STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

Idaho Science Talent Expansion Program 2014- Creating a STEM Identity: Investment with Return

Establishing a sense of STEM community for students, faculty and staff benefited students, helped faculty and staff to realize commonalities and create connections and ultimately led to an increased university-level awareness of science, technology, engineering and mathematics on this campus.

Idaho Science Talent Expansion Program 2014: Creating a STEM Identity: Investment with Return The Idaho Science Talent Expansion Program at Boise State University is a project focused on the first-year STEM student experience. This year we report on how intentionally thinking about STEM students, faculty and programming in a holistic manner has created a STEM identity on campus. The STEM identity has brought benefits to our students, faculty and staff, as well as an appreciation for STEM at the administrative level. The two major identity development thrusts were in the areas of creating a community of STEM students and a community of STEM instructional faculty. We created a community of STEM students by merging the summer orientation activities for all engineering, mathematics and science majors; providing co-curricular activities such as a math-science enrichment program; and providing undergraduate research opportunities for STEM freshmen. Our efforts were enhanced and supported by coordination with other STEM programs. We have realized an increase in STEM first-time, full-time retention of 6% between freshmen entering fall, 2009 and those entering fall, 2012 as well as an increase in STEM graduates from 197 in 2007-8 to 354 in 2012-13. The community of STEM instructional faculty was initiated with Faculty Learning Communities starting in the 2010-11 academic year. Thus far, approximately 30 instructors have participated in the program. This activity encouraged pedagogical development and community building among STEM faculty. These efforts resulted many faculty incorporating evidence-based instructional practices and also in faculty partnering with one another on other grants and initiatives. One such effort resulted in a recently awarded $2M NSF WIDER grant. This new effort is focused on substantially scaling up evidence-based instructional practices used in STEM courses in order to improve student learning, retention and graduation in STEM majors.

Lead Author

  • Janet Callahan


Name Organization
Jude Garzolini STEM Station
Susan Shadle Department of Chemistry and Center of Teaching and Learning
Doug Bullock Department of Mathematics
Gary Hunt Department of Physics
Joe Guarino College of Engineering

Institution Information

  • Name: Boise State University
  • State: ID

Poster Information

  • ID: FD-003
  • Disciplinary Focus: All STEM
  • Award Number: 0856815
  • Project Year 5+