Our aim is to build capacity at Texas State University by increasing the use of culturally relevant instructional approaches across STEM departments, and to generate new knowledge of effective change strategies that can inform efforts at Hispanic Serving Institutions and other higher education institutions.
How can I get involved?
There are 4 programmatic components in this project. Each of the components will provide different opportunities for faculty and often students to contribute to the overall goal of improving undergraduate STEM instruction at Texas State.
Faculty across the College of Science and Engineering will be invited to participate in a 5-day teaching workshop at the start of Summer 2020, as well as shorter teaching workshops and other events throughout the project (starting in Spring 2020). For details on future events, click here.
Workshops will …
• Provide faculty with discipline specific resources for evidence-based instruction;
• Introduce faculty to key principles of culturally relevant pedagogy;
• Provide opportunities for faculty to discuss and analyze student experiences in the classroom.
Other project events will also offer opportunities for faculty to learn about new teaching approaches, network with other faculty who have similar goals, and provide input for future project activities.
Faculty will receive stipends for attending the 5-day workshop.
Faculty in the College of Science and Engineering will be invited to engage in department instructional assessments supported by Project Staff, starting in Fall 2020.
Project staff will act as consultants to …
• Identify information about students’ experiences in specific gateway courses that faculty would like them to collect (e.g. surveys, focus groups, interviews, & institutional data);
• Help faculty assess students’ strengths and needs within their department using the information collected.
Faculty will have the option to form a team with peers and students to propose course redesigns that build on what was learned from the self-assessments.
Project staff will iterate with newly forming teams to provide feedback on their plans.
Faculty-student teams will receive multifaceted support to engage in intensive course redesign work over approximately 2 years (2 summers + 3 academic semesters).
Project staff will…
• Lead summer institute where teams can plan and reflect on their course redesigns;
• Facilitate shared weekly preparation meetings for all faculty-student teams;
• Provide stipends for students to participate in course redesign work and facilitate student discussions;
• Teach a pedagogy course for student team members.
Faculty will receive stipends for participating in teams and attending summer institutes.
Faculty leaders will participate in an internal advisory committee to support program activities. Faculty leaders in the committee will…
• Represent their colleagues in the course redesign;
• Receive course buy-outs;
• Participate in bi-weekly meetings with project staff to provide input for ongoing project activities;
• Help to facilitate project events and represent the project at Texas State events.
Towards the end of the project, past faculty leaders will be invited to participate in discussions about next steps for sustaining improvements beyond the duration of the project.
What research is planned for this project?
We will collect and analyze data related to three main research strands. These research strands will help us to understand the development and the effects of this large project, and make appropriate adjustments. It will also allow us to develop and disseminate evidence-based recommendations about the impacts of this change approach to the broader higher education community.
We encourage faculty who are interested in contributing to or learning more about a specific research strand to contact the appropriate research lead. We are particularly interested in collaborating with faculty and students around research strand 2.
Research leads: Eleanor Close and Alice Olmstead
Main research question: How and to what extent do communities of practice centered on culturally relevant instructional approaches emerge through faculty-student teams?
Likely data sources:
- Video-recordings of weekly prep meetings of faculty and Learning Assistants.
- Semi-structured interviews with faculty and student members of course redesign teams.
- Research-validated survey responses of instructional practices and climate for instructional improvement across STEM departments.
Research lead: Cindy Luxford
Main research question: How does participating in redesigned STEM gateway courses impact students outcomes?
Likely data sources:
- Interviews, focus groups and/or surveys of students prior to course redesign.
- Course-level student outcomes in redesigned courses and subsequent upper-division courses.
- Institutional data of STEM students.
Research lead: Li Feng
Main research question: How do Learning Assistant Programs affect STEM workforce outcomes?
Likely data sources:
- College Scorecard data: data on student completion, debt and repayment, earnings from 1996- 2017 for all undergraduate degree-granting institutions of higher education
- The Baccalaureate and Beyond: longitudinal dataset that follows college graduates from their college education into workforce or graduate study
- Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT): longitudinal information on the education and employment of the college-educated U.S science and engineering workforce.
In these datasets, we will focus on longitudinal cohorts of college school students who have taken at least one gateway courses in STEM fields between academic years 2015-2025.
This project received funding in October 2019 and is scheduled to run through May 2025.
College-wide events and workshops (Component 1) will occur throughout the duration of the project. Cohorts of faculty (and eventually students) will typically begin their department instructional assessments (Component 2) in the fall of a particular academic year. Within these cohorts, faculty-student teams will begin their course redesigns (Component 3) in the following summer. After Year 1, faculty leaders will represent their teams in an Advisory Committee (Component 4).