinary STEM (STEM 2 ) Network (a working group of faculty from two community colleges and three 4-year universities) analyzed introductory biology and chemistry courses to identify essential laboratory skills that students will need in advanced courses.more »Seven essential laboratory proficiencies were derived from reviewing disciplinary guiding documents such as AAAS’s Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education, the American Society for Microbiology’s Recommended Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Microbiology Education , and the American Chemical Society’s Guidelines for Chemistry : data analysis, scientific writing, proper handling and disposal of laboratory materials, discipline-specific techniques, measurement, lab safety and personal protective equipment, and interpersonal and collaborative skills. Our analysis has determined that some of these skills are difficult to develop in a remote online setting but could be recovered with appropriate interventions. Skill recovery procedures suggested are a skills “boot camp,” department and college coordinated club events, and a triage course. The authors recommend that one of these three recovery mechanisms be offered to bridge this skill gap and better prepare STEM students for upper-level science courses and the real world.« less