Faculty for the 21st Century

Begun with support from the ExxonMobil Foundation, Project Kaleidoscope continues to build a national network of emerging leaders in undergraduate STEM. These are faculty who have been identified by their senior administrators as having demonstrated leadership potential within their local community and with the potential for national leadership into the next century. Known as PKAL F21 (Project Kaleidoscope Faculty for the 21st Century), this network offers members a wide range of opportunities to become productive agents of change and visible leaders within their campus and disciplinary communities.

I shall take it as self-evident that each generation must define afresh the nature, direction, and aims of education to assure such freedom and rationality as can be attained for a future generation. For there are changes both in circumstances and in knowledge that impose constraints on and give opportunities to the teacher in each succeeding generation. It is in this sense that education is in constant process of invention.

- Jerome S. Bruner, Toward a Theory of Instruction, 1996.

Our goal for the PKAL F21 Network is to foster the capacity for leadership for each and every F21 member by providing significant opportunities to explore new ways of thinking about students, about science and technology, and about society. Our hope is that in such explorations, each will discover new ways of using his/her enthusiasm, energy, and passions to make a difference. Our intent is to build a supportive alliance in which F21 members can contribute to and lead in the work of transforming the learning environment for all undergraduate students in this country. The members of the PKAL F21 Network are leaders, who, to use the definition of Barbara Kellerman of Fairleigh Dickinson University, "make things happen that would not happen otherwise."

F21 members:

  • make connections with the current generation of educational and scientific leaders
  • engage in productive dialogue about critical issues that affect the professional and personal lives of academic leaders
  • gain experience and expertise in transforming the environment for learning for undergraduate students in mathematics and the various fields of science

In nominating a candidate for the F21 network, the senior administrator makes a firm commitment to join with PKAL in enhancing the leadership capacities of his/her nominee. This collaboration between PKAL and participating campuses is an essential ingredient of the F21 network, recognizing that groups working together can accomplish more than those working in isolation.

There are several levels of benefits for F21 members, all of which require active engagements of the faculty member and his or her senior colleagues in discussing the range of issues that 21st century STEM leaders must wrestle with, day-in and day-out.

Click here to learn more about F21 program benefits.


Events & Activities


Advice for Early-Career STEM Faculty
Building a community of leaders: The PKAL F21 Experience
Jeanne L. Narum
The challenge for leaders -- current and rising -- is to build an environment in which ideas flourish, are shared openly and freely, and where risks are taken, and the possibility of failure is acceptable: a community in which people of good faith have come together around a common vision and sense of purpose
DeanSpeak 101
Laura L. Mays Hoopes
An F21 member shares tips on learning to communicate with the administration.
Diversity Scenarios
Case Studies for STEM Faculty
Karan Watson
Faculty should be advocates for diversity; administrators need to be convinced that diversity has intrinsic value and that it promotes intellectual excellence, broadens the total range of an institution’s experience, and stimulates the exchange of ideas. Diversity should be seen as a moral imperative, an aspect of social justice. These cases, adapted from actual situations, can serve as catalysts for dialogue about challenges facing academic leaders.
F21 Members in Positions of Campus Leadership
A listing of members from the Faculty 21 community in formal positions of campus leadership.
F21 Membership Directory
A complete directory of the members of the PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century Network— organized by name, institution, class year, geography, or discipline.
Faculty for the 21st Century Class Statements
Collections of statements from F21 members over the years that address a wide range of topics, including the future of undergraduate STEM, interdisciplinary studies, and research-rich learning environments.
First Year Problems & Solutions
Scenarios from CIRTL
These scenarios were first presented at the 2008 Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) Forum. Graduate students and early-career STEM faculty convened with members of the PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century to discuss the scenarios and the F21 members’ similar experiences during their early career years. Other participants engaged in at-the-table discussions about their experiences— as senior colleagues (faculty/academic administrators)— in circumstances similar to those described in one or more of the scenarios, from their personal or professional experience. Groups reported out on emerging best ideas and promising practices in aligning approaches to professional preparation to circumstances STEM faculty do encounter in the “real world.”
History of the PKAL F21 Network
The PKAL F21 Network began in 1994 with a class of 150 members and a support from the Exxon Education Foundation. Over the years, a series of assemblies, leadership institutes, meetings and workshops have driven the F21 effort to promote faculty leadership in all aspects of STEM education in the 21st century.
Mentoring Vignettes
Case Studies for STEM Faculty
These mentoring case studies were developed by tenure-track faculty at St. Olaf College. They were originally used as the basis of a meeting of tenured faculty in the division of Natural Sciences & Mathematics. The purpose was to raise awareness of mentoring issues among the senior faculty.

Reports, Best Ideas, & Proceedings