PKAL Volume IV: What Works, What Matters, What Lasts

Interviews & Stories: Faculty for the 21st Century

The Project Kaleidoscope Faculty for the 21st Century (F21) is a network of faculty in STEM fields taking a leadership role in making a difference for their students, for their science, for their college or university community, and for the larger communities of which they are a part. In reviewing their stories, interviews, statements, and reflections, a picture emerges of a cadre of faculty who come to their scholarly vocation with great enthusiasm, energy, and expertise. They are deeply engaged in the lives of their students, understanding that learning takes place in a community where faculty are committed equally to undergraduate teaching and to their own intellectual vitality and where faculty see students as partners in learning.

In different voices, from different perspectives, with differing initiatives under their belt, we learn of faculty wrestling with how to bring 21st century science into today’s learning environment, how to celebrate and serve the increasing diversity of students in undergraduate classrooms and labs— respecting their diversity of background and career aspiration. These are faculty who are exploring and experimenting with new pedagogical and assessment approaches, convinced— as scientists— that gathering evidence of what works is a key responsibility.

Finally, from their words we can understand that these F21 members have a strong sense of self— that being a scientist, mathematician, or engineer is the point from which they define who they are. Their work— their passion— as a scholar comes from their passion for doing science, being engaged as a mathematician, or an engineer. There seems to be an extraordinary ordinariness about how they bring together the pieces of their life. They are passionate about the process of learning— about the excitement and joy of exploring and discovering— for themselves and for their students.