BSU will use $2 million grant to focus on STEM teaching

October 9, 2013 

Boise State University has been awarded a $2 million National Science Foundation grant to increase evidence-based best teaching and learning practices in foundational science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses.

The three-year grant aims to engage faculty members across college and departmental boundaries to put into place practices that research shows promote student success in STEM subjects.

“Applying an intentional change process is a unique element of this project and puts Boise State in the national spotlight for education reform,” said Susan Shadle, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and principal investigator for the project.

Courses targeted during the three-year project include general chemistry, calculus and pre-calculus, general physics, lower-division engineering and upper-division geoscience courses. These courses were chosen because many students take them as gateways to upper-division study in STEM majors. Students who major in fields other than STEM also take many of these courses.

Goals of the project include: Æ Continuous improvement in the teaching of STEM subjects Æ Increasing the number of STEM majors Æ Attracting more women and underrepresented groups to STEM majors Æ Retaining STEM students from the first to the second year Tony Marker, associate professor of organizational performance and workplace learning, will use a business model for facilitating change to guide implementation of the project, Shadle said.

Leaders in the project include Tony Roark, philosophy professor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Amy Moll, dean of the College of Engineering, Eric Landrum, psychology professor, and Doug Bullock, mathematics associate professor.

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