Regional Network

PKAL Atlanta Regional Network Spring Meeting

April 24, 2009

Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta-PKAL had its Spring 2009 meeting at Emory University on Friday April 24, 2009. It was a well attended meeting with 34 faculty and administrators representing several Atlanta area institutions. The meeting provided a platform for academic networking, a PBL workshop and engaged discussions on collaboration within the network, and its long term sustainability. Atlanta-PKAL is a collection of academics with a lot of experience in the process of STEM reform. This network is poised to grow to the next level in which the sustained contact and collaboration between the members will increase.

The beginning session was introductions by the members followed by a discussion of the needs of the group. From the pre-meeting survey, the attendees had identified three areas of interest. From the discussions another area of interest came to light, and these four areas of interest will guide the planning of activities for group into the future. These areas of common interest are:

  1. Pedagogy in the STEM classroom
  2. Undergraduate research
  3. Increasing under-represented groups in STEM
  4. Assessment

An Emory faculty member showcased a SCALE-UP classroom which is used for introductory chemistry courses. The Emory Center for Science Education (CSE) conducted an engaging workshop for Problem Based Learning (PBL). The Emory CSE which is directed by Pat Marsteller is very experienced in PBL and has a very rich collection of case studies for use in STEM courses.

The last session focused on collaboration within the network and its longer term sustainability. The ‘Atlanta Area Air and Water Quality’ grant was presented as a possible case study for more sustained collaborations in the group. Several institutions have expressed interest in being a part of this proposal that will be submitted to the NSF. Other types of thematic collaborations have also developed among Atlanta-PKAL institutions in conversations after the meeting. The group will deliberate more on collaborations and external funding possibilities in our Fall 2009 meeting.