Engaged STEM Learning: From Promising to Pervasive Practices
Network for Academic Renewal Conference
March 24-26, 2011
Call for Proposals
Deadline for Proposals: Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Late proposals will not be accepted. Please contact Siah Annand at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Writing a Strong Proposal
Become a LEAP Featured Session
How to Submit a Proposal
Dates to Remember
Transformation of the national STEM learning landscape will require deliberate attention from all sectors of the academy, from community colleges to research universities, as well as the collective effort of all stakeholders, from students and faculty to academic and industry leaders. For the past 20 years, PKAL has worked with STEM faculty and academic leaders across the country to create models and practices that foster engaged STEM learning. Yet these advances are still not widely implemented in undergraduate STEM classrooms around the country. Compounding this issue is the very real concern about student interest, participation, and achievement in STEM disciplines, especially for underrepresented students.
The 2011 conference, Engaged STEM Learning: From Promising to Pervasive Practices will focus on faculty and institutional leadership to adapt, scale up, and sustain effective practices in STEM teaching and learning. The conference is designed for participants who wish to develop institutional capacity for systematic STEM educational reform, broaden student participation and success in STEM fields, and better assess STEM learning in both general education and STEM majors.
We invite proposals focused on five key themes:
- Expanding the STEM Pipeline through Student Success
- Creating Integrative and Interdisciplinary STEM Environments
- Assessing STEM Learning
- Enhancing STEM Learning through Technology
- Scaling Up and Sustaining Pedagogies of Engagement
Across these themes, proposals are particularly encouraged that focus on faculty development; co-curricular and other strategic partnerships for engaged STEM learning and student success; community college models, including effective STEM transfer pathways; institutional change and leadership; and ways to finance effective STEM reform efforts.
The conference themes grow out of the significant work of PKAL members as well as conversation with STEM faculty and colleagues from AAC&U member campuses. This is an important opportunity to gather, share, and disseminate promising practices in engaged STEM learning and to facilitate widespread adaptation, scale up, and continuation in diverse institutional settings.
The questions that follow each theme are suggestive and are not meant to cover the full range of topics that can be proposed under each theme.
Track 1: Expanding the STEM Pipeline through Student Success
This theme invites proposals that demonstrate how campuses have increased student interest, participation, and achievement in STEM fields, especially among underrepresented students. Proposals that focus on mathematics preparation and proficiency, research on student achievement related to interest and persistence in STEM majors, and connections with K-12 and teacher education are particularly welcome.
- What are colleges and universities, at the departmental and institutional level, doing to increase student interest, participation, and achievement in STEM fields, especially among underrepresented students? What models have been widely applied? What gains have been made as a result?
- What kinds of partnerships are helpful in reaching these goals, including with K-12 and teacher education programs?
- What are the major barriers facing students in STEM preparation and proficiency? How are campuses systemically addressing these barriers, especially with regard to mathematics preparation?
- What institutional or educational elements appear to be critical in attracting historically underrepresented students to STEM fields and in helping them to thrive? How can we help spur broader application of promising practices?
- How are pre-requisite and introductory courses being transformed from “gatekeeping” courses into “gateway” courses for more students, especially in math? What practices encourage students in developmental mathematics to pursue STEM fields? How can general education STEM courses facilitate entrance into STEM majors?
Track 2: Creating Integrative and Interdisciplinary Environments in STEM
This theme invites proposals that highlight interdisciplinary approaches to STEM learning—across multiple STEM disciplines and across STEM and social sciences, humanities, arts, business, and education—as well as integrative approaches that ask students to connect their learning from different courses and to apply their learning to new problems and in new settings.
- What are examples of courses or programs that bring together STEM disciplines and disciplines beyond STEM (humanities, social sciences, arts, business, education, etc.)? How are faculty coming together and organizing these courses/programs?
- How are interdisciplinary courses and programs incorporating opportunities for students to apply their knowledge in new settings and to new situations?
- How are campuses connecting work in the Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative and reform in STEM disciplines? For example, what role do high-impact practices (e.g., problem-based learning, case-based learning, learning communities, first-year and capstone courses, undergraduate research) play in creating integrative STEM learning environments? Are particular practices more successful in fostering STEM learning goals in general education? In STEM majors?
- How are cross-cutting learning outcomes (e.g., critical thinking, communication, ethics, social responsibility, global understanding) advanced in interdisciplinary and integrative foundational and upper-level STEM courses?
- What is required of institutional leadership to facilitate the further development, scaling up, and sustaining of interdisciplinary STEM learning environments? How can faculty be supported and rewarded? How can others adapt effective models at their own institutions?
Track 3: Assessing STEM Learning
This theme invites proposals on assessment models that provide practical information to faculty about student learning and success in STEM and that enable campuses to pinpoint areas in need of improvement.
- What are promising practices for assessing STEM skills and understanding in the majors? In general education? What models have been widely applied?
- How can faculty utilize or adapt existing institutional assessment instruments (e.g., NSSE, FSSE, CSSE) for STEM program improvement?
- How can rubrics, e-portfolios, and other tools be utilized to meaningfully assess STEM outcomes in general education, STEM majors, or other programs involving STEM disciplines, within single courses as well as across students’ educational experiences? What about concept inventories or other diagnostic instruments geared toward assessing prior knowledge and learning gains?
- How can the research on how people learn be applied to the development, adaptation, and use of assessment strategies in STEM?
- How can the effective use of assessment practices be made more pervasive and sustained? What are the barriers to assessing STEM learning, and how are these being addressed?
Track 4: Enhancing Student Learning with Technology
This theme invites proposals that demonstrate ways in which STEM faculty and others have used technology, from wikis, blogs, and online simulations to clickers and hybrid learning environments, to foster more engaged and effective STEM learning.
- What kinds of technology are currently being used to facilitate engaging, learner-centered teaching in STEM? How are faculty incorporating twitter, wikis, podcasts, e-books, blogs, social networking, gaming, videos, internet2, simulations, Second Life, or other interactive programs? How effective are these tools at promoting student interest and achievement in STEM, in general education, and in STEM majors?
- How are personal response systems (“clickers”) or other devices best utilized to promote and measure students’ understanding of STEM concepts?
- What are promising practices for teaching STEM concepts and problem-solving skills using online and/or hybrid formats? What is required for their wide-spread adaptation?
- How are STEM majors, minors, or other types of programs being created using online learning environments? How are these learning environments being developed, assessed, and evaluated?
- How are online or electronic problem-solving programs being utilized to enhance student learning?
Track 5: Scaling Up and Sustaining Pedagogies of Engagement
This theme invites proposals that address how effective, interactive, and engaging pedagogies can be scaled up within and across institutions and sustained over time within departments, institutions, and entire university systems.
- What success stories can be told for scaling up and sustaining pedagogies of engagement? What are the issues, barriers, and challenges? How can they be overcome?
- What is required for institutional leadership to effectively scale up and sustain pedagogies of engagement? What new models have arisen? How can others apply lessons learned from those who have been pioneers in engaged STEM education?
- What changes are required in faculty development, promotion, and tenure systems to facilitate wide-scale adoption of engaging pedagogies across departments and institutions?
- What methods have institutions and individual departments used to finance the scale up and continuation of effective pedagogies of engagement? How have faculty and academic leaders leveraged external grants and other resources? How have they grown programs without external funding or continued programs beyond grant support?
Writing a Strong Proposal
Your proposal should consist of a session title, a brief abstract, and a longer session description accompanied by presenter names, titles, and institutional/organizational affiliations. The proposal should be clear and concise and your session title should accurately reflect the session content.
Experts in the field and AAC&U staff will review all proposals. Reviewers will look favorably upon proposals that:
- highlight practical models and/or innovative strategies that reflect one of the conference themes;
- reflect sound theory or research;
- include findings from evaluation and assessment;
- describe the active learning goals for the session (including what attendees will gain from going to the session); and
- reflect a diversity of institutions, disciplines, programmatic areas, and individuals; student participation and perspectives are encouraged where relevant.
- State if the session is better suited to individuals at a particular type of institution (e.g., community college, research university), those serving different student populations, or those at different levels of expertise (i.e., novice, intermediate, advanced);
- Include facilitators who bring diverse perspectives and life experiences to the topic or issue your proposal addresses. AAC&U is committed to presenting conferences where sessions and the communities of participants reflect the diversity of our campuses.
- Show how your session will be interactive. AAC&U Network conferences strive to engage participants in reflection, discussion and application activities during sessions. Please do not plan to read a paper.
- Provide a clear sense of how your session will unfold and be prepared to discuss lessons learned and how you addressed challenges along the way. “Show and tell” submissions that have little or no applicability to other institutions will not be considered.
- Present work that has proven effective and is well beyond the planning stages.
Below is a sample session title and abstract that clearly states the issue to be explored, provides supporting evidence, and discusses what participants should expect from their attendance. Your longer session description should provide greater detail about these aspects of the session.
Searching for Faculty of Color and Sustaining their Presence on Campus
Recent studies have shown that institutional context affects not only searches for faculty of color but also the socialization processes through which these faculty members negotiate their own cultural backgrounds alongside newly forged identities within the academy. In this session, the facilitators will: (a) highlight emerging practices at institutions that successfully recruit and sustain faculty of color; (b) recommend strategies for institutions to increase the presence of faculty of color; and (c) share a set of socialization experiences of linguistic-minority women faculty. Participants will explore implications for creating a “multi-contextual” campus culture that validates the importance of different ways of thinking and learning, and they will share their own institutional experiences and promising strategies related to the recruitment and success of faculty of color.
There are four session formats from which to choose: (1) Hands-On Workshop, (2) Promising Practices/Research/Evaluation, (3) Poster Demonstration, and (4) Facilitated Discussion.
Please select the format from the list below that will most effectively advance participants’ understanding and potential use of your work.
Format 1: Hands-On Workshop (90 min.; 2-3 facilitators; room set in round tables)
Workshops provide an opportunity for the facilitators to significantly engage participants in active learning about the session topic. Workshop facilitators should:
- briefly frame the topic and provide an overview of goals and intended activities;
- introduce one or more models or strategies employed in facilitators own work;
- provide data/findings related to the topic, benchmarks for success, common challenges, and practical examples that enhance participants’ learning; and
- discuss how they will guide participants through exercises or activities (including in small groups) that will help them to advance their own efforts once back on campus.
Format 2: Promising Practices/Research/Evaluation (75 min.; 2-3 facilitators; room set in round tables)
Promising practices should describe the goals, outcomes, challenges, and concrete examples and strategies for effecting change. Research evaluation proposals should introduce a research study, evaluation process, or assessment tool related to some facet of educational change and examine implementation strategies. Session facilitators should:
- briefly describe the promising practice, study, tool or other innovation;
- describe how facilitators will engage participants in working through practical implications and applications of the practice, study, process or tool to participant’s own work or cross campus integration; and
- allow time for participant questions and comments.
Format 3: Poster Session (60 min.; 1-2 facilitators; 6’x3’ skirted table; 3’X4’ poster boards, electrical outlet and other supports provided as available and upon request)
Poster sessions allow presenters to combine visual displays of key information with written materials and small group interaction to create a more individualized learning experience. The poster session provides an opportunity for presenters to share their work with the full conference audience, and they are a valuable way to initiate conversations with colleagues with similar interests. These sessions can include 3’x 4’ boards to display text, diagrams, pictures, and/or graphs that depict program components, findings, samples of student work, and participant testimony. You may also wish to present information through technological means or other types of visual displays that can be set-up on the 6’x3’ table provided. Poster Session proposals should:
- state the problem or issue that your poster will address;
- indicate how your program, study, or course has effectively addressed the issue;
- describe the visual text, data, display, etc. that you will provide;
- indicate how the data or information will be useful to a particular or multiple sectors of higher education; and
- include links to relevant Web sites or attachments for materials, if available.
Format 4: Facilitated Discussion (60 min.; 1-2 facilitators; room set in round tables; no audio-visual)
Facilitated discussions provide time for colleagues to share expertise and experiences on a topic of similar interest. They provide a valuable opportunity to network and reflect upon complex ideas, challenges, and possible solutions in a collaborative and supportive setting. Facilitated Discussion proposals should:
- describe the topic for discussion and why it is important;
- discuss program/course goals, benchmarks of success, challenges, and findings, where applicable;
- indicate the facilitators’ experience with the issue; and
- indicate the outcomes participants should expect from the discussion and examples of how you will prompt and sustain conversation to achieve those outcomes.
Become a LEAP Featured Session
LEAP Featured Sessions are intended to highlight the innovative work of colleges and universities that are members of AAC&U’s LEAP Campus Action Network (CAN). The Featured Sessions make explicit links between campus-based educational reform and the essential learning outcomes, principles of excellence, and high-impact practices described in AAC&U’s initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise.
The LEAP CAN brings together colleges, universities, and organizations committed to liberal education; helping them to improve their efforts to ensure that all students achieve essential outcomes; and highlighting their effective practices.
Membership in CAN is simple and free for any AAC&U member (see below).
Any type of session—hands-on workshop, promising practice/research/evaluation, poster, or facilitated discussion—can be designated as a LEAP Featured Session in the conference program. Please review the criteria listed below and review the session example. You will be able to check this option in the online proposal submission form.
- Session presenters must be from CAN member institutions. (To find out if your campus is a member, or to join CAN, click here. Membership in CAN is simple and free for AAC&U members.)
- Session abstracts should refer to LEAP and directly address: (1) one or more of the LEAP essential learning outcomes and (2) one or more of the LEAP principles of excellence or high-impact practices identified as mechanisms for achieving the essential learning outcomes.
- Session proposals should explicitly state how the facilitators will weave LEAP elements directly into a session’s framing, discussion, or activities.
- Preference will be given to sessions that address how the campus practice/strategy engages a significant number of students or can be scaled to engage a significant number of students, particularly those students historically underserved by higher education.
LEAP Featured Session Example:
Giving Students a Compass: Making Liberal Education Explicit to First-Year Students
Institutions need to be much more intentional and explicit about the kinds of learning they seek to develop in their students. This session will describe a new initiative to orient all students in first-year seminars to Anywhere University’s campus-wide learning goals, which were developed using the LEAP essential learning framework. Students in the seminars now discuss and debate the University’s outcomes and are introduced to our e-portfolio system, which is keyed to these outcomes. In the session, the facilitator will first describe the alignment between our University’s outcomes and the LEAP essential outcomes, and then take participants through several of the activities used with first-year students to explore these outcomes. Participants will also review examples of student essays on the meaning of liberal education, which is the first “artifact” deposited into the e-portfolios, and consider how they might implement this kind of orientation at their own institutions.
Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) is AAC&U’s primary vehicle for advancing and communicating about the importance of undergraduate liberal education for all students. LEAP seeks to engage the public with core questions about what really matters in college, to give students a compass to guide their learning, and to make a set of essential learning outcomes the preferred framework for educational excellence, assessment of learning, and new alignments between school and college. For more information, click here.
Submitting a Proposal
The deadline for proposal submission is August 31, 2010. Please direct any questions to email@example.com.
Upon submission of your proposal, you should receive an automatic message indicating that we have received your proposal. If you do not receive this message, please e-mail Siah Annand at Annand@aacu.org to confirm that we have received your proposal.
You will receive notification about the status of your proposal by early October, 2010.
All session facilitators at the conference are responsible for the appropriate conference registration fees, travel, and hotel expenses. Please be sure all individuals in your proposal have this information and can be available to present at any time throughout the event. Presentation times range from Thursday, March 24, 2011 beginning at 8:30 p.m. through Saturday, March 26 at 12:00 noon.
Resources for Attendees of Your Session
Conference participants appreciate receiving materials that help them implement and/or share new ideas when they return to campus. In an effort to conserve natural resources, and increase the potential for active participation in sessions, we strongly encourage facilitators to provide links to online resources in their proposal (or when they become available before the conference). We will include these links in the preliminary program when it is posted online. After the conference, all presenters will be asked to provide additional electronic resources that will be posted on the conference Web site.
- Please complete all fields in the submission form including title and contact information for all additional facilitators.
- Include links to supplemental materials, if available.
- Please remember that by submitting a proposal, you agree to:
- Register and pay conference fees if the proposal is accepted; and
- Inform your co-facilitators about the proposal’s status and the need for all facilitators to pay the conference registration fees and be available throughout the event to present your work as scheduled.
Dates to Remember
- August 31, 2010 — Proposals due to AAC&U
- Early October — Proposal acceptance notification