Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Faculty Development Constituency Committee
This Work in Progress describes an exploration of the roles that faculty development play in educational reform to increase student retention in engineering programs and support student success in STEM courses. Focus in recent years on the recruitment and retention of diverse student populations in engineering and other STEM programs is evident in the number of reports that highlight its importance, declare calls to action and identify critical factors that impact student retention (NAP 2017, APLU 2016). Additional motivation for institutions to address student retention has been provided by funding opportunities (such as those from the National Science Foundation, Gates Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, American Association of Universities) and state funding models that include the number and type of degrees awarded. High-impact educational practices that evidence improvements in the retention and graduation of STEM students from diverse backgrounds have been identified (AAC&U 2008). A broad set of institutions have developed and implemented programs aimed that include these high impact practices to address challenges to the retention of their students. For example, programs include student support services, enhanced advising, and cohort-based programs and some also address curricular challenges to student success, such as by revising the curriculum (e.g., course sequencing and content) and using evidence-based instructional practices (AAU 2017).
With improvements in student retention at the University of Southern Indiana (USI) related to the implementation of multiple student support programs, attention is shifting to changes in the curriculum and instruction as additional efforts to improve student retention. This provides opportunities for the faculty development office (or its center for teaching and learning, CTL) to collaborate with departments in these student retention efforts. The process of developing and sustaining collaborations between the CTL, department chairs, faculty members, administration, and other units in efforts to improve student retention in STEM courses is grounded in educational change strategies and motivation theory. Using as starting points the four types of change strategies described by Henderson et al. (disseminating curriculum and pedagogy, enacting policy, developing reflective teachers, and developing a shared vision) and expectancy-value theory of motivation, the CTL is leveraging its networks and programs to intentionally initiate and facilitate conversations around student retention with different groups. Faculty development often is engaged in disseminating pedagogy through learning workshops and programs hosted by the CTL. How else might the CTL be involved through additional change strategies and be part of the process early on and throughout. A systematic plan to proactively involve the CTL in processes to gain deeper understanding of student success challenges, develop buy-in, and articulate retention goals with faculty and academic units. This work in progress also seeks feedback from the community that can be used to strategically collaborate with faculty, chairs, administrators, and other offices on improving student retention through efforts that include changes in instruction, curricula, and policy.
Chan Hilton, A. B. (2018, June), Work in Progress: Collaborating with Faculty Development in Retention Improvement Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31276
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