Faculty-Student Communities for Improving STEM Instruction
The Faculty-Student Communities Initiative is a comprehensive effort to support student-centered instructional change across the College of Science and Engineering at Texas State University. The five-year initiative will officially launch in 2020 and will consist of four programmatic components that provide STEM faculty and students with opportunities to engage in workshops, departmental self-assessments, redesign of lower-division gateway courses, and project-level decision making. Participating STEM departments will receive multifaceted intellectual, material, and logistical supports to empower faculty-student teams in developing sustainable communities focused on culturally relevant instruction. The initiative will also involve three research strands that focus on communities among faculty and students, STEM student trajectories at Texas State, and student graduation rates and STEM workforce outcomes for Texas State and other Hispanic Serving Institutions.
The first major event will be a week-long teaching workshop in Summer 2020, open to all COSE faculty. Workshop participants will receive stipends. Shorter (half-day) teaching workshops will also be held in Fall 2020, for faculty who are unable to attend the summer workshop or are interested in both. These workshops will be advertised once the dates are established.
If you would like to become involved before Summer 2020, the PI team will host some smaller events and informational sessions about the initiative during Fall 2019-Spring 2020. We will also be sending out a survey in Fall 2019, which all COSE faculty are encouraged to complete.
I have an idea about how to improve instruction in my department. Can this initiative help me to implement it?
Possibly. Recipients of course redesign resources (stipends, course buyouts, pedagogical support, student salaries, etc.) will be determined as the initiative progresses, starting in Spring 2021. These course redesign resources will be awarded to faculty-student teams. Prior to these internal award decisions, the PI team will work with faculty and students within departments to assess what instructional changes might be beneficial and well-aligned with students’ strengths and needs. That process can involve diagnosing whether your specific ideas for instructional improvement fit well with the goals of the initiative and are viable within your department.