Report on Reports

Letter of Transmission





September 2002

 

Friends and colleagues:

For the past several years, we have prepared an annual report on activities within Project Kaleidoscope. Through those reports we shared lessons learned from the experiences of leaders and participants involved in PKAL activities directed toward strengthening learning for undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This year we take a different tack. Rather than a summary of outcomes from the PKAL Summer Institute or activities engaging the PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century network we have prepared a report on reports.

Here you will find an analysis of and recommendations from a selection of influential reports since the mid-1980’s that have set the stage for and shaped efforts to transform undergraduate STEM. We hope in reviewing these pages you will note what has become clear to us in assembling this document:

  • the rationale for strengthening undergraduate STEM programs has been extensively, elegantly, and persuasively argued
  • what needs to be done has been clearly articulated, with recommendations that are convincing in their specificity and feasibility
  • what has been accomplished to date sets the stage for concerted action, now and into the future
  • there are many challenges and opportunities yet to be addressed.

Our intent in submitting this report on reports to the community is to initiate a more intentional look at the future of undergraduate STEM. Our hope is that it serve as a catalyst for discussions within departments and across institutions and as a checklist at the national level about immediate priorities for action.

There are many more reports– just as significant– on our shelves and yours. Over the years, many of these reports have spurred thoughtful reflection that led to creative action on campuses and within the larger community of stakeholders. The challenge now is to consolidate our advances. We must collaborate more effectively in moving toward sustainable transformation of the STEM learning environment for our nation’s 14 million undergraduate students. Perhaps the elegant words of the NSTC report say it best, "...it is a fundamental responsibility of a modern nation to develop the talent of all its citizens.”

The efforts of Project Kaleidoscope in the coming months and years will continue to focus on leadership for institutional transformation. We look forward to working with you toward that end.

Sincerely,

Jeanne L. Narum, Director
Project Kaleidoscope