SAGE Musings: How Will Cohort 3 Be Different?

Carol Ormand, SERC, Carleton College
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published Oct 24, 2019 9:38am

We're getting ready to launch the 3rd iteration of the SAGE 2YC project! The November 1st (2019) deadline for applications to be part of the 3rd cohort of faculty Change Agents is fast approaching. How will the 3rd phase of this project be different than the first two?

I see three significant differences between cohort 3 and cohorts 1 & 2:

  1. Professional development will be limited to a one-year timeline;
  2. Faculty Change Agents from cohorts 1 & 2 will be involved in planning and delivering that professional development; and
  3. We are explicitly supporting applications from multi-disciplinary cohort 3 Change Agent teams.


A third cohort of faculty Change Agents wasn't in the plan when we wrote our original grant proposal to the National Science Foundation. We planned to run the program twice: for four years with cohort 1, and for two years with cohort 2. One of the questions we planned to investigate, by running the program twice, was how the mode of delivery would affect project outcomes. In particular, we wanted to know how successfully we could run a faculty professional development program through almost entirely virtual delivery. It is partly because our experiment with cohort 2 has been so successful that we decided to apply for supplemental funds to run the SAGE 2YC faculty professional development program again, for a 3rd cohort. These funds provide just enough support to run the program for one year. As a result, we will re-structure the program -- trimming, where necessary -- to fit this new timeline.

Faculty Leaders

A subset of cohort 1 & 2 faculty Change Agents will take on leadership roles in the virtual professional development program for cohort 3 Change Agents. Each of you, whether you applied to be one of the cohort 3 leaders or not, has expertise to offer your faculty colleagues. Simultaneously, I think that being a leader for cohort 3 presents a rewarding opportunity to develop your own self-efficacy as a leader while "paying forward" what you've gained from your involvement in the project. In short, having cohort 1 & 2 faculty Change Agents as leaders is going to be a win-win.

Multi-disciplinary STEM Teams

As outlined in the call for Cohort 3 applications, SAGE 2YC Cohort 3 Change Agent teams will be composed of two or three full-time or part-time faculty from STEM fields, including at least one geoscience instructor, with all team members being from the same college. I think this is really exciting! So much of the work of the SAGE 2YC project is applicable across STEM. Even where our work has been geoscience-specific -- as in, for example, preparing students for careers in geoscience -- the strategies we are using can easily be adapted. In fact, we have adapted many of the strategies we are using from other STEM disciplines; our "geoscientist spotlights" are modeled after Schinske et al.'s (2016) scientist spotlight homework assignments.


How will all of these differences affect the outcomes of the program? Ask me in December, 2020. We will, as always, be collecting data along the way, to measure the impact of the SAGE 2YC program.


Schinske J., Perkins, H., Snyder, A., and Wyer, M. (2016). Scientist Spotlight Homework Assignments Shift Students' Stereotypes of Scientists and Enhance Science Identity in a Diverse Introductory Science Class. CBE - Life Sciences Education 15 (3)

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