Questions from Participants

Motivating Students to Pursue STEM Careers
The 2003 PKAL Assemblies
What Works - What Matters - What Lasts: The Roles and Responsibilities of Leaders in Undergraduate STEM

September 5 - 7, 2003


  • Can we effectively develop courses that educate a broader population of students about science, while at the same time they serve to meet the requirements of students wishing to major in the field? Is is possible that such courses might diminish what majors are expected to do or, perhaps, might they require too much of the non-majors?

  • To what extent should introductory courses respond to the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the sciences?

  • How can we develop partnerships with area high schools to capture the interest of their students in science and mathematics before they reach our campus?

  • Our "principles" course is an important first course for majors, and one in which we surely lost potential majors. How do we design that course so it covers all the material needed for the major sequence, yet is the exciting, interactive, "doing-science" experience that attracts majors?

  • What is the role of undergraduate research experiences in encouraging students to become majors? What are the institutional structures and rewards that need to be in place to make undergraduate research an integral part of our program?

  • How can we encourage and support faculty (and students) to be the kind of risk-takers whose work is creative, beyond normal expectations both for effort and impact? In particular, how can we stretch students to pursue interests that do not lead to the easy "A?"

  • How do we maintain courses that are rigorous and potentially difficult and yet make a "career" as a science major attractive, particularly to those students we are currently losing?

  • What are strategies through which students are recruited and retained as majors in STEM fields, particularly students from backgrounds currently under-represented in STEM?

  • How can undergraduate STEM faculty keep abreast of the changing S&T world with so many competing demands on our time and energy?

  • What kind of support should we be able to expect from our campus leaders in exploring and piloting new approaches, in building connections to communities beyond our campus?