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Critical Components for Increasing Academic Performance in STEM: PowerPoint Presentation
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Louie Lainez & Amy Knife Gould Enriching the Academic Experience of College Science Students Conference University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan June 4, 2008. Critical Components for Increasing Academic Performance in STEM:

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Critical Components for Increasing Academic Performance in STEM:


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    1. Louie Lainez & Amy Knife Gould Enriching the Academic Experience of College Science Students ConferenceUniversity of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MichiganJune 4, 2008 Critical Components for Increasing Academic Performance in STEM: The Evolution and Sustainability of the Gateway Science Workshop (GSW) Program

    2. Overview • Development of Gateway Science Workshop (GSW) • Key Factors in Program Success • Program Evaluation • Challenges/Lessons Learned • Question and Answer

    3. GSW Program Goals • Improve performance & retention of under-represented groups in STEM disciplines • Increase overall number of majors in STEM disciplines • Increase number of majors in under-represented groups in STEM disciplines • Increase number of under-represented students pursuing careers in STEM disciplines

    4. Key Features of the GSW Program • Voluntary Participation • Advanced, “non-remedial” focus • Small group environment (5-7 students) • Complexworkshop problems • Emphasize conceptual understanding • Challenging • Conducive to discussion, engaging and relevant • Multiple concepts incorporated into the same problem • Peer-facilitation • Encourage student-student interaction • Workshop facilitator as “guide”, not “tutor” • Ongoing training and support for workshop facilitators

    5. GSW Funding • Initial funding provided by Andrew Mellon Foundation from Sept 2001 – August 2004 • Refunded by Andrew Mellon Foundation from August 2004 – August 2007 • Supported by Northwestern University Office of Provost in August 2007 – August 2010

    6. GSW Program Structure Departments Dean-Provost Faculty Advisory Board Coordination Worksheet Problems Searle Center Evaluation Training Workshop Students Peer Facilitators Senior Facilitators

    7. GSW Program Growth *Institutionalized by Northwestern, beginning with the 2007–2008 academic year, for a 3-year period

    8. GSW Stakeholders • Participating workshop students • Peer facilitators • Faculty in the related disciplines • 22 faculty in 2007-08 • University administration • Program staff • 1.5 FTE for program coordination • 2.5 FTE for program evaluation and research

    9. Participation • 2006-2007 Over 700 students applied to be in a workshop; 550 participated during Fall ’06 • 2007-2008 Over 900 students applied to be in a workshop; 627 participated during Fall ‘07

    10. 2006–2007 Workshop Participation by Course

    11. 2007-2008 Workshop Participation By Course

    12. 2006–2007 Student of Color Participation in Workshop

    13. 2006–2007 Participation by Gender & Course

    14. Peer Facilitators

    15. Facilitator Recruitment & Selection • Each Spring, faculty and current facilitators are asked to recommend interested students • Students complete an application and participate in a group interview • Selection criteria include • Course performance • A desire to assist other students • Advocate for peer-facilitated learning

    16. 2007-2008 Participating Facilitators

    17. Facilitator Compensation History • 2002-2003: Stipend • Certificate and pay • 2003-2004: One credit course option • Certificate and option of pay or academic credit • 2004-Present: One credit course • Certificate and academic credit • Sr. Facilitators receive monetary compensation

    18. GSW Facilitator Training

    19. Training Overview • School of Education & Social Policy (SESP 291) • Required for first-year facilitators • Active involvement of Senior Facilitators • Designed to develop facilitators’ knowledge, understanding and practice of teaching and learning in an interactive peer led environment

    20. Training Components 1. Fall Orientation 2. Small Group Peer Facilitation 3. Weekly Meeting 4. Training and Development Sessions 5. Peer Workshop Observations 6. Completion of a final group project

    21. Learning Objectives Practical Theoretical STEM & small-group learning research & theory Pedagogical methods Research experience Apply theory in Practice Broaden perspective, build confidence Personal

    22. Examples of Group Research Projects 2007-2008 • Impact of facilitator attitudes about worksheet on student confidence • Impact of advance worksheet review on workshop dynamics • Impact of friendship on STEM course motivation & experience

    23. Group Outreach Projects 2007-08 Desired Outcomes of each Outreach Project: • Implement a 90-min. lesson at the local high school • Document the learning experience in a poster presentation • Reflect on the project via individual reflection papers Preparation Requirements: • High school class observation • Advising appointment with GSW staff • Two meetings with the high school teacher • At least three drafts of a comprehensive lesson plan, including a literature review

    24. Group Outreach Projects 2007-08 Lessons Learned: High School Students: • Problem solving strategies • College life insight Facilitators: • How to adjust facilitation strategies • Teamwork skills

    25. Faculty Involvement

    26. Faculty Support/Involvement Program Success Searle Center Support Departmental Support Time Commitment

    27. Faculty Challenges • Time Commitment • Keeping all sections on the same schedule • Selecting conceptual based problems for worksheets

    28. Faculty Motivations & Rewards • GSW has improved my teaching • GSW has helped me write better homework and exam problems • GSW has helped me understand students better

    29. Program Evaluation

    30. Goals of Evaluation in GSW • Understand how (student and faculty) participation in the program affects certain areas. • Using Quantitative and Qualitative data to show results

    31. Evaluation Design IMPACT grades retention majors QUALITY student satisfaction faculty satisfaction program integrity SPECIAL FOCUS learning approaches group interactions facilitator approaches

    32. Study Design majority students did not want to participate wanted to participate randomized nonworkshop n=235 workshop control n=53 n=42

    33. Retention in Organic Chemistry2005-2006 * *(p<0.0001)

    34. Retention in Biology 2001-2004 * * N=458 N=900 N=31 N=75 * p<0.05

    35. Biology Grades 2001-2004 * * N=458 N=900 N=31 N=75 * p<0.05

    36. Chemistry: Final grade distributionMinority Students (Fall 2001-2004)

    37. Evaluation Results 1. Workshop students are more likely to score B+ (or higher) and complete the course sequence 2. Both majority and under-represented students benefit from the program 3. Effects are quite consistent across disciplines 4. Students like the workshops

    38. Lessons Learned Through the Years

    39. Keys to Program Success University Administration Faculty GSW Program • Worksheets • and evaluations • Weekly meetings • Recruitment • Registration • Workshop locations • Transcript notation Facilitators Students GSW Team • Recruitment • Training • Logistics • Registration • Promotion • Coordination • Research/Evaluation • Dissemination

    40. Program Sustainability:Working with Stakeholders

    41. Sustainability Strategy • Searle Center Coordination • A credit-bearing course • Senior facilitators • Online problem bank for faculty • Advisory Board • Evaluation

    42. Program Sustainability:Barriers & Solutions

    43. Keys to Program Sustainability • Be responsive to key stakeholder concerns • Offer a combination of rigorous and meaningful evaluation data • Involve stakeholders from all aspects in designing evaluation • Maintain frequent communication with stakeholders • Be flexible in program coordination • Capture demand for the program

    44. Acknowledgements • Greg Light, Director, Principal Investigator • Denise Drane, Associate Director • Marina Micari, Sr. Research Associate • Bernhard Streitwieser, Research Associate • Pilar Pazos, Research Associate • Su Swarat, Research Associate

    45. Discussion and Questions Contact Information Louie Lainez: l-lainez@northwestern.edu Amy Knife Gould: amy-gould@northwestern.edu Searle Center for Teaching Excellence Web Site http://www.northwestern.edu/searle/index.html