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Integrating a Faculty Summer Workshop with a Faculty Learning Community to Improve Introductory STEM Courses

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session I

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Tanya Kunberger P.E. Florida Gulf Coast University

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Dr. Kunberger is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering in the U. A. Whitaker College of Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Kunberger received her B.C.E. and certificate in Geochemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with a minor in Soil Science from North Carolina State University. Her areas of specialization are geotechnical and geo-environmental engineering. Educational areas of interest are self-efficacy and persistence in engineering and development of an interest in STEM topics in K-12 students.

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Laura Frost Florida Gulf Coast University

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Laura Frost is the Director of the Whitaker Center for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education and Professor of Chemistry at Florida Gulf Coast University. The Whitaker Center serves as a regional hub for expertise and leadership in STEM education reform across all levels of education including professional development for STEM faculty.
Dr. Frost is actively engaged in reforming STEM education through inquiry-based teaching and evidence-based practice and has demonstrated increased student learning in her courses using this approach. Most recently she has implemented a STEM faculty Academy at FGCU that asks faculty to incorporate evidence-based practices into introductory STEM courses and measure student learning through a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) project. She has spoken at numerous conferences and workshops on these topics. In addition, she is author of a series of guided-inquiry activities and a chemistry textbook for the health professions (Pearson Education). Her textbook takes a unique, integrated approach to the delivery of chemical topics that has been shown to increase student interest in the course.
Dr. Frost received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Kutztown University and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been teaching chemistry in higher education since 1995 and has been recognized with several teaching awards over the years.

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Jackie Greene Florida Gulf Coast University

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Dr. Jackie Greene is Assistant Director of the Lucas Center for Faculty Development at Florida Gulf Coast University. She worked in faculty development during her career with public schools, the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, and in her current position. She is involved with the SPARCT Program as a member of the planning committee and she analyzes the qualitative data for program review and assessment purposes.
Dr. Greene received her degrees from Kent State University and Florida Gulf Coast University.

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The STEM Professional Academy for Reinvigorating the Culture of Teaching (SPARCT) Program at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) combines a 36-hour May faculty workshop followed by an academic year-long faculty learning community (FLC) focused on evidence-based teaching practices. Participants teach introductory STEM courses and commit to 1) actively participating in both the May workshop and academic year FLC, 2) implementing changes in their introductory course based on one or more of the teaching practices introduced and 3) developing a scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) project based on experiences in their revised course. The summer academy includes multiple evidence-based teaching practices (such as POGIL, Mental-Model-Building, and Project Based Learning), an introduction to SoTL and IRB processes, and time for reflection and cross-disciplinary discussion of potential applications of each practice into participant courses. Discussion on the progress of participant SoTL projects and classroom peer observations both within and outside participant programs are the key components of the academic year FLC.

May 2014 and academic year 2014-2015 witnessed the first offering of the SPARCT Program, which engaged 16 STEM faculty members from across the University. The second offering is currently underway, with an additional 16 STEM faculty members who, over the two years, represent a broad spectrum of STEM faculty. Faculty development is chronicled through video interviews with participants. Additional data collected includes student retention, interest, and confidence in SPARCT introductory courses, and faculty feedback on programming. Qualitative data and results collected from the videos and quantitative data from the student surveys and faculty feedback will both be discussed. Advice and lessons learned for others interested in developing a similar program will also be discussed.

Kunberger, T., & Frost, L., & Greene, J. (2016, June), Integrating a Faculty Summer Workshop with a Faculty Learning Community to Improve Introductory STEM Courses Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25781

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