Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts


Content Types

  • A PKAL Essay– The learner-centered environment

  • PKAL F21 reports and perspectives:
    Addressing one American Psychological Association goal for student learning
    – Christine A. Marco, Assistant Professor of Pscyhology– Rhode Island College
    (A report of departmental efforts to implement a curriculum assessment strategy)

  • Characteristics of successful STEM education innovators
    – Susan B. Millar, Director, Wisconsin Center for Education Research– University of Wisconsin- Madison
    From: Improving Undergraduate Instruction in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: A Report of a Workshop. NRC. 2003
    (Millar suggests that the habits of designing courses with a "we're in this together" attitude is one key personality feature of successful STEM innovators.)

  • A PKAL Essay - Taking the scientific approach

  • A Report from a Campus– What undergraduate research can tell us about research on learning
    – David Lopatto, Professor of Psychology, Grinnell College
    (With support from NSF, and with the engagement of colleagues at the University of Colorado Boulder, David Lopatto documents the benefits of undergraduate research experiences on student learning, based on the experiences of four campuses (Grinnell College, Harvey Mudd College, Hope College, Wellesley College) that had received the NSF Award for Integration of Research and Education (AIRE). His survey instruments, approaches, and outcomes suggest how the undergraduate research experience can be integrated into efforts to strengthen learning of students in STEM fields.)

  • PKAL F21 reports and perspectives:
    Key findings - Occidental College undergraduate research assessment
    – Chris Craney, Associate Dean of the College and Professor of Biochemistry- Occidental College

  • A PKAL Essay - What is leadership?

  • A PKAL Essay - Creating a community dedicated to the assessment of student learning
    A community's commitment to assessment is demonstrated in many ways: assembling people with expertise in how students learn, providing opportunities for faculty to explore different assessment tools, providing opportunities for faculty to explore different assessment tools, alerting the campus community to external resources and ensuring that departmental budgets reflect the institution's commitment.

  • Communication, Communication, Communication: Connecting Assessment to Enhancing Student Learning
    – Donna L. Sundre, Center for Assessment & Research Studies- James Madison University
    Strong assessment programs are nurtured and sustained with clear communication. If assessment of student learning is to succeed, it must be communicated to each constituent group- students, faculty and administrators. If the goals are not clearly communicated in the beginning, the community may feel threatened by new assessment programs.

  • A PKAL Essay - The role of disciplinary societies in shaping today's leaders
    Campus leaders can take advantage of the collective expertise within national disciplinary societies to inform local efforts to build strong disciplinary departments.

  • The American Council on Education's Department Chair Online Resource Center
    Since November 1999, the American Council on Education (ACE) has offered workshops and provided extensive resources "for those heading departments or programs and for administrators who work with department leaders;" this work is coordinated by Irene W. D. Hecht, ACE Director Department Leadership Programs.

  • A PKAL Essay - Building a vital department
    - Jeanne L. Narum, Director- Project Kaleidoscope
    Many times a voice from outside the department is necessary to evaluate what is not working. Consultants do not carry institutional baggage and their credibility might encourage all faculty to speak out and encourage openness to new ideas.

  • Adapted from PKAL's Volume I- What Works: Building Undergraduate Science Communities
    A PKAL Essay - Faculty development: a departmental responsibility
    - Jeanne L. Narum, Director - Project Kaleidoscope

  • From an analysis of reports from PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century (PKAL F21)
    What works: Providing a supportive climate in which all faculty flourish takes time, resources, and planning
    Scholarly agendas provide the backbone for faculty development. These agendas should be linked to departmental goals, well balanced, flexible and realistic. In addition, departments should recognize faculty when pivotal scholarly goals are attained.

  • What works - The PKAL experience
    Arriving at spaces that make a difference

  • What matters - A PKAL essay
    Twenty-first century science and the facilities of the future

    Facilities matter, from the perspective of serving new interdisciplinary fields of research as well as of making the learning experience for all undergraduates one that is truly integrative. Some ideas and best practices from the PKAL facilities archive..

  • What matters - A PKAL essay
    The 2012 sustainable science building

    On a practical level, a sustainable science building is a high performance building that through siting, orientation, design, construction, and operation is highly energy efficient, has measurably lower operating costs, minimizes environment impact, and promotes whole health for the users.

  • What works - A PKAL essay
    The facility of the future: Technology

    On the one hand technology has incredible promise and indeed one can argue that technology is absolutely essential to modern science. On the other hand we have limited resources and we have real world constraints.

  • What works: A PKAL essay
    Advancing the momentum toward reform
    Jeanne L. Narum, Director - Project Kaleidoscope
    A current challenge is to move the initiative of reform from the heart and mind of an individual agent of change into the formal policies and practices of an institution.

  • What works - A PKAL essay
    Leaders need to communicate
    - Melvin D. George, President Emeritus - University of Missouri
    All too often, a leadership team thinking about new directions fails to think through and put in motion a communications plan as an integral prelude to and part of the anticipated change. Developing a thoughtful communications plan and carrying it out effectively are vital aspects of any successful significant change.

  • What works: A PKAL essay
    Building a community of leaders: The PKAL F21 Experience
    - Jeanne L. Narum, Director - Project Kaleidoscope
    The challenge for leaders -- current and rising -- is to build an environment in which ideas flourish, are shared openly and freely, and where risks are taken, and the possibility of failure is acceptable: a community in which people of good faith have come together around a common vision and sense of purpose.

  • What works: A letter
    A letter to F21 leaders
    - Ed Ahnert, President - ExxonMobil Foundation
    The educational needs for a "science savvy" citizenry, properly prepared K-12 teachers, and a high-tech workforce can only be addressed if academic leaders with vision rise to the occasion. Leadership requires one to develop a position and take a stand. Make your voices be heard.

  • Building interdisciplinary connections - The roles of professional societies
    - Jeanne L. Narum, Director - Project Kaleidoscope
    National associations have clout; they have clout because faculty look to them for guidance and acceptance in their field; they legitimize the work faculty. Further, efforts of national associations– and here we must mention funding agencies– signal to the community (and beyond) what is valued.

  • Making connections: To, from, and within the mathematical community
    - David Bressoud, Professor & Chair of Mathematics & Computer Science - Macalester College
    - Lynn Arthur Steen, Professor of Mathematics - St. Olaf College
    Authors describe the wide range of activities and publications within the MAA (Mathematical Association of America) that emphasize three broader categories of connections important to their community:

    • connections to and from other disciplines
    • connections within the mathematical sciences
    • connections to the needs of students served by mathematics departments, majors and non-majors.