Faculty leaders on campuses across the country in the coming decade will be wrestling with most of the same challenges that have faced academic colleagues for many generations. But there are contemporary challenges that call for a different mind-set and approach to shaping the learning environment by leaders in STEM reform, in large part because they call for collaborative rather than individual action, and require wide-based support.
The Saturday sessions at the National Academy of Sciences during the 2002 PKAL F21 National Assembly will highlight the work of F21 members involved with their campus and/or with their broader disciplinary communities in addressing some of these challenges. Sessions will cover lessons learned in building programs that serve specific goals set for student learning, by:
- incorporating content and perspectives from different disciplines
- making creative use of digital resources and information technologies
- integrating research into the undergraduate learning environment.
Sessions will be presented in two tracks, both morning and afternoon. One track will address challenges in serving the vision of science for all, exploring successful institutional efforts to serve students with different backgrounds, learning styles, and career aspirations, as well as those designed to ensure that all students acquire the scientific, technological and quantitative literacies essential to be responsible and contributing members of society. The second track will have three strands, considering: i) interdisciplinary programs; ii) a technology-intensive learning environment; and iii) a research-rich learning environment, with a particular focus on those that serve majors.
All sessions will deal with how leaders shape new policies and programs, from the point of setting goals for student learning to developing, implementing, and assessing practices that serve those goals. These will be working sessions, believing the discovery-based, collaborative, problem-solving, taking ownership approach to effective student learning to be appropriate. A major theme in all sessions will be "what works" in building interest and consensus within the campus community for exploring new ideas and undertaking curricular experimentation (both the content and politics of reform). This will include discussions about barriers to reform- what does not work. As always, each F21 member is expected to produce materials and an agenda for action that can be useful immediately following the Assembly, and time is set aside on each day during the Assembly for this.