Using Societal Issues to Recruit and Retain STEM Students

Thursday July 2, 2015 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA

Societal issues like environmental justice, sustainability, and environmental ethics are of great interest to today's students. Students are energized and mobilized by real-world issues, and instructors can expand upon these interests by becoming involved in the local community. There are many strategies that can help your students move beyond talking about issues and towards taking action, including community partnerships, place-based approaches, and taking part in research projects. These strategies are pedagogically strong, student-centered approaches that support deep learning and application. Incorporating topics that students can relate to, no matter what their major is, such as teaching about energy, water and food can further help students make the connections between what they learn in the classroom with their personal life.

This session will cover teaching strategies for capitalizing on this interest to encourage retention and persistence in STEM majors. Participants would have the opportunity to divide into groups and work with the strategy most relevant for their institutional setting. This workshop will explore a variety of classroom activities ranging from those that might take a single class meeting, to an entire semester. Workshop participants will be engaged in planning, or improving, such programs for their course or institution. Participants will be introduced to some materials that have been used successfully at other institutions, and be encouraged to offer their own materials (existing, or developed during or following the workshop) to assist in tailoring programs to improve student recruitment and retention.

Contact Jim Swartz ( with any questions.

Registration :

Please use this link to register for the workshop. Registration will be open until June 24, 2015.

This workshop is sponsored by The Iowa Illinois Nebraska STEM Partnership for Innovation in Research and Education (IINSPIRE ) using funds from NSF.

      Next Page »