STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) — Advancing what works in STEM education. Institute II

The PKAL Summer Leadership Institute is designed for both early and mid-career STEM faculty engaged in leading projects aimed at transforming undergraduate STEM education in their classrooms, departments, and institutions. The five-day intensive Institute provides faculty participants with the theory and practice required to act as agents of change in their home institutions or professional societies. Held in the heart of the Rocky Mountains on the Baca Campus of Colorado College in Crestone, Colorado, PKAL has been offering Summer Leadership Institutes since 1996. Currently, over 40 percent of Institute alumni hold positions of leadership on their home campus.

Each Institute is similar in format and programming and will consist of up to twenty participants and a team of six to eight mentors who are leaders in STEM education. Through plenary seminars, experiential leadership exercises, group discussions, and personal reflection time, participants will

    engage in discussions about national, regional and local challenges and opportunities facing faculty engaged in developing stronger STEM education.
    learn from experienced mentors about the political dimensions of institutional change, the importance of understanding the institutional culture, and the changing national context for STEM leadership.
    practice the art of successful communication and negotiation.
    learn about communication style and develop an appreciation of how differences in communication styles, experience, and backgrounds enhances dialog and projects.
    reflect privately and with mentors and peers on being an agent-of-change and a leader in STEM education.
    create a leadership growth plan, with guidance from mentors, that outlines the vision, goals and strategies that will serve as an action agenda to effect change.
    join a network of colleagues from around the country who share similar goals regarding the creation of effective learning environments for all STEM learners.

The Summer Leadership Institute is designed around a carefully coordinated blend of theory, practice, as well as discussions of the politics of change and other issues of national relevance to higher education. Institute mentors play a key role in guiding the Institute, contributing first-hand experience in institutional change leadership at the local and national levels. Mentors work with participants both during the Institute in shaping a personal agenda for leadership, and following the Institute in implementing an institutional change action plan. As such, significant time is allotted for informal conversations and reflections with mentors. Additionally, the Institute utilizes a variety of approaches that include case-studies, role-playing, field trips, collaborative problem-solving exercises and experiential learning.

Comments from past institute participants:

“In particular, I attended the life changing PKAL Leadership Institutes. This weeklong workshop helped me analyze my career, set goals consistent with my talents and passions and construct a framework to enable my success by identifying benchmarks at critical points in my career. I am eternally grateful for having PKAL in my life and on my campus.”

“I went to Baca in 2004 and it was a life-changing experience. The leadership skills and professional networks I developed in that short week have had an immeasurable impact on my career and on my students’ learning and their careers.”

“As I look back on my career, one of the tipping points was when I became a member of the PKAL family. I had always had the life goal of creating environments that promote learning, and in joining PKAL, [I] was able to learn the skills, behaviors and attributes of leadership. . . I learned how to create effective learning environments, I made contacts that increased my sphere of influence and I developed leadership skills that, on my return to my own campus, facilitated me taking [on] more leadership roles.”


Baca Campus of Colorado College Crestone, CO Dates Institute I: July 23-28, 2013 Institute II: July 30 - August 4, 2013 Application Deadlines Applicant Materials: March 27, 2013 Letters of Support: April 3, 2013The PKAL Summer Leadership