PKAL Volume IV
What [President] Wilson meant by the wholly awakened person who should be
the ideal product of American higher education is a person awakened through
the power of the imagination to a consciousness of possibilities.... James
Bryant Conant assures us that scientific discovery begins not in the
finding of the laboratory but in the glimpses of the imagination...that the
true scientist takes off, as the true poet does, not from the notes on his
desk, but from a hunch, a fell in the bones, in intimation. If that is
true, Mr. Wilson' whole person will make the better scientist, as s/he will
be the better citizen of a free nation.
The potential shortage of skilled workers could have devastating consequences for the future. Since it takes many years to train a scientist or engineer, we must invest now to guarantee the availability of a skilled and competent workforce for the 21st century.
... Based on a tight global ST&E workforce, changing demographics, and projected growth in ST&E jobs, it is in the national interest to vigorously pursue the development of domestic ST&E workers from all ethnic and gender groups. We should pay special attention to groups that are currently under-represented in the ST&E workforce, because it is with these groups that much of our nation's growing talent pool resides.
... And it is a fundamental responsibility of a modern nation to develop the talent of all its citizens.
PKAL is announcing a new publication on what works, what matters and what lasts in the process of enhancing the quality and character of student learning in STEM fields. Initially the stories and essays included in this publication will be posted on the PKAL web site, accessible for easy review, copying and use by leaders pursuing renewal of STEM programs; in months to come, materials will be available in print form. Reports are being gathered from the broader undergraduate community, as well as from PKAL-active institutions. Producing this publication electronically allows for additions, updating and comments. The current series of summaries from Keck/PKAL consultations is part of this new publication.
The intent of this publication is to capture, analyze and disseminate lessons learned from the experience of leading agents of change– institutional, organizational and individual– so to inform the work of the larger community. Since the mid-1980's there has been much expertise and energy expended in the effort to strengthen student learning in STEM fields; common themes emerge from analyzing the achievements of colleges, universities and societies making visible progress toward that end. These themes, individually and collectively, stand as directional signals by which other campuses and organizations can chart their course, as they come to understand what works, what matters and what lasts.
From studying the work of /leading agents of change across the country, it is clear that what matters is the focus on student learning as the beginning point and driver for the work of reform.
Thus the first set of stories will be from campuses giving attention to issues such as...
...as leaders work to ensure that the learning environment is designed...
What Works & What Lasts
PKAL has always focused on what works, articulating in 1991 the salient characteristics of a learning environment that serves STEM students well. We now translate the experiences of the past decade into a broader vision of what works, convinced that only institution-wide attention to student learning, as signaled in how programs, faculty, and facilities are developed, will achieve the goal of shaping undergraduate STEM programs that truly serve the future of science and society.
We hope this vision challenges all stakeholders pursuing sustainable institutional transformation to consider that what lasts is when there is: