Leveraging Course-Based Communities of Transformation to Effect Change in STEM Education

Thursday 2:45pm - 3:30pm Admiral | Poster 19
Poster Presentation

Jill Nelson, George Mason University
Stephanie Foster, George Mason University
Carrie Klein, George Mason University
Jaime Lester, George Mason University
Laura Poms, George Mason University
Jessica Rosenberg, George Mason University
Robert Sachs, George Mason University
Studies across the STEM disciplines have shown that student engagement in active learning improves student attitudes toward STEM, retention in STEM majors, and understanding of key concepts, with greater impact on women and previously low-achieving students. Motivating faculty to make significant changes to their teaching practices is often challenging, however, and active learning methods tend not to be used in gateway college STEM courses, especially at large universities.

Through a National Science Foundation (NSF IUSE) funded project, we aim to scale the implementation of active and inquiry-based learning at George Mason University. By engaging faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates in course-based communities of transformation (CCTs) within four STEM departments (Mathematics, Physics, Biology, and Computer Science), we will change the culture of teaching and learning for thousands of students in the targeted gateway courses. CCTs will receive training on active learning techniques and organizational change, and receive support through a network of learning communities to innovate in their classrooms and curricula.

Mason's change model combines a grassroots approach of individual STEM faculty working together across disciplines with top-down (university administrative) support. As we build the model, we will research the change as it happens, focusing on how the change process unfolds at the faculty, department, and organizational levels, as well as the relationship between department-level change and organizational learning. The literature on organizational learning, faculty development, and active learning are brought together as the basis for this work. Building on this foundation, we will develop and test our model of organizational change and learn how to overcome the barriers identified in the literature that have impeded the spread of active learning beyond the early adopters.

Presentation Media

Institutional Transformation Project Poster (Acrobat (PDF) 12.2MB Apr10 19)