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:

An Initiative that Support Faculty Who Teach Persistently Challenging Courses

 

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. The initiative is offered in conjunction with the “Advancing the STEM Agenda” conference scheduled for June 3-4, 2013, at Grand Valley State University. Among the conference keynote presentations, workshops, and peer-reviewed conference papers, will be sessions on:

  • Strategies that improve student learning in STEM courses;
  • Significant research and best practices for student success; and
  • STEM learning communities and models for a learning culture.

This initiative aims to increase student success in persistently challenging STEM courses, thereby decreasing non-completion rates (the percent of D, F, or W grades) by a statistically significant amount. A timeline for achieving this goal is presented below.

 Summer 2013

  • Identify factors that contribute to student success in the persistently challenging courses;
  • Identify factors that hinder student success in the courses;
  • 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.

June 2013

  • Participate in the “Advancing the STEM Agenda” conference; and
  • Convene faculty members to debrief and discuss ideas generated by or at the conference.

July 2013

  • Identify or develop and provide professional development opportunities that will support the STEM faculty members in their efforts to increase student success in the courses. While these opportunities will be targeted towards the needs and goals of the cohorts, any interested faculty member will be invited to participate. Examples of such opportunities include FCTL-facilitated workshops on, for example, the “flipped classroom,” High Impact Educational Practices, rubrics, or formative assessment; and
  • Develop a means for measuring the impact of the changes on student success.

Fall Semester 2013

  • Reconvene the cohorts to:
    • Identify and share lessons learned from the professional development activities; and
    • Identify and establish opportunities for ongoing collaboration.
  • Begin implementing changes in the STEM courses or teaching practice;
  • Document the implemented changes as the courses progress;
  • Meet with cohorts to discuss progress and trouble-shoot possible problems; and
  • Collect data on the impact of the implemented changes on student success.

Spring Semester 2014

  • Analyze data;
  • Meet with cohorts to 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 Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs has allocated up to $12,520 to support two Advancing Student Success in STEM projects. A project will involve a group or cohort of faculty and staff, if appropriate, that seeks to address student success and retention issues in one or more STEM courses. An estimated budget required to support one cohort of faculty members involved in the STEM initiative is provided in the table below.

Expense per cohort of 5 faculty members

Cost

Academic Department stipend

$   2,500

“Advancing the STEM Agenda” conference

$   2,200

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

$   1,000

Refreshments for cohort meetings ($40 per meeting)

April - July 2013 (6 meetings)

$     240

September 2013 - April 2014 (8 meetings)

$     320

TOTAL COST per cohort

$   6,260

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

  • STEM faculty members;
  • Academic administrators;
  • 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; and
  • Academic Support Center staff.

 Personnel

The Focus on Student Success Grants Program requires the collaborative efforts of individuals and groups across campus. These include:

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

 Assistance may also be provided by:

  • Education Counseling and Disabilities Services staff;
  • Structured Learning Assistance (SLA) staff; and
  • Academic Support Center 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.