NSF FLOCK Project

PROJECT TITLE: Faculty Learning for OutComes and Knowledge (FLOCK)

PI: Dean Susan Elrod, College of Science & Mathematics (selrod@csufresno.edu)

Co-PIs:

PROJECT GOALS:

  1. To build a more engaged, experienced and dedicated community of faculty members in the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) who know about and use evidence-based teaching methods,
  2. to substantially improve student learning and success in introductory science and mathematics courses, and
  3. to increase the numbers of students majoring in STEM disciplines.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

The project will establish a model of professional development that uses faculty learning communities to advance and spread evidence-based educational practices throughout the College of Science & Mathematics (CSM). Four faculty learning communities, called FLOCKs (Faculty Learning for OutComes and Knowledge), will be based in the departments that offer the most common "gateway" or introductory courses required for all STEM majors: Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. Together these courses enroll nearly 900 STEM major freshmen as well as a similar number of non-STEM students.

FLOCK members will receive one month of summer salary, core members will also receive one course release annually and the leader will receive two courses of release time annually. FLOCK membership may fluctuate as teaching assignments shift, but the leader will remain constant.

The number of faculty members who will be impacted by the project is significant -- potentially over 60 tenured/tenure track faculty members, 50 part-time faculty, and nearly 100 graduate teaching assistants (TAs) in the four departments. At a minimum, we expect this project to have direct impact on faculty members teaching the targeted introductory courses. On an annual basis, 40 lecture sections and over 90 laboratory sections of these courses are taught. A second tier of 40 faculty members, 30 part-time faculty and 70 graduate teaching assistants in other CSM departments will be indirectly influenced by the project through FLOCK-sponsored events and interactions on the FLOCK Blackboard site. Finally, a third tier of faculty members in sister colleges will be potentially influenced by interactions with their Steering Committee liaisons

Members of each FLOCK will advance their own knowledge and expertise, and will also spread expertise to others in CSM, expanding the number of faculty members who know about and use evidence-based teaching approaches as they work on curricular reform projects. Evidence-based teaching practices are those identified by science education research as effective in improving student learning and progression in their programs. They are often referred to as student-centered pedagogies, such as SCALE-UP studio classes, Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Labs (POGIL), Peer-led, Team Learning and Problem-Based Learning, as opposed to teacher-centered pedagogies such as traditional lecturing. The project will also establish Fresno State as a leader in evidence-based faculty development and curriculum reform for similar institutions around the country.

NSF GRANT #: DUE-1347822   (WIDER)

GRANT PERIOD: September 1 , 2014 - August 31, 2017