2020 Webinars

Enabling Change Agents with Systems Thinking Tools

Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 9:00 am PT | 10:00 am MT | 11:00 am CT | 12:00 pm ET

Presenters: Bill Davis (Washington State University,) Pam Pape-Lindstrom (Harford Community College), and Gary Reiness (Lewis and Clark University)

The Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE) is an organization dedicated to working with STEM departments to ensure they align their curricula and other activities with research-based practices. A subgroup, the Northwest PULSE Fellows, obtained NSF RCN-UBE funding to design and facilitate workshops for life sciences faculty from a diverse group of colleges and universities in the Pacific Northwest. Over 5 years, approximately 65 (of 140) institutions sent teams of 3-6 faculty and administrators to a workshop intended to empower them as change agents.During the 3-day workshop, each school developed a five-year action plan to revise their curriculum and transform their department in order to better educate all of their students. We framed the workshop around the tenets of systems thinking and provided participants training on the skills they would need to engage their entire department, including colleagues not present at the workshop, so that they might achieve department-wide goals. Prior to the workshops, each individual completed portions of the PULSE rubrics or the Snapshot rubric. Initial conversations within the team helped them to come to consensus on their current status. Conversations about the rubrics also helped them determine areas where their departments had room for improvement. Participants learned how to engage a group in a visioning exercise, and how to translate the results of that exercise into a specific action plan. In addition, because departments are themselves complex systems embedded in even more complex systems in higher education, we focused on providing skills for thinking about systems holistically, rather than tackling issues one at a time, which can cause unanticipated consequences. Participants were encouraged to identify champions and envision solutions with the most leverage within their system, that would enable significant buy-in and change.

We will describe the structure of the workshops, give a brief overview of the systems thinking tools we utilized, and present assessment results that demonstrate that teams who employed systems thinking skills were more likely to have enacted meaningful curricular and pedagogical change.


National Academies Graphical Notes Circle Transforming the Conversation about Teaching Evaluation in Higher Education: Thoughts from the National Academies' Roundtable on Systemic Change in Undergraduate STEM Education

May 19, 2020 at 11:00 am PT | 12:00 pm MT | 1:00 pm CT | 2:00 pm ET

Presenters: Andrea Greenhoot (University of Kansas), Ann Austin (Michigan State University), Noah Finkelstein (University of Colorado Boulder), and Kerry Brenner (National Academies)

The Roundtable on Systemic Change in Undergraduate STEM Education is a group of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that brings together national experts and thought leaders representing the full spectrum of stakeholders in higher education. In September 2019 they held a working meeting on Recognizing and Evaluating Science Teaching in Higher Education in cooperation with ASCN, AAU, and TEval. This working meeting brought together people working to improve teaching evaluation to discuss their experiences and to use the resulting information to coordinate and catalyze further actions that will leverage teaching evaluation to advance the common goal of improving undergraduate STEM learning experiences. This webinar will highlight some of the examples presented at the working meeting, themes noted by participants, and opportunities for further work that will bring these ideas to a wider audience that includes campus leaders. The webinar will provide an opportunity for participants to share ideas on what kinds of resources and events would be helpful to elevating and advancing the discussion of teaching evaluation, in particular how it relates to evidence-based instruction and faculty incentives and rewards.


Small group discussion circle The 7 Habits of Highly Effective STEM Department Chairs

April 22, 2020 at 1:00 pm PT | 2:00 pm MT | 3:00 pm CT | 4:00 pm ET

Presenters: Bob Hilborn (American Association of Physics Teachers) and David Craig (Oregon State University)

Highly effective department chairs balance their roles as colleague and leader to develop and sustain a clear vision of the change necessary to meet departmental and institutional challenges and achieve programmatic goals. Building on the fundamental lessons learned by the physics community in the work leading to the landmark Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics (SPIN-UP) and Preparing Physics Students for 21st Century Careers (Phys21) reports, and culminating in the soon-to-be-released Effective Practices for Physics Programs (EP3) Guide, this webinar discusses the "7 Habits of Highly Effective STEM Department Chairs" developed in the bi-annual Physics Department Chairs Workshop and the Physics and Astronomy New Faculty Workshop series run jointly by the American Association for Physics Teachers (AAPT) and the American Physical Society (APS).


Drinking water circle Leading Change with Design Thinking: A collaborative model of course transform using approaches for solving wicked problems

February 12, 2020 at 10:00 am PT | 11:00 am MT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00 pm ET

Presenters: Nick Swayne, Bernie Kaussler, Patrice Ludwig, and Sean McCarthy (James Madison University)

Student interest is migrating towards the large-scale "wicked" problems in our world, such as climate change, income inequality, sustainability, and human trafficking. These wicked problems rarely rely on a single discipline for their solution, however our educational system is locked into the single discipline approach. At James Madison University, we have explored a variety of programs that build transdisciplinary opportunities for our students.

Transdisciplinary teaching and learning are hot topics, but how can you get started and sustain transdisciplinary activities on your campus? Over the past five years, we have created an array of transdisciplinary courses, designed intentionally to help students and faculty experience a world where they can bring their disciplinary knowledge to bear on wicked challenges. Students describe these experiences as the most challenging courses they've taken. By combining concrete examples of innovation capacity, professional curiosity, and exceptional communication skills, these students tend to be hired earlier in the season and earn more than their peers by discipline. Further, they remain engaged upon graduation and actively seek opportunities to build connections between their employers and the institution.


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