2021 Virtual Conference on Transforming STEM Higher Education

Pre-Conference Workshops

Separate registration and fee required (**$75 students; $95 members; $155 non-members); registration is limited, so register early.

**The student rate is reserved for full-time students. You may be asked for confirmation of your student status.

Tuesday, November 2, 11:00 AM– 2:00 PM ET

Bandwidth Recovery: Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Capacity Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Other “Differentisms”
The cognitive capacity—bandwidth—of many college students has been and is currently diminished by the negative effects of poverty, persistent economic insecurity, and discrimination & hostility against non-majority groups (based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity, and other aspects of difference). During the past year-and-a-half, levels of uncertainty related to the pandemic and social unrest impact students’ cognitive capacity even further. In science and engineering, the dynamic of being part of a small minority of students who share an identity is also a complicating factor. Recognizing that these students are no different than their peers in terms of cognitive capacity, we can implement strategies and interventions—in and outside the classroom—that show promise in helping students regain the cognitive resources to be successful in college.

Cia Verschelden, Special Advisor for the Integration of Academic and Student Affairs,Association of American Colleges and Universities

Tuesday, November 2, 3:00 PM - 6:00PM ET

De-Colonizing the STEM Curriculum and Classroom Through Faculty Development
“De-colonizing the curriculum” is a phrase that is difficult for many STEM faculty to grasp. There is an abundance of information available; however, many of the theories and frameworks are foreign to STEM faculty who are not well versed in critical race theory. Our institutional approach is to scaffold the transformation of our curriculum and pedagogical practice. First, we offer an opportunity for “learning and understanding” for STEM faculty through our DEI Professional Development Series. Second, we offer opportunities for faculty to actively engage in critical dialogue in order to identify and frame the “problems” in STEM curriculum and in department/classroom climate and culture. In this second phase of problem identification, faculty can engage in problem identification through DEI Dialogues groups or in faculty learning communities. Finally, faculty will actively modify their course curriculum and/or pedagogical strategies in working groups and will consider how to assess meaningful change.

Heather Tarleton, Associate Dean, Loyola Marymount University

Wednesday, November 3, 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM ET

NSF Hours
Recently, the National Science Board (NSB, 2020) noted that our nation’s S&E enterprise has not kept pace with demographic trends or with the centrality of science and engineering to our economy; and they’ve issued a strong call for “increased inclusion of Black people in S&E at all levels including in opportunities to participate, lead, and thrive. This is particularly timely given the deadly pandemic and deep sociopolitical divides that now make the need for more diverse scientists no longer questionable, but factual. The mechanisms by which the NSF is able to heed this call includes a keen focus on investing in the most innovative approaches to broadening participation in STEM. The AAC&U STEM Conference welcomes current and former colleagues of the National Science Foundation for NSF HOURS—a two-part, pre-conference workshop series that showcases and offers insight into the most recent funding priorities for advancing the reform of US undergraduate STEM education and the most viable and practical ways for accessing them. Workshop leaders will discuss future directions of undergraduate STEM education reform, review funding mechanisms for broadening participation in STEM, and provide technical assistance for proposal development and submission.


Participants will explore the entire funding portfolio of NSF and learn about NSF’s most recent solicitations for proposals aimed at advancing a national agenda for the reform of undergraduate STEM education that prioritizes racial equity.

Carrie Hall, Program Officer, National Science Foundation.

Participants will review NSF’s history of broadening participation investments. Participants will also gain insight in the often misunderstood processes of grant submission and negotiation. Specific proposal case studies will be examined and used as a tool for equipping potential principal investigators with cultural awareness and the relevant grant writing skills that will likely yield better funding outcomes and project efficacy.

Claudia Rankins, Program Officer (retired), National Science Foundation

Wednesday, November 3, 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM ET

Re-imagining Learning and Leadership: A Virtual Approach to Experiential Leadership Development
PKAL has over thirty years of experience transforming STEM education, including success providing effective leadership development through the STEM Leadership Institute (SLI). Nearly 60% of the SLI’s curriculum is grounded in experiential learning using Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle. Led by PKAL SLI leaders and mentors, this interactive session uses Experiential Learning Exercises (ELEs) to engage participants, re-engineering virtual spaces that provide participants experiences in understanding how an ELE can be used in a virtual format to explore various aspects of leadership, team building, and inclusivity. This workshop will enhance your ability to use virtual experiential learning approaches to develop leadership capacity in others, encouraging participation of all in STEM fields.

William B. Davis, Interim Vice Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Achievement, Washington State University; Allison Leone, Director of the Tucker Leadership Lab, William Jewell College; Mary Majerus, Professor and Chair, Department of Mathematics & Physics, Westminster College; Brandon E. Schwab, Associate Provost, for Academic Affairs, Western Carolina University