Project Kaleidoscope: Leadership for Implementing Change in Undergraduate STEM Education

By Susan Elrod1, Judith Dilts2, J Lynn Zimmerman3

1. Association of American Colleges and Universities 2. James Madison University 3. Emory University

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Transforming Education: from Innovation to Implementation Conference: Session D1

Transforming undergraduate STEM education requires vision, leadership and action. Since 1996, Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), a national organization, has been offering leadership
institutes for STEM faculty members to develop their knowledge and skills as change agents who have the capacity to lead educational reform at their institutions. These institutes are
designed around a carefully coordinated blend of theory and practice, weaving discussions of issues of national import with experiences about the challenges of change together with time
for conversations and reflections with mentors. Institute mentors, who are senior leaders in STEM education, play a key role in guiding the conversations, as they bring to the table firsthand experience in leadership in institutional change at the local and national levels. The institute utilizes a variety of approaches that include case-studies, role-playing, field trips and collaborative problem-solving exercises. Experiential learning is a significant part of the institute. Mentors work with participants to shape a plan for leadership development and campus action. Each week-long institute consists of 15-20 participants and up to 10 mentors. Institutes are held at the Baca campus of Colorado College, which offers a retreat-like experience for participants to focus on their growth and development at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. The central tenant of these institutes is that in order to effect change beyond that which individual faculty members can implement, a coordinated effort led by skilled change agents must occur, and the objective is to inform, empower and energize individuals in this work. This program has been the foundation of PKAL's theory of change over the past two decades.