My Interest in ASCN: Mark Connolly

University of Wisconsin–Madison
Wisconsin Center for Education Research
Associate Research Scientist

Prior Organizational Change Work

Since starting as an evaluation researcher in 2000, I have been involved in several NSF-funded activities seeking to instigate large-scale change in undergraduate STEM education; two of the most recent include Mobilizing STEM Education for a Sustainable Future (NSF 0744106) and the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (NSF 1231286). Since 2008, I have directed the Longitudinal Study of Future STEM Scholars (NSF 0817537); its recent report, Building a Better Future STEM Faculty: How Teaching Development Programs Can Improve Undergraduate Education, offers a model of systemic change that is informed by various theories. Since 2012, I have served as the UW–Madison PI for the Talking about Leaving, Revisited project, which, with funding from the NSF and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is updating the 1997 study by Seymour and Hewitt. A forthcoming book from the project is taking a systemic perspective on the span of factors—from national funding strategies to classroom instructional practices—that influence STEM persistence. As an advisor to numerous studies and projects, I help promote systemic change by linking people and ideas into broader networks.

How ASCN Can Contribute to my Work

Learning more from the Network about systemic change will improve my studies of undergraduate STEM education as well as their recommendations for how practitioners might apply their findings.

How I Can Contribute to ASCN

As an education researcher, I strive to remain current in ways to apply research on change to efforts to improve undergraduate STEM education. I am currently leading a component study for the Talking about Leaving, Revisited project that uses neo-institutional, cultural, and evolutionary theories to examine how and why undergraduate STEM instruction changed at our six participating institutions between 1995 and 2015. And because the lack of a common schema for conceptualizing and studying STEM college teaching significantly hinders efforts to improve undergraduate STEM education at individual and systemic levels, my research group and I are next working on identifying the dimensions of STEM college teaching and their associated tasks.