Gateways-ND is a five-year (2015-2020) National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded instructional faculty and staff development program that is designed to offer relevant, collaborative, and sustained support to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educators at North Dakota State University. Each fall, 30+ instructional faculty and staff form a cohort that participates in workshops and ongoing faculty learning communities (FLCs) over two years. To date, 103 faculty have been a part of three cohorts. The instructional material of the program draws on current evidence-based pedagogy and course design to teach faculty and staff how to create and/or reinvent STEM courses to be learner-focused and engaging. The aims are to increase student learning, improve student outcomes in gateways (high-enrollment, first-year, high D, F, and W rate) STEM courses, and to form mutually supportive groups of faculty interested in teaching and learning.
Gateways-ND has been successfully running for two years. In total, 56% of the 103 participating faculty are women, and the 83 STEM participants (52% women) come from a wide variety of STEM fields, including the biological, pharmaceutical, geological, plant, animal, and computer sciences, industrial, electrical, civil and environmental, and mechanical engineering, psychology, coatings and materials, physics, and math. The 20 non-STEM participants, who were funded through additional sources from the Office of the Provost, participated in the program to extend active learning ideologies past STEM disciplines within the institution.
Each cohort includes 10 full days of workshops spread over 1.5 years, as well as smaller Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) that meet every three weeks during the academic year. Teaching-related data has been collected using the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) instrument and student attitudinal data using separate surveys. Participant journals show the positive impact of the FLCs and other project collaborations have on active learning-based teaching, including assessment. Workshops examining learner analytics (i.e., using early student course performance to identify and intervene with students) resulted in suggested courses of action including early alert messaging, further integrating existing student support services, and framing interventions to increase student belonging. Classes are also becoming more active for students. Instructors are showing a 20% year-over-year reduction (M = 67.61%, S.D. = 23.8% vs. M = 56.32%, S.D. = 21.6% percent of coding intervals) in lecturing, as captured by the COPUS for the first cohort [t(27) = -2.30, p = .03] and a three-fold year-over-year increase (M = 5.2%, S.D. = 9.4% vs. M = 16.1%, SD = 21.6% percent of coding intervals) in the amount of time instructors use group work in the classroom [t(27) = 2.52, p =.02].
Gateways-ND will continue for three more years (until 2020), at which time over 150 faculty will have completed the two-year faculty development program at North Dakota State University, which will directly impact the educational experiences of nearly 30,000 students.
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