Diversifying the STEM Pool

NSF grant helps researchers identify the STEM teaching methods that bring in low-income students.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), an organization devoted to undergraduate liberal education, has received US$4.8 million from the National Science Foundation to identify the STEM teaching methods that broaden the participation of low-income students. AAC&U’s Project Kaleidoscope will lead a five-year professional development experience for STEM faculty and researchers seeking to pinpoint metrics for documenting undergraduate STEM teaching.

Quality teaching has been identified as one of the strongest and most consistent predictors of student interest in STEM, but teaching strategies continue to vary widely, the organization notes. Moreover, STEM faculty are not always provided with the professional development they need to under-stand how to integrate STEM education research and evaluation methods into their teaching strategies.

“This work represents a unique opportunity for aligning education research and evaluation with proven undergraduate STEM teaching practices that contribute to diversifying the STEM disciplines,” says AAC&U president Lynn Pasquerella.

The professional development initiative interweaves face-to-face and virtual interactions through knowledge studios, regional clinics, and an online plat-form, creating a national community of scholars and practitioners.

For information about Project Kaleidoscope, visit www.aacu.org/pkal.