Collaborations and Networks

Over the past several years, the work of PKAL has been enriched and extended through collaborative efforts with a wide range of “near-peer” networks, recognizing that collaborations are powerful “agents of change.” What we are learning validates research on dissemination: how ideas evolve, emerge and are enhanced when like-minded colleagues pursue a common vision. This research also speaks directly to the impact of “near-peers” on influencing and persuading others to explore, adapt and assess approaches having demonstrable impact on strengthening STEM learning at all levels. The range and diversity of networks and collaborations now making a difference at the undergraduate level is remarkable; dissolving boundaries of discipline, geography, spheres of responsibility and career stage as they work to transform the undergraduate STEM learning environment in this country.

    Our goal must be to collaborate with each other. Our tasks are too great and our time is too short for any other approach.

This call to action from the 1st PKAL National Colloquium (1991) was issued by George E. Brown, then Chair of the House Science Committee, United States House of Representatives. Over the past twenty years, powerful collaborations have been shaped through which individual agents of change make a collective difference. The value of such networks and collaborations is on many levels— primarily serving to promote and facilitate greater adaptation of best/promising practices in transforming programs and spaces that serve student learning in ways that lead to broader transformation of STEM learning at the institutional level. Ideas and materials from each of these collaborations will be found on the PKAL website.

Some of these collaborations are influencing and influenced by current PKAL grant funded projects.

Initiative funded by the National Science Foundation: Pedagogies of Engagement. This initiative is a pilot effort to learn how to leverage the expertise and experience within a partnership that involves both PKAL and a formal system/consortia/network of colleges and universities. The goal is to facilitate greater engagement of administrators and STEM faculty in discussions about, implementation and assessment of research-based pedagogies of engagement.

Collaborating partners (as of August 2008):

Initiative funded by the W.M. Keck Foundation: Facilitating Interdisciplinary Learning. This initiative focuses on assisting participating campuses in advancing local efforts to: shape interdisciplinary academic programs (Centers, General Education, environmental science, math/bio, etc); establish organizational structures (policies, budgets, etc.) that sustain interdisciplinary efforts over the long term; and determine the impact of interdisciplinary environments on student learning. Project advisory committees include representatives of:

Some of these networks are part of the PKAL portfolio of activities:

Some of these are formal collaborations that capitalize on expertise and resources within PKAL and those of peer organizations:

Some of these are informal collaborations assembled to address timely opportunities and challenges facing STEM leaders: