STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

STEP 2013 Session III-09 NOTES Creating a Faculty Fellows Community: Developing Collaboration Through Facilitation.

Session Title: Creating a Faculty Fellows Community: Developing Collaboration Through Facilitation. Session ID III-09 Scribe Name: Nitya Jacob

I. Strengths

  1. An effective model for interdisciplinary theme-based experiences with service component for STEM faculty

  2. Intentional linking of one credit hour interdisciplinary course with traditional course cluster within first two years of study

  3. Building faculty community around common interests and course

Additional Notes:

A targeted questionnaire is a good way to initiate faculty discussion about common interests and developing learning outcomes.

Weekly lunch meetings to engage faculty and build community.

Research and inquiry focus is important; students present research at undergraduate research symposium Interdisciplinary course involves important partnerships with local community organizations, centers, or environments.

Course was added to the curriculum as a repeatable course

Multiple courses designed to link with different course clusters to avoid problem of a few courses taught by a few faculty members

Scheduled so that students take the interdisciplinary course with the same instructors teaching the regular introductory course in their respective disciplines; allowed for three opportunities in each week for students to interact with each other and the professors

II. Challenges 1. Working with the registrar’s office to construct a workable schedule to link course clusters

  1. Addressing teaching load issues at institutions where load is defined by number of courses rather than number of credit hours and where faculty are not unionized

3.Needs department head support in helping with extra time involved in these courses

Additional Notes: Changes in administration can present challenges in sustaining this model Faculty need to understand that first year students are unsure of themselves Seminar had to be adjusted based on student responses after first time of implementation Change took time

III. Insights
1. This is a scalable integration approach that could be institutionalized effectively

  1. Students are able to see immediate relevance of what and how they learn in their required introductory level courses

  2. Allows for collaboration between STEM and non-STEM disciplines

III. Areas for Improvement (Needs) 1. Not directly addressed in this session.

Breakout Session Highlight: What is one key take – home message or major learning point that you or others got out if this breakout session:

Eastern Michigan University’s Creative Scientific Inquiry Experiences (CSIE) program gave us new ideas to take back to our institutions for building a faculty community and interdisciplinary connections focused on improving STEM curricula.