Creating solutions to support the success of our undergraduate STEM students, particularly those who are academically talented and from low-income households, requires intentional exchange – through dialogue and discourse – between teaching and research communities. Any limit on our capacity to create space for this kind of intellectual activity, where practice and theory are equally matched, leads to significant knowledge gaps and missed opportunities to generate the kind of creative and daring approaches to broadening participation that can be implemented and sustained, with fidelity, across all institution types and teaching styles.
The AAC&U Knowledge Exchange is a multifaceted initiative that aims to narrow this gap by brokering the national convening power of AAC&U and its STEM Central web platform to: 1) provide uniquely-designed professional development opportunities for disciplinary STEM faculty, higher education theorists, and STEM education researchers to bi-directionally translate, transfer, blend, and classify broadening participation theories and practices into a system of successful interventions.
Our goal is to substantially accelerate STEM higher education reform by cultivating among STEM education research and disciplinary faculty: 1) common ways of knowing, understanding, and valuing undergraduate STEM teaching, education research, and evaluation; 2) a shared capacity for and competence in the measurement of quality undergraduate STEM teaching; and 3) a collective intelligence about and appreciation for grounding broadening participation interventions within a social justice framework.
Knowledge Exchange Features
Through its institutes, clinics, and studios, the AAC&U Knowledge Exchange provides a highly integrated hybrid of virtual and face-to-face interactions that can be leveraged to gain national momentum for reform and, ultimately, lead to the development of a national coalition of undergraduate STEM reformers who are committed to fostering interdisciplinary collaborations through a social justice lens that views the systems and structures of privilege within STEM higher education as its principal target for reform, not the marginalized students within them.
Several distinct features of the AAC&U Knowledge Exchange utilize the professional platforms of AAC&U and its Project Kaleidoscope to extend to its participants and thought leaders unique opportunities for professional development.
The AAC&U STEM Central Knowledge Exchange project is generously funded by the National Science Foundation.