Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) Sessions at the 2014 Annual Meeting

Project Kaleidoscope - Empowering STEM Faculty 
In its recent report, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology noted that one million more STEM graduates are needed in the next ten years to meet the immediate and future STEM workforce demands in the US.

Recommendations—including better teaching methods and broadening the participation of underrepresented groups—prescribe specific strategies for maintaining US global pre-eminence, many of which rely heavily upon the combined scientific acumen, cultural competence, pedagogical prowess, professional development, and overall well-being of STEM faculty.  Yet, few reports or recommendations offer specific details on providing the kind of holistic approach to professional development that support STEM faculty.  In keeping with its mission to empower STEM faculty to graduate more students who are competitively trained and liberally educated in the STEM fields, PKAL focuses on providing a national platform for the discussion of radically different and comprehensive approaches to achieving STEM higher education reform within the context of STEM faculty professional development.

To that end, the Annual Meeting will feature the following two PKAL sessions that will explore a range of issues pertinent to STEM faculty.


FRIDAY, January 24, 8:45-10:00 a.m.

Changing the Culture of STEM Higher Education: Theory and Evidence

The need to provide opportunities for students to participate in research, collaborative assignments, and other innovative engagement practices is increasingly evident and urgent. This is particularly true for students from all underrepresented groups.  Oftentimes, however, the culture of STEM departments is not conducive to implementation of modern pedagogies. The lack of time, access to resources, absence of viable reward structures, and lack of diverse faculty who are able to serve as role models for diverse undergraduate STEM populations all contribute to hindrances in STEM higher education reform. This session will explore the underlying organizational change and social science theories that best explain institutional and/or departmental barriers to implementation of better STEM pedagogies, which disproportionately impact STEM faculty and particularly those from underrepresented groups. Emphasis will be placed on analysis of national data and trends as part of an evidence-based approach to institutional transformation, the inclusion of narratives and other qualitative data in driving institutional change, and the importance of promoting STEM faculty agency in overcoming barriers to both institutional and departmental change.

Moderator:  Gertrude Fraser, Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention, University of Virginia

Panelists:  Claudia Rankins, Senior Program Officer, National Science Foundation;  Cynthia Winston, Associate Professor of Psychology, Howard University;  Kerry Ann O’Meara, Associate Professor of Higher Education, University of Maryland


FRIDAY, January 24, 10:30-11:45 a.m.

Changing the Culture of STEM Higher Education: Practice

Institutions of higher education and US federal agencies have both made considerable efforts to address the systemic institutional barriers that not only undermine STEM faculty workplace satisfaction, but also negatively impact STEM student learning and persistence in STEM majors. Despite such efforts, there still remains a need for providing accurate and precise mechanisms by which all institutions of higher education can achieve optimal conditions for both faculty professional development and implementation of modern STEM pedagogies. This session will focus on providing attendees with explicit strategies for recruiting, retaining, and advancing STEM faculty, particularly those from underrepresented groups. Emphasis will be placed on implementing evidence-based recruitment strategies for diversifying STEM faculty, the utilization of STEM faculty professional network analysis for promoting career advancement, and institutionalization of STEM faculty professional development. Attendees will discuss and be invited to share real life institutional challenges with expert feedback from a panel of institutional change scholars and practitioners.

Moderator: Patrice McDermott, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Panelists:  Nancy Steffen-Fluhr, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Murray Center for Women in Technology, New Jersey Institute of Technology; William Lacourse, Dean , College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, University of Maryland Baltimore County; Loretta Moore, Interim Vice President for Research and Federal Relations and Professor of Computer Science, Jackson State University
ADVANCE Program at NJIT (website)


FRIDAY, January 24, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Project Kaleidoscope and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

Project Kaleidoscope and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education invite friends and colleagues to our jointly hosted reception. We welcome all who are interested in creating more diverse campuses and empowering STEM faculty, including those from underrepresented groups, to advance "what works" in twenty-first-century STEM education.


For more information about PKAL, please visit the PKAL website.