Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

Stories About What Works

Content Types

  • A Story from a Campus– Building a research-rich learning environment– working toward and ensuring the success of African American students in STEM fields: The University of Maryland, Baltimore County

  • A report from the undergraduate physics community
    - Robert Hilborn, Professor of Physics - Amherst College
    Three national physics societies, with support from the ExxonMobil Foundation, collaborated in identifying how certain undergraduate physics departments are achieving success in increasing the numbers, persistence and success of students. The chair of the project (Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics: SPINUP), Robert Hilborn of Amherst College, reports on their findings: that what works is a challenging but supportive academic program, strong and sustained departmental leadership, with continuing experimentation and evaluation built into the process of curricular transformation.

  • National Task Force on Undergraduate Physics
    The National Task Force on Undergraduate Physics undertook the SPIN-UP project to identify salient characteristics of strong undergraduate physics department. The Task Force found that thriving departments have many common characteristics: well-developed and challenging curricula, extensive advising and mentoring, significant opportunities of student-faculty interaction.

  • Departmental Transformation: A Case Study - University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
    - Gubbi Sudhakaran, Professor and Chair, Department of Physics- University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
    This case study was presented at the PKAL 2002 Summer Institute in sessions organized by the National Task Force on Undergraduate Physics.

  • Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics at Two-Year Colleges (SPIN-UP/TYC)
    Building on the broader SPIN-UP effort, a taskforce of physicists from the two-year college community undertook a similar study, recognizing the importance of the relationship between two- and four-year physics programs in the national effort to attract more students as majors in the field.

  • The Gainsville College story
    - J. B. Sharma, Professor Physics, Gainesville College
    One case study from the SPIN-UP/TYC report is from the work of J.B. Sharma, Professor of Physics at Gainesville College in Georgia, which includes an active Society of Physics Students (SPS) which brings students into the physics community on the campus and keeps them engaged. Dr. Sharma is a member of the PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century and serves on the PKAL Phase IV Steering Committee.

  • Linking departmental and institutional mission: The Morehouse Experience
    - J.K. Haynes, David Packard Professor & Dean of Science & Mathematics - Morehouse College
    Building a strong department from the foundation of a solid vision that drives all planning and assessment is the key to the success of the biology department at Morehouse College.

  • Departmental Matrix - Clarity about the scope and sequence of departmental offerings
    - Mary Savina, et al., Geology Department - Carleton College
    Having departmental conversations about where students learn what, brings coherence to the academic program.

  • The United States Military Academy at West Point - Preparing 21st Century Leaders: A Departmental Responsibility
    The experience of the mathematics department at the United States Military Academy illustrates how to integrate a comprehensive faculty development program into departmental efforts to reform the curriculum and serve larger institutional goals for student learning.

  • Adapted from PKAL's F21 Members
    What works - A PKAL essay
    Examining the unexpected challenges facing departmental chairs
    It is of paramount importance for institutions to recognize the importance of departmental chairs and to cultivate their leadership abilities.

  • What works - An essay
    Hiring new faculty: logistics, landmines and life-preservers for the department chair
    - Elizabeth S. Boylan, Provost & Dean of the Faculty - Barnard College
    One of the most significant challenges a department chair faces involves the leadership of the process by which a new member of the department is recruited, hired and integrated into the local academic community.

  • What works - A report
    A letter to new faculty - How to talk with your department chair
    - Gary Reiness, Dean of Science - Lewis & Clark College
    Talking with your department chair (and dean) is necessary for many reasons: to obtain resources needed for your teaching and research, to determine whether you're making satisfactory progress toward promotion, and to negotiate the various aspects of faculty life.

  • What matters - A PKAL essay
    Leadership in building a facility for science education
    - Frank G. Rothman, PKAL Senior Associate & Provost Emeritus - Brown University

  • What works - A PKAL essay
    Investing in faculty: The role of leaders
    - Jeanne L. Narum, Director - Project Kaleidoscope

  • What works - An essay
    Investing in faculty at every career stage
    - Alison Morrison-Shetlar, Director, Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning - University of Central Florida
    - Kathleen Hohenleitner, Senior Faculty Fellow, Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning - University of Central Florida
    It is essential for colleges and university to invest in faculty development at every career level. In the face of general concerns about research grants, endowments, regional and international partnerships, it is critical that institutions take time to reflect on the job faculty have at hand, that of teaching and learning.

  • What works - A PKAL essay
    Investing in faculty: ways and means
    - From Report on Project Kaleidoscope - 2001
    In the process of setting forth an institutional vision, primary attention must be given to the character and quality of the faculty. A clear understanding of the why and the how of investing in faculty must be an integral part of the strategic planning process.

  • What matters: A PKAL essay
    The need for collaborating communities
    – Jeanne L. Narum, Director– Project Kaleidoscope
    Taking the kaleidoscopic perspective on institutional transformation requires examining how the changing context calls for different kinds of collaborating communities pursuing new visions of institutional distinction.

  • What works - A PKAL essay
    An essay on spaces and community
    - Jeanne L. Narum, Director - Project Kaleidoscope
    A picture is worth a thousand words when talking about spaces and community.

  • What works - A PKAL essay
    A community that "works"
    - Adapted from PKAL Occasional Paper
    In PKAL-sponsored events over the years, participants have reflected on how the character of their community affects the process of planning, building, and sustaining strong programs.

  • What matters - A PKAL essay
    Planning, leadership and community
    - Adapted from PKAL Volume I - What Works: Building Natural Science Communities
    The process of reaching a campus consensus on the shape of programs and/or spaces for the future of undergraduate STEM programs in itself can create a healthy community, one that is informed about, sympathetic with, and supportive of, a strong science program.

  • What works - A PKAL essay
    K-12 science teacher: partners in community
    - Adapted from PKAL Volume I - What Works: Building Natural Science Communities
    College faculty should recognize that their students are bridges that link their world to the high schools: high school teachers pass students on to college, and many of those same students prepare in college for careers as teachers. The natural science community bridges the gap between levels of schooling.

  • What matters - An essay
    Science across the curriculum - The Binghamton Story
    - Albert H. Tricomi, Distinguished Teaching Professor - Binghamton University, State University of New York
    In 1996, Binghamton University inaugurated its first General Education Program for all students. The process of discussing and approving requirements for this program had an immediate and a lasting effect on how students on our campus experience learning in mathematics and science.

  • What works: A PKAL report
    Leaders: lessons learned
    - From the March 2004 PKAL Steering Committee Meeting at Bryn Mawr College/Villanova Conference Center
    The new PKAL steering committee, together with advisors and staff, met to distill their experiences as leaders, establishing a foundation for a more intense focus on leadership development.

  • What Works: A PKAL resource
    Perspectives on faculty leadership from the 2003 PKAL Assemblies
    The key essay captures insights from the 2003 PKAL assemblies (all chaired by F21 members) about "what works" as faculty take responsibility for tackling specific leadership agendas for their campus community.