Initial Publication Date: December 11, 2018

Change in Departments and Institutions via Active Learning RAC (Change DIAL RAC)

Core Leadership

Chris Rasmussen, San Diego State University; Wendy Smith, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; David Webb, University of Colorado Boulder; Rob Tubbs, University of Colorado Boulder; Howard Gobstein, APLU; David Bressoud, CBMS

Type of Project

Research and Implementation

Original Proposal

A fundamental goal of the Change in Departments and Institutions via Active Learning (Change DIAL) Research Action Cluster (RAC) is to develop a better understanding of how STEM Education Centers can help enact and support institutional change for improving department-level factors that influence student success over the entire progression of the introductory mathematics courses that are required of most STEM majors, beginning with Precalculus and continuing through the full year of single variable calculus. We refer to this sequence as Precalculus to Calculus 2 (P2C2). The underlying research question we are addressing is: What conditions, strategies, interventions and actions at the institutional, center, departmental and classroom levels contribute to the initiation, implementation, and institutional sustainability of improvement in the undergraduate P2C2 sequence across varied institutions?

The proposed work enlists the capacities and reach of STEM Education Centers to build on and extend two current, large-scale NSF funded projects whose ongoing work is aligned with the goal of this RAC. The two current NSF projects are the Student Engagement in Active Learning through an Institutional Network for Active Learning (SEMINAL) project and the Progress through Calculus (PtC). Individually, these two projects are making important advances with both projects using a case study methodology. When coupled with the reach and capacity of the National STEM Education Center network, the Change DIAL RAC will amplify individual efforts and lay the ground work for a synergistic, national effort to change the way that high enrollment introductory mathematics courses are taught across the country.

Proposed Deliverables

  • To focus institutional change efforts and capitalize on promising levers identified by the PtC and SEMINAL projects, the Change DIAL RAC will hold a joint PtC-SEMINAL meeting with the 20+ departments involved in these separate projects as well as STEM Education Center directors. The meeting, to be held May 29-31, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska, will involve case study partners across the two projects and STEM Education Center directors. The joint meeting will:
    • Include roundtable working groups, panel presentations, and a series of parallel contributed talks by case study leaders to showcase their change efforts and share lessons learned;
    • Focus on the following three drivers for change: (1) the increased use of active learning strategies; (2) course variations that support students with less preparation; and (3) course coordination to foster equitable student experiences and faculty collaboration;
    • Emphasize three cross-cutting themes where STEM Education Centers may have the most significant impact – use of local data, attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and instructor professional development.
  • We will produce a report (to be posted on the PtC and SEMINAL websites as well as those of the involved STEM Education Centers) with handouts and PowerPoint presentations from the meeting for easy access and quick dissemination.
  • Disseminate our partnership model that connects a university-based project and a disciplinary society-led project together with STEM Education Center directors in order to leverage greater institutional change.