FRESNO – The National Science Foundation awarded a $1.5 million grant to Fresno State’s College of Science and Mathematics to enhance the quality of teaching in introductory science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses.
Awarded under the National Science Foundation’s “Widening Implementation & Demonstration Evidence-Based Reforms” (WIDER) program, the grant will establish four faculty learning communities called Faculty Learning for Outcomes and Knowledge (FLOCKs).
“This is a very exciting opportunity to provide faculty with the resources they need to develop new expertise to create the most engaging and relevant learning environments for freshmen majoring in STEM,” said Dr. Susan Elrod, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.
“Our goal is to improve both learning and persistence of students in these courses to provide them with a strong start in their degree programs.”
Over a three-year period, the 24-member faculty cohort will redesign eight introductory courses in biology, chemistry, math and physics. These redesigned courses will impact nearly 900 students majoring in STEM programs at Fresno State. “We are always striving to improve instruction, but this large NSF grant will provide the resources to do it on a larger scale for the students who need it most,” said Dr. Lance Burger, one of the project leaders.
Faculty will also develop expertise in teaching methods that help improve student learning and increase the number of STEM majors, particularly underrepresented minority students, and their graduation rates. These grant activities are aimed at helping to create an enhanced culture of faculty leadership, collaborative curriculum design and accountability for student success.
According to Dr. Ulrike Muller, another project leader, “Fresno State’s science faculty will lead the way in preparing instructors to educate globally competitive STEM graduates.”