Engaging an entire STEM division in professional development: supporting students through the whole curriculum

Wednesday 4:30pm-5:45pm Student Union: Ballroom B
Poster Session Part of Wednesday Session


Kaatje van der Hoeven Kraft, Whatcom Community College
Ed Harri, Whatcom Community College
Change at the core (C-Core), an NSF-funded program provides professional development for 60 STEM faculty across 3 interlinked institutions focusing on student-centered learning in geology, biology, chemistry, physics, math, engineering, and computer science. A primary goal of C-Core is to increase participation by underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. C-Core is a partnership between Western Washington University and regional 2YC partners (Whatcom & Skagit). The C-Core model is based on the premise that a critical mass of reformed instructors leads to departmental adoption of student-centered, inclusive learning. While C-Core involved primarily full-time STEM faculty, WCC identified a need to support adjunct faculty in these curricular reforms since they teach almost 50% of our courses. As a result, 30 STEM division full-time and adjunct faculty spent 2 ½ days engaged in learning how to reform their courses. Using a retreat, we were able to incorporate informal interactions that helped to build a community within the division.

This program was coordinated, supported, and facilitated by the Integrate Traveling Workshop Program. By bringing in those who had been participating in the C-core program with those who had not, we were able to start normalizing the language and create a culture of reform within the division. This is critical to support STEM students across an entire program, particularly with geoscience students who take most of their pre-requisites outside of the geoscience curriculum prior to transfer. Ongoing conversations through professional learning communities across math and science faculty continue this year examining how to support students through language translation across classes, how we use graphs, calculators, technology, and also supporting teaching and learning efforts. The challenges of time still exist, but the desire to make time has allowed for greater efforts to support these important conversations as we move forward in supporting students.

Presentation Media

C-Core Poster (Acrobat (PDF) 4.4MB Jul5 17)