Asee peer logo

Creating a STEM Identity: Investment with Return

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Engineering Student Experiences

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.328.1 - 24.328.15



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Janet Callahan Ph.D. Boise State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Janet Callahan is the Associate Dean for the College of Engineering at Boise State University and a Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department. Dr. Callahan received her Ph.D. in Materials Science, her M.S. in Metallurgy and her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Connecticut. Her educational research interests include freshmen engineering programs, math success, K-12 STEM outreach, and retention and recruitment of STEM majors.

visit author page


Patricia Pyke Boise State University

visit author page

Patricia Pyke is Director of the STEM Station at Boise State University. Her
research interests include history of women in science and engineering, STEM student success initiatives, integrating teaching and research, and institutional change. She received a B.S.E. degree in mechanical engineering from Duke University and an M.J. degree in journalism from University of California - Berkeley.

visit author page


Susan Shadle Ph.D. Boise State University

visit author page

Susan Shadle is Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Dr. Shadle received her Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Stanford University. Her current scholarship focuses in the areas of faculty development, organizational change, the use of evidence-based instructional practices, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

visit author page


R. Eric Landrum Boise State University

visit author page

R. Eric Landrum is a professor of psychology at Boise State University, receiving his PhD in cognitive psychology from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. His research interests center on the educational conditions that best facilitate student success as well as the use of SoTL strategies to advance the efforts of scientist-educators. He has over 300 professional presentations at conferences and published over 20 books/book chapters, and has published over 70 professional articles in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals. He has worked with over 275 undergraduate research assistants and taught over 12,500 students in 22 years at Boise State. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, a fellow in APA’s Division Two (Society for the Teaching of Psychology or STP), and is serving as the 2014 STP President.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Creating a STEM Identity: Investment with ReturnEstablishing a strong STEM identity on this metropolitan campus has been an important steptoward creating a climate conducive to facilitating fundamental change. Examples of suchchange include building collaborations among faculty within and across departments,establishing the identity of students as part of a community beyond their chosen major,improving the efficiency and effectiveness of university systems, and perhaps most importantlyin higher education, developing a framework to think very purposefully about ways to effectchange. The College of Engineering on this metropolitan campus began focusing heavily onstudent success initiatives in 2004 with support from the Engineering Schools of the WestInitiative, through The Hewlett Foundation. This first wave of initiatives was critically assessed,and engineering student success became a focal point for the College of Engineering. Internalresearch conducted under this grant exposed numerous roadblocks that impeded students'academic success, particularly in the mathematics sequence. In 2010, another large grant, fundedthrough the National Science Foundation Science Talent Expansion Program, was awarded tohelp focus on increasing the numbers of students graduating with STEM degrees. This grantengaged an interdisciplinary, cross-college team of educators passionate about continuousimprovement and pedagogical reform. All activities associated with this grant were deliberatelycategorized as “STEM” activities, in order to further unify the STEM community and its sense ofcommon purpose. Within approximately one year of the STEP grant's launch, a second grant wasawarded, a NSF Innovation through Institutional Integration grant. This paper discusses andpresents supporting data to show how creating a STEM identity has been a critical step towardscross-curricular integration and improvements in pedagogical training. Structures and policieshave changed on campus. Across campus, educational research and curriculum collaboration isexpanding. Information distribution to STEM majors has changed, and a sense of STEMcommunity and culture has emerged.

Callahan, J., & Pyke, P., & Shadle, S., & Landrum, R. E. (2014, June), Creating a STEM Identity: Investment with Return Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20219

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015