Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts
Keck Consultation Reports
A Synthesis of Recommendations from Keck/PKAL Consultancies: Dealing with Dysfunctional Departments
- From Keck/PKAL Consultancies
(Over the past several years, more than 100 colleges and universities involved with PKAL have used the Keck/PKAL Consultant program to help their community overcome challenges to building a vital department.)
Identifying what does not work is sometimes as important to efforts to build strong STEM departments and programs as knowing what works (see stories posted 02/06/04 from the undergraduate physics project SPIN-UP). Most problems facing departmental leaders have been identified and addressed in other settings: attrition after first-year courses; little or no administrative support; "ownership" of specific courses. Bringing an outside voice to the discussions is sometimes helpful, as illustrated by this report summarized from several Keck/PKAL consultancies.
- Analyze the relationship between curriculum, advising and student perception of the science program.
- See that institutional support for faculty and students involved in undergraduate research is demonstrated in tangible ways.
- Connect faculty to intriguing and successful pedagogical approaches on other campuses that are reversing attrition, and recognize this work as a scholarly activity.
- Advice on how to survive in less-than-adequate facilities
A careful analysis of scheduled room use will reveal that some spaces are under-utilized. There should be an institutional policy about how spaces are used (shared, allocated and reallocated).
- Constructing new facilities- One step at a time
Design the needed facility, and then phase it according to the budget allotments available.
- Counsel at an early stage of facilities planning
Collaborations can be cost-effective: they lead to sharing, team-teaching and taking advantage of the resource of colleagues right down the hall or at a nearby institution.
- Curricular planning must come first - Advice on getting your curricular planning right before planning your facility
A thoughtful and well-articulated vision for teaching science is the most important element of a successful building project.
- New facilities for community colleges
Facilitate dialog between the department and administrators to encourage ongoing development of building plans. Regular communication will enhance the outcome of the building project.
- Planning an addition to your facility
Departmental autonomy is important and initial discussions should be held in separate departments, but the traditional of autonomy should not get in the way of facility development.
- Sustaining commitment to facilities planning
The administration must collaborate with faculty by being open about a realistic budget for facilities renewal.
- Interdisciplinary Programs Across Multiple Campuses
Implementing Institution-wide Interdisciplinary Programs
How to ensure institutional policies and practices support and sustain interdisciplinary programs has been the focus on several Keck/PKAL consultancies.