Maximize UCD undergraduates capability and resilience through evidence-based action

undergraduate education, University of California-Davis
Established: Summer 2012


Profile submitted by Marco Molinaro

Vision and Goals

The UC Davis iAMSTEM Hub is a university wide STEM education effort working across relevant disciplines to maximize UCD graduates' capability and resilience through evidence-based actions. Our three primary goals are: 1) To catalyze necessary changes in institutional culture & policy while developing professional communities to support/sustain change; 2) To catalyze and implement necessary innovations in instruction, assessment, curriculum, and experiences; and 3) To build and share analytics tools and architecture to measure and inform improvement of student outcomes and teaching practices.

Center/Program Structure

The iAMSTEM Hub is an independent unit with high expectations for internal and external collaborations and support. The Hub is run by an academic administrator and STEM educational expert with senior staff with STEM and assessment related PhDs and extensive curricular and workforce development expertise. Additionally, we have highly creative programming and support staff and numerous student assistants. The overall FTE count varies from 6-8 depending on levels of external support.

Description of Programming

Our most wide reaching programs focus on enabling evidence-based practices in most, and eventually all, beginning undergraduate STEM courses at UCD. Our immediate work is about to impact 1200 biology students and by the end of the coming academic year we will have impacted thousands more in biology, chemistry, engineering and physics. We also a thinking with data curriculum for high school that has impacted over 1000 students and is about to begin national trials.

Within our institutions we work primarily with approximately 40 STEM faculty and 15 non-STEM faculty as well as another 30-40 staff members and 7 top-level administrators with the numbers in all categories steadily increasing. Externally, we work, to varying degrees, with at least 30 other higher education professionals deeply engaged in STEM educational reform and more than 50 high school teachers and administrators engaged in curricular development and testing of materials related to the Next Generation Science Standards.

Successes and Impacts

As a one year old program our biggest impacts to date have related to our success in bringing faculty and administrators together to seriously consider instructional change, developing interactive tools for visualizing and understanding various forms of student data, and securing multiple sources of funding to begin the work. We have been able to unite instructional change efforts in biology, chemistry, and engineering and are making steady progress in math and physics. We have collected baseline instructional information from students and instructors in biology and are working to expand to all STEM areas. We are in the process of starting instructional experiments in biology, engineering and chemistry that will impact over 2000 students this coming year with potential for over 10,000 students impacted per year thereafter. Initially we will be measuring instructional approach/changes, attitudinal change, course and longitudinal performance and retention. We have also secured funding for substantial instructional improvement awards and have formed a yearly conference on the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Elements Contributing to Success

- Structural location within the Office of the Chancellor and Provost – no specific STEM affiliation but rather connected to all

- Group's focus on evidence and ability to make tools that allow easy interpretation of campus-wide student data

- Substantial Provost startup support

- 10+ year history at UCD working with multiple STEM departments on workforce development and curricular issues

- Senior leadership team all have STEM PhD's plus substantial educational degrees and/or educational experience

- Culture of collaboration and systems approach within group and with senior administrators

Supplemental Materials