ASCN Blog

2017 SMTI-ASCN Workshop on Diversity and Inclusion


Posted: Mar 20 2017 by
Inese Berzina-Pitcher
Western Michigan University
Inese Berzina-Pitcher

June 24–25, 2017
Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans, Louisiana

Start time: 3:00 pm CT, June 24
End time: 5:30 pm CT, June 25

Register here

This summer, in partnership with the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), we are organizing the 2017 SMTI/ASCN Workshop on Diversity and Inclusion. The APLU Science and Mathematics Teaching Imperative (SMTI) is a community of faculty, department chairs, deans, and provosts who are engaged in improving STEM teaching and teacher preparation. This workshop immediately follows the NSEC 2017 National Conference.

The goal of the 2017 SMTI/ASCN Workshop on Diversity and Inclusion is to advance a dialog on diversity and inclusion in undergraduate STEM education between practitioners transforming institutions and researchers who are studying systemic change at higher education institutions. More

What is systemic change?


Posted: Mar 9 2017 by
Charles Henderson
Western Michigan University
Charles Henderson

"Systems are perfectly designed to achieve the results that they are achieving right now."1 Higher education organizations are complex systems with many interacting subsystems. In order to create sustainable change, it is necessary to understand and align these subsystems. Subsystems include the faculty reward system, the higher education funding system that is based on student enrollment, the organization of universities into academic departments, the tradition of faculty autonomy over instruction, the metrics used to judge student performance (grades vs. learning), etc. Many change initiatives fail because they focus on only one subsystem without considering how this subsystem interacts with other subsystems. For example, in STEM it is common for education reformers to work to convince individual instructors about the benefits of active learning (that is, to change the instructor-student-instructional method subsystem). Research suggests that many instructors are receptive to this message and are interested in using more active learning strategies. More

What does systemic change mean to you?


Posted: Feb 1 2017 by
Mark Connolly
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Mark Connolly

One of ASCN's working groups is focused on theories of change. Its role in the project is to help people engaged in change efforts understand theories and models that could profitably inform systemic change work.

At this stage in our working group's development, co-leader Susan Shadle and I are trying to help our 15 members not only get acquainted with each other but also with each other's ideas about systemic change. In November, we asked the group members to answer in 1 or 2 pages this question: What does systemic change mean to you? Below is my response to that question. It is the first of several responses from members of our working group that will be posted on the ASCN blog.

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All systems organize individual pieces into some sort of interrelated whole. Put simply, systemic change occurs when change reaches all or most parts of a system, thus affecting the general behavior of the entire system. However, systemic change More

Insights into systemic reform from K-12 research on data driven decision-making


Posted: Jan 6 2017 by
Matthew Hora
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Matthew Hora

In the Spring of 2015 I was part of a research team that visited three California universities, as part of a study on the prevalence of data driven decision-making (DDDM) in STEM departments. We spoke with people about student evaluations, exams, hallway conversations, learning analytics, ABET, and increasing pressure from institutional accreditors, finding that these issues were on everybody's minds. This was unsurprising, because it's safe to say that higher education has entered a data-focused accountability and reform phase not unlike the K-12 sector in the 1990s.

But as we gathered accounts of how people used these forms of data "in the wild" of their departments and offices, the study took a surprise turn. We simply couldn't escape an issue that we hadn't anticipated being so central to our research – that of organizational systems and how they function (or not). More

Writing a proposal? Here are some great resources from ASCN!


Posted: Dec 19 2016 by
Stephanie Chasteen
University of Colorado at Boulder
Stephanie Chasteen

For many of us, it's proposal writing season. If you are submitting an NSF-IUSE proposal, there are increasing expectations that the proposal will include a theory of change for how the project aims to achieve its outcomes, and a well-developed evaluation plan for assessing progress toward those outcomes. As an evaluator, I am often asked to help people flesh out these objectives and metrics, and I have found several of the resources on the ASCN site very useful. I was lucky enough to be helping out with the ASCN project when these resources came in, and acted as a temporary librarian to create the list of resources on the site, and so am quite familiar with the breadth of resources. This blog post is to point you toward some of my favorites that have been useful when writing a proposal aimed at institutional change. More

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