ASCN Blog

Building on the BOSE Report of Indicators for STEM Education


Posted: Mar 23 2018 by
David Bressoud
Macalester College
David Bressoud, Macalester College
Institutional Change: Guiding Theories, Change Leaders
Target Audience: Non-tenure Track Faculty, Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty, Institution Administration, College/University Staff
Program Components: Professional Development:Diversity/Inclusion, Supporting Students:Academic Support, Professional Preparation

As everyone probably knows by now, the National Academies have released their Indicators for Monitoring Undergraduate STEM Education.

There clearly is much overlap with the charge to the Working Group on Demonstrating Change. We would appreciate informal discussion around two questions:
  1. Is there anything left for us to do?
  2. Assuming the answer to #1 is "yes," how can we shape our work so as to build on this report? More

Implementing Integrated Comprehensive Student Programs in STEM: Challenges and Facilitators from the CSU STEM Collaboratives


Posted: Mar 21 2018 by
Elizabeth Holcombe
University of Southern California
Elizabeth Holcombe, University of Southern California
Institutional Change: Guiding Theories, Equity and Inclusion
Target Audience: Institution Administration, Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty, Non-tenure Track Faculty, College/University Staff
Program Components: Supporting Students:Mentoring Program, Academic Support, Institutional Systems:Strategic Planning

In my last post, I described the benefits of integrated support programs for underrepresented students in STEM. These integrated programs bridge organizational silos and build a unified community of support, in which faculty and staff work together to break down barriers to student success. The campuses that participated in the CSU STEM Collaboratives project saw increased student success and other organizational benefits as a result of creating integrated programs.

While integration across functional areas represents a promising strategy for supporting student success, it represents a new way of working in higher education. Implementing integrated programs presents some unique challenges that may not be evident when implementing other types of interventions. In this post, I will briefly discuss a few of these challenges, as well as some strategies that STEM Collaboratives campuses used to overcome them. More

Turning on the Thrive Channel to Accelerate Change in Higher Education


Posted: Mar 7 2018 by
Lorne Whitehead
University of British Columbia
Susan Elrod
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Susan Elrod and Lorne Whitehead
Institutional Change: Guiding Theories, Change Leaders
Target Audience: Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty, Institution Administration, Non-tenure Track Faculty, College/University Staff
Program Components: Institutional Systems:Strategic Planning
Conversations about "institutional change" in higher education have become pervasive. This is probably because colleges and universities are under tremendous pressure - to graduate more students, to improve success of underrepresented minority students, to reduce costs, and to expand the benefits they provide to our society. Many state systems are engaged in developing performance-based funding metrics that are intended to promote achievement of specified goals. Others are engaged in major reorganizations that are merging or possibly eliminating campuses in service of larger goals that are important to the state, such as enhanced transfer, graduation or fiscal efficiency. This seems scary, but at the heart of all of this is a sound idea - since our society has a long history of improvement and undoubtedly there are still more improvements to make. And to do that, organizations must be adaptable; they must make changes for the better. Why then, is this so concerning for so many?

A key challenge is that achieving change in any organization is hard. It is complicated. It involves many levels of the organization. It is motivated by a variety of purposes. It is challenged by competing agendas. It is frequently stalled by a variety of obstacles.

Further, positive change requires a vision, strategy, and tactics. But most importantly, it requires effective change leadership. What does that actually entail? More

Integrating across Academic and Student Affairs to Support Underrepresented Students in STEM: Lessons from the CSU STEM Collaboratives


Posted: Feb 21 2018 by
Elizabeth Holcombe
University of Southern California
Elizabeth Holcombe, University of Southern California
Institutional Change: Equity and Inclusion
Target Audience: Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty, Institution Administration, Non-tenure Track Faculty, College/University Staff
Program Components: Supporting Students:Academic Support, Mentoring Program

The challenges of keeping undergraduate students in STEM programs and getting them to complete their degrees are well-documented and frequently discussed by members of this group and a wide audience of stakeholders around the country (Eagan, Hurtado, Figueroa, & Hughes, 2014). For students from underrepresented backgrounds, these challenges are even steeper, as they may have experienced inadequate high school preparation in math and science, an unwelcoming or chilly climate in college, or poorly taught introductory STEM courses (Tsui, 2007). Many existing interventions for underrepresented students in STEM tend to target small groups and remain disconnected from other support programs for low-income, first-generation, or minority students. Additionally, most existing support programs have either not included or not coordinated with ongoing efforts to reform introductory STEM curriculum and teaching. More

How Does Your Professional Organization Lead Positive Change?


Posted: Jan 5 2018 by
Pamela Brown
CUNY New York City College of Technology
Pamela Brown, CUNY New York City College of Technology
Institutional Change: Change Leaders, Assessment
Target Audience: Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty, Institution Administration, Non-tenure Track Faculty, College/University Staff
Program Components: Outreach:Policy Change

We are creating resources for the ASCN Working Group 4: Demonstrating Impact and others, interested in higher education systemic change efforts, by soliciting responses to important questions.

This month's question is related to professional organizations. We are interested to learn about activities different professional organizations in STEM disciplines are using to accelerate change.

Professional organizations/societies may have the authority, relationships and access to data to implement positive changes in specific disciplines. One example of an organization actively engaged with this mission is the Research Advisory Group of the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences.

The report "The Role of Scientific Societies in STEM Faculty Workshops" recommended by Charles Henderson in his contribution is a great resource that provides insights into faculty professional development workshops across STEM disciplines.

The December/January question:

How does your professional organization try to lead positive change? What changes have your professional organization led or you would like to see them lead? More

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