Keck/PKAL Guide to Systemic Institutional Change in STEM Education

Funded by the W.M. Keck Foundation

This initiative aimed to develop a comprehensive, institutional model to help campus leaders plan and implement evidence-based reforms geared toward improving student learning and success in STEM into scalable and sustainable actions. The project was funded by the W.M. Keck Foundation and engaged eleven colleges and universities in California to test evidence-based strategies that will lead to program, departmental, and eventually, institutional transformation. The project leveraged PKAL’s twenty years of STEM education research and reform experience in creating more effective curricular, teaching, and program strategies. Participating campuses embarked on their own campus projects and through their work contributed to the development of the framework.

The model describes a process that begins with the establishment of a vision and goals for the change project. A key component of developing a vision is performing a landscape analysis to gather data and collect information about the current state STEM learning and student success. This analysis leads to the identification of specific campus challenges defined by the data and couched in the context, mission, and priorities of the campus. Opportunities will also be illuminated through this analysis. Emerging from this analysis, outcomes of the change project can be defined and specific strategies that lead to these outcomes can be developed. Through pilot testing and analysis, campus teams then implement and evaluate specific strategies that will address the challenges and improve STEM student learning and success. The model is described in a forthcoming guidebook publication and associated resources (see below). 

The guidebook includes the following components:

  • A process for engaging campus leaders and teams in planning, designing and implementing reforms that includes key questions, timeline considerations and challenge alerts for teams to consider at each phase of the process.
  • Resources to help teams determine how to get started, conduct data analyses, avoid common pitfalls, build effective teams, address leadership, and sustain change.
  • Example interventions and highlights from campus case studies.
  • A readiness audit will guide discussions about needed preparation to mount sustainable reform efforts.
  • A rubric for analyzing campus progress.
  • References to resources for planning assessment strategies and program interventions to address campus challenges.
  • Case studies from campuses that illustrate how to use the Framework tools.

Project Resources:

Participating Institutions

Project Contacts

Susan Elrod (
Adrianna Kezar (