Advancing Student Success in STEM

Retention and Student Success in Persistently Challenging Courses

Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning | Retention and Student Success

Ferris State University


Advancing Student Success in STEM

The Advancing Student Success in STEM initiative is designed for faculty who teach persistently challenging science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses.  It is intended to be a collaborative effort among STEM colleges at FSU, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, and other offices and personnel in the Retention and Students Success area.  As with the LEAPS Initiative, the Advancing Student Success in STEM is aimed at engaging and supporting a teamor cohort of faculty members in reflection, analysis, and implementation.  It is expected that this work will be collaborative and entail involvement from all members of the team.  FCTL’s role is to provide support and assistance, based on the team’s needs.  This could include help with clarifying research questions, planning the work process, conducting literature reviews, and/or collecting, organizing, and analyzing data. 

It is important to note that the Advancing Student Success in STEM initiative is offered in conjunction with a STEM-related conference that is identified by the team as a conference that has high potential to contribute significantly to college- , school- or department-, program-, or course-specific challenges, issues, or obstacles that impede STEM student success.  The timeline and budget below include accommodations for the conference.

One last note: While a timeline for Advancing Student Success in STEM projects is offered below, it is not a strict timeline and can and will be modified based on the needs of individual projects.

Semester One (first semester or summer that a cohort participates in the initiative)

During the first semester or summer months, FCTL anticipates that the Advancing Student Success in STEM team(s) will focus on determining the possible reasons a relatively high percent of students in the identified course(s) get D, F, and/or W grades.  During this time, a team is likely to:

  • Identify factors that contribute to student success in the persistently challenging STEM course(s);
  • Identify factors that hinder student success in the course(s);
  • Identify ways to apply the findings from the literature reviewed in this report; and
  • Review other course- or discipline-specific research literature, and apply findings as appropriate.


In addition, during the Spring or Summer 2014 time period, teams will identify an appropriate STEM conference in which the team will participate.  Participation in the conference will occur as early as possible in the project timeline.

Semester Two (second semester or summer that a cohort participates in the initiative)

During the second semester or summer months, FCTL will work with Advancing Student Success in STEM team(s) to:

  • Participate in the conference (if not having done so before now);
  • Convene faculty members to debrief and discuss ideas generated by or at the conference (again, if not having done so already);
  • Identify faculty learning opportunities that will support faculty members in their efforts to increase student success in the STEM course(s).  While these opportunities will be targeted towards the needs and goals of the team, they may be open to the campus community.  Examples of such opportunities include:
    • FCTL-facilitated workshops on, for example, the “flipped classroom,” High Impact Educational Practices, rubrics, or formative assessment; and
    • Conferences, workshops, or symposia offered outside of FSU.
  • Identify appropriate changes in the STEM course(s) or teaching practice; and
  • Develop a means for measuring the impact of the changes on student success.


Semester Three (third semester that a cohort participates in the initiative)

During third semester, FCTL anticipates that faculty members involved in the initiative will implement one or more intervention(s) in their class(es) and assess the effectiveness of the intervention(s).  During this time, FCTL and teams are likely to:

  • Implement the changes to the STEM course(s);
  • Document the implemented changes as the course(s) progress(es);
  • Meet with cohorts to discuss progress and trouble-shoot possible problems; and
  • Collect data on the impact of the implemented changes on student success.


Final Semester (final semester or summer that a cohort participates in the initiative)

During final period of the initiative, teams will work together with FCTL to:

  • Analyze data;
  • Determine lessons learned and implications for future offerings of the STEM courses;
  • Evaluate overall effectiveness of the Advancing Student Success in STEM initiative and implications for possible future work with new STEM faculty cohorts; and
  • Determine on-going cohort needs and means for providing continued support.


Budget

The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning anticipates funding at least two Advancing Student Success in STEM projects beginning as early as Spring 2014.  An estimated budget for supporting one cohort of five STEM faculty members is provided below. 


Expense per cohort of 5 faculty members

    Cost

Academic Department stipend

$   2,500

“Advancing the STEM Agenda” conference

$   2,025

Resources (e.g., books, curricular materials, etc.)

$   1,000

Refreshments for cohort meetings ($40 per meeting)

Semesters One and Two (6 meetings) 

$      240

Semesters Three and Four (8 meetings) 

$      320

TOTAL COST per cohort 

$   6,085

Personnel

The Advancing Student Success in STEM initiative requires the collaborative efforts of individuals and groups across campus. These include:

  • STEM faculty members;
  • Academic administrations;
  • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs;
  • Associate Provost of Retention and Student Success; and
  • Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning staff.


Other individuals and groups that may provide important assistance include:

  • Education Counseling and Disabilities Services staff;
  • Structured Learning Assistance (SLA) staff;
  • Academic Support Center staff;
  • The Writing Center staff; and
  • Office of Institutional Research and Testing staff.


To submit a proposal for funding support from the Advancing Student Success in STEM initiative, please complete the proposal form.  Questions can be directed to FCTL at fctl@ferris.edu or (231) 591-3826.