Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

Introducing PKAL Volume IV 2005 - 2006

August 15, 2005

PKAL began in 1989 with an initial vision of what works in building robust undergraduate natural science (STEM) communities. During the past sixteen years, that earlier vision has become the foundation for a process of planning advocated in all activities and publications sponsored by PKAL. This PKAL planning process has several dimensions, first focusing on the iterative consideration of mission, vision, goals, strategies and actions. Another dimension is the need to take the kaleidoscopic perspective, to ask questions about all facets of the undergraduate learning environment and to have the right people at the table; this perspective also signals the importance of understanding how different patterns of reform can be explored to find what works in specific circumstances and settings. Finally, the PKAL process of planning calls for leaders to be alert to and informed about the context in which they undertake their work, recognizing the potential to make a difference for their students, for the scientific community, and to the broader society to which we all belong.

In structuring the 2005 - 2006 academic year series of postings for Project Kaleidoscope Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts, we plan to capture the essence of recent efforts to shape the future of undergraduate STEM, efforts that exemplify the process of planning. We will be analyzing provocative calls to action and seminal lessons learned, sharing that analysis with the broader community of stakeholders.

From activities associated with the Project Kaleidoscope Leadership Initiative, we will post materials describing the work of individuals (faculty and administrators), as well as of departments, programs, and institutions that have set challenging goals for learning in their undergraduate STEM coursers and labs, and are making demonstrable progress toward achieving those goals.

Further materials relating to PKAL's Leadership Initiative- essays and presentations by academic planners, design professionals, and other national leaders within and beyond PKAL- will be included in the 2005 - 2006 PKAL Volume IV postings.

Finally, PKAL is revisiting its 2002 Report on Reports- Recommendations for Action in Support of Undergraduate STEM, recognizing the signficant calls for action that have been issued since 2002. A print version of the PKAL 2005 Report on Reports will be issued this fall. Our hope is that these regular alerts about seminal reports become part of the "tool kit" that serves as a resource for those taking responsibility for leadership in transforming undergraduate STEM.