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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of New Hampshire
  • Christopher F Bauer
  • (603) 862-1550
  • Melissa L Aikens
  • Orly Buchbinder
  • Karen J Graham
  • Dawn C Meredith
Award Date:08/12/2020
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 1,999,572
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 204,409
  • FY 2020=$204,409
Start Date:10/01/2020
End Date:09/30/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.076
Primary Program Source:040106 NSF Education & Human Resource
Award Title or Description:Transforming Undergraduate STEM Gateway Teaching and Learning by Emphasizing Core, Interdisciplinary STEM Practices
Federal Award ID Number:2013427
DUNS ID:111089470
Parent DUNS ID:001765866
Program Officer:
  • Andrea Nixon
  • (703) 292-5323

Awardee Location

Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of New Hampshire
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

This project aims to serve the national interest by improving teaching and learning in introductory biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. It will do so by making curricular improvements that help students learn core STEM skills that are needed in all STEM disciplines: reading and interpreting graphs, comparing and contrasting using ratios and proportions, and revealing one’s thinking through reflective and rich explanation. Traditional curricula do not explicitly develop these skills. Through recurring encounters with these skills across the new introductory STEM curriculum, students will learn to recognize and use these skills across disciplines and thus acquire a more integrated view of science. The new curriculum will be supported through teaching tools and approaches developed by teams of STEM faculty and undergraduates. Specifically, the faculty instructors will partner with one hundred undergraduate students who will contribute to the design of curricular materials and implement the materials as learning coaches for lecture sessions or study teams. The project includes research studies designed to document changes over time in students, learning coaches, and faculty instructors. Particular attention will be paid to including students from all populations in opportunities to serve as learning coaches and in terms of understanding the specific impacts of the teaching approach on student learning outcomes. This project has the potential to be a model for engaging students deeply in the intellectual mission of the University, through students' service as co-designers and learning coaches, and for research-guided institutional improvement in STEM education. This project aims to enact a PKAL/Keck model for institutional change that is research-informed, needs-based, community-supported, and student-resourced. It will engage faculty across STEM disciplines to collectively transform teaching and learning in the biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics gateway courses at the University of New Hampshire. The novelty of this project lies in engaging faculty in developing materials and assessments to teach interdisciplinary scientific, mathematical, and metacognitive practices that have been of persistent difficulty for students to learn and instructors to teach. The specific practices include graphical representation, proportional reasoning, and reflective self-explanation. Gateway faculty will join a learning community led by disciplinary-based education research colleagues with specialized knowledge about domain-specific disciplinary learning challenges and domain-general cognitive approaches. The faculty will be mentored along a trajectory of improved comfort, knowledge, and skill with research-based pedagogy. Undergraduate peer learning coaches, who have experienced all the gateway courses, will partner with faculty to field test and implement the designed activities with students. The project will result in new knowledge about development of students’ scientific, mathematical, and metacognitive practices and how this intellectual skill development affects STEM performance. This information can guide efforts to improve STEM education and prepare the professional STEM workforce of tomorrow and provide insights into faculty pedagogic trajectories. Project evaluation efforts will monitor faculty affordances and barriers using journals, interviews, and observations. For students, quasi-experimental contrasts of learning outcomes (concepts, skills, attitudes) will be explored as a function of exposure to interventions. It is anticipated that this project will provide a simple and replicable model that can be used at other institutions, and that could be broadened to include additional STEM disciplines and different course levels. The NSF IUSE: EHR Program supports research and development projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM education for all students. Through the Institutional and Community Transformation track, the program supports efforts to transform and improve STEM education across institutions of higher education and disciplinary communities. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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