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.
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.
Our goal must be to collaborate with each other. Our tasks are too great and our time is too short for any other approach.
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):
- Appalachian College Association (ACA)
- Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC)
- Minnesota State Colleges & Universities System (MnSCU)
- PKAL Atlanta Regional Network
- PortPKAL— Portland, Oregon Regional Network
- A further collaborating partner for this initiative is The Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College (SERC)
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:
- Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD)
- Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN)
- Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER)
Some of these networks are part of the PKAL portfolio of activities:
- Faculty for the 21st Century (PKAL F21). A network of leaders and rising leaders in undergraduate STEM.
- Disciplinary Society & Education Alliance (DSEA). An intermittent meeting of DC-based national associations with members involved with undergraduate STEM.
Some of these are formal collaborations that capitalize on expertise and resources within PKAL and those of peer organizations:
- Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Two upcoming major AA&U events— Engaging Science, Advancing Learning: General Education, Majors, and the New Global Century, November 6-8, 2008 in Providence, Rhode Island and the 2009 Annual Meeting— Ready or Not: Global Challenges, College Learning, and America’s Promise, January 21-24 in Seattle, Washington will involve faculty and administrators speaking about undergraduate STEM from their experiences within PKAL.
- Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This collaboration builds from lessons learned from the PKAL F21 experience, focusing on the first-year experience of CIRTL graduate students and post-docs from as a STEM faculty member.
- Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN). The fifth meeting of faculty in undergraduate neuroscience, co-sponsored by PKAL and FUN, was held at Macalester College, July 18-20, 2008.
- Carleton Quantitative Inquiry, Reasoning, and Knowledge Initiative (QuIRK). In collaboration with faculty involved with a FIPSE-funded project on quantitative reasoning, PKAL collaborated on a workshop held at Carleton College, October 10-12, 2008.
- Physics Teacher Education Coalition. The mission of PhysTEC is to improve and promote the education of future physics and physical science teachers.
Some of these are informal collaborations assembled to address timely opportunities and challenges facing STEM leaders:
- European Union: PKAL is assisting in organizing sessions for the workshop on the Internationalization of Research and Graduate Studies and its Implications in the Transatlantic Context which will be held at the Georgia Institute of Technology on November 17 – 18, 2008.
- Campus France. PKAL assisted in organizing sessions at a colloquium on international undergraduate STEM at the May 2008 meeting of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.