A: Institutional Supports and Barriers for Transformation

TITLE: Applying the CACAO Change Facilitation Model to Promote Systemic Transformation

PRESENTERS: Pat Pyke, Boise State University; Susan Shadle, Ph.D., Boise State University; Karen Viskupic, Ph.D., Boise State University; Amy Moll, Ph.D., Boise State University; Anthony Marker, Boise State University; R. Eric Landrum, Ph.D., Boise State University; and Tony Roark, Ph.D., Boise State University

Our goal as STEM educators is to apply the rich and deep body of research on effective instructional practices — everything from discipline specific strategies to optimized learning spaces — to transform student learning, persistence and degree attainment. To achieve this ambitious goal at our institution (around 3,500 undergrad STEM students), our team is applying a change facilitation model from the business world, Dormant’s CACAO model, to systematically explore and address supports and barriers at all institutional levels. The CACAO model guides us in translating scholarly change theory into an actionable plan to propagate evidence-based instructional practices (EBIPs) throughout our STEM curricula.

As part of an NSF WIDER project begun in fall 2013, we facilitated data-gathering conversations with more than 190 science, engineering and mathematics faculty to learn their perceptions of the proposed shift to student-centered, evidence-based teaching practices. Faculty were asked to identify factors in five categories (relative advantage, simplicity, compatibility, adaptability and social impact) that serve as either driving or restraining forces for change. We have also supported a team of faculty advocates to implement seven first-wave projects centered on EBIPs and conducted campus-wide surveys on teaching practices and instructional climate.

Results from the facilitated conversations, first-wave projects and surveys have enabled us to engage faculty with plans for pedagogical change and university leaders to address institutional supports and barriers such as classroom space planning, policies and resources. In this session, we will present how we are applying Dormant’s CACAO model to support and overcome personal, departmental and institutional obstacles to widespread adoption of effective EBIPs. Our intention is to provide a model applicable and adaptable for institutions nationally.


TITLE: The Importance of Context: Departmental Variations in Factors Influencing Adoption of Educational Innovations

PRESENTERS: Travis J. Lund, Oregon Institute of Technology, and Marilyne Stains, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Research at the secondary and post-secondary levels has clearly demonstrated the critical role of individual and contextual characteristics in instructor adoption of educational innovations. Although recent research has begun to shed light on factors influencing STEM faculty teaching practices, it is still not well understood how unique departmental environments impact faculty adoption of evidence-based instructional practices within the context of a single institution. In this study, we have sought to characterize the communication channels and external and internal factors that influence STEM faculty teaching practices at the departmental level.

Accordingly, we have collected survey and observational data from the majority of the chemistry, biology and physics faculty at a single large research-intensive university. In particular, faculty have reported the extent to which their teaching has been influenced (positively or negatively) by various external and internal factors, including departmental expectations, course or classroom constraints, resource availability and faculty attitudes. In this presentation, we will report on systematic similarities and differences between these three departments in terms of teaching influences and communication channel usage. In addition, we have identified the communication channels and internal and external teaching influences that are correlated with high or low adoption of evidence-based instructional practices. An understanding of these supports and barriers, including the consideration of individual, departmental and institutional characteristics, will aid stakeholders in the successful propagation of educational innovations.


TITLE: Achieving Large-Scale STEM Education Improvement at a Research University

PRESENTERS: Craig Ogilvie, Iowa State University, and Charles Henderson, Western Michigan University

We have implemented a large-scale education change at Iowa State University, with the main goal of engaging first and second-year students by having them do science within their courses. Groups of 80 faculty across all our science departments have worked in Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) to adapt ideas to what works best with their disciplines. These FLCs have 1) added extended five- to six-week research projects into lab courses so that all science students conduct research; 2) changed all of our large-enrollment introductory labs from “cookbook” to inquiry; and 3) added active learning to large classes. We are now impacting over 10,000 students each year.

Our presentation incorporates two conference themes: institutional supports and barriers for transformation and faculty development for educational innovation. We will briefly describe the impact these changes have had on students, but spend more time on the process of change, especially how departments have been engaged in the reform. We will examine this through two lenses: the Eight-Stage Leadership Process described by John Kotter and Dan Cohen and the Complexity Leadership Theory described by Mary Uhl-Bien. By generalizing our results, we aim to help other universities utilize emergent change to achieve their education reforms.


TITLE: Integration and Transformation: Steps toward Institutionalizing Undergraduate Research at Hunter College

PRESENTERS: Rachel B. Verni, Hunter College and Annemarie Nicols-Grinenko, Hunter College

Addressing the theme of institutional supports and barriers for transformation, this presentation will highlight the steps that Hunter College has taken to institutionalize undergraduate research on its  campus. Over the past several years, the Offices of the President, Provost and Vice President for Student Affairs have collaborated with faculty and students to advance a culture of undergraduate research that is completely aligned with, and supportive of, the two major planks of Hunter’s strategic plan— to become a more research-oriented institution and to increase efforts to support student success.

Several initiatives that have contributed to this ongoing transformation will be discussed, starting with a presidential initiative in 2007 and including a five-year NSF grant to establish Hunter’s-Science Mathematics Opportunities Network (SciMON), the implementation of an undergraduate research initiative to support student-faculty research in and beyond the sciences and the institutionalization of an annual undergraduate research conference to recognize and celebrate student-faculty research efforts. These activities — along with a new undergraduate research hub website that serves a centralized source of information and advice — both enhance awareness of research opportunities and provide support for Hunter’s students and faculty. Other features of Hunter’s effort, which are critical to creating a sustainable infrastructure that can accommodate growth and continuing innovation, will also be discussed.