ERIC Number: EJ1094743
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
The Theory and Practice of Transforming Undergraduate STEM Education: Reflections from the PKAL Experience
Narum, Jeanne L.
Liberal Education, v99 n1 Win 2013
The initial support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the group that became Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) was one of a cluster of grants the foundation made in the late 1980s to lay the groundwork for reforming the nation's undergraduate science and mathematics sector. What inspired the NSF to initiate and support these groups was a recommendation from the 1986 report of the National Science Board, Undergraduate Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education (the "Neal report"). This seminal report emerged in the context of growing despair of the quality of collegiate learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. It reflected an awareness of both the responsibilities and the opportunities for addressing a pressing national need through explicit attention to strengthening undergraduate STEM learning. Revitalizing undergraduate STEM education is a complex problem. To paraphrase H. L. Mencken, for every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. While institutions, both local and national, have a role to play, changes that "stick" are carried out in reality by academic departments, energized by faculty leadership and colleagueship, in a complex interplay that recognizes and understands local missions and local constraints, while keeping an eye on high standards set by the national STEM community.
Descriptors: STEM Education, Undergraduate Students, College Faculty, Academic Standards, Institutional Mission, Instructional Leadership, Departments, Community Colleges, Educational Change, Theory Practice Relationship, Leadership Training
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A