Fostering interdisciplinary, cross-institutional collaboration to provide undergraduate STEM students with authentic learning experiences
Thursday 11:00am - 11:30am Woodlawn I
Kelly McDonald, California State University-Sacramento
Thomas E. Landerholm, California State University-Sacramento
The Sustainable Interdisciplinary Research to Inspire Undergraduate Success (SIRIUS) Project is broadening participation and institutional capacity for STEM learning at Sacramento State by integrating research experiences, related to a common and relevant scientific problem, across the curriculum of multiple departments. Course-based research experiences maximize the number and diversity of students receiving high-impact instructional practices and is one approach we are taking to address systemic inequities at our minority-serving institution. In the fifth year of the SIRIUS project, over 3,600 students have studied human impacts on the American River, an impaired waterway running through campus, in 17 Biology, Chemistry, Geology and Environmental Studies courses. The broad nature of these courses, including general education and service courses, has allowed students from 42 campus departments and programs to share these experiences. Thirty-six faculty have collaboratively designed, implemented and assessed the impacts of the courses through a multi-year Faculty Learning Community. Drawing from our experiences, we now aim to expand the SIRIUS Project to six additional STEM disciplines on our campus and four nearby community colleges. Partnering with local community colleges will address the national recommendation to provide research experiences to students in their first two years of college and will ease the transition of transfer students to four-year institutions with these practices in place. Approximately 50% of Sacramento State students transfer from a two-year institution, and the majority of ours hail from the four partnering community colleges. Through the expansion of SIRIUS, we aim to create a model and generate new knowledge about how to build relationships and catalyze collaboration to promote curriculum reform across disciplines with different epistemologies and across two-year and four-year institutions. Here, we will present an overview of the SIRIUS program, focusing on our strategies for faculty engagement, select student and faculty outcomes, lessons learned and future directions.