October 25 was declared Active Learning Day by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. On Active Learning Day, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and its Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) – along with over four hundred STEM faculty and administrators from institutions of higher education and STEM professional societies – pledged to support the kinds of active teaching and learning strategies in STEM classrooms that are culturally responsive to today’s undergraduate population. Throughout Active Learning Day, STEM faculty and administrators spent at least ten minutes implementing active teaching and learning strategies, identifying innovative ways to deepen and extend institutional commitments to active teaching and learning, sharing best practices with colleagues, and producing videos of active teaching strategies in practice.
“These pledges extend beyond mere symbolism of a shared interest in active learning in STEM, and reveal a deeper commitment to the systematic and systemic reform changes in undergraduate STEM education that must take place if we are ever to overcome institutional barriers, expand beyond localized classroom successes, and achieve universal understanding and adoption of active teaching strategies across all of US STEM higher education,” says Kelly Mack, vice president for undergraduate STEM education at AAC&U. Over the next few weeks, AAC&U will use its STEM Central web platform as a vehicle for launching an online video library of Active Learning Day activities that occurred. This library will provide STEM faculty with necessary resources for more effectively implementing active teaching and learning methods with fidelity.