Krish Mathur U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education STEM Higher Education – changing roles with a paradigm Shift
US Department of Education • Mission - To promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. • HEOA (Higher Education Opportunity Act) created DoED Programs
Higher Education Agenda • Access • Increased access facilitates greater numbers of students completing an advanced program of study (IHEs, adult education, career-technical education, apprenticeships, etc) • Completion • Increased retention and persistence lead to more students completing degrees, certificates and industry-recognized credentials • Quality • High quality research is the engine of America’s social and economic prosperity • High-quality research and data enable us to know what practices work best to increase student success • High-quality teacher preparation programs produce teachers and principals who are better equipped to positively impact the educational achievement of students • High-quality integrated data systems allow us to track progress toward the goal, improve educational delivery systems and implement best practices • Resilience and Prosperity • IHEs and their partners must together build or sustain capacity to enable students to continue to learn and adapt to the inevitable changes that will take place over time in our workplaces, environment and society; this resilience is the purpose behind the President’s goal
Higher Education – Specific Programs • Access • Equal opportunity for under-served and under-represented minorities • Undergraduate enrollment will increase from 17.6M (2009) to 19.6M in 2020 • Affordability • Disadvantaged students • Average tuition and fees (2008-09) at a 4-year institution was $12,100 and institution expenses per FTE student $23,398 • Retention • Learning support, interest and motivation • Quality • Skills, team-work, critical thinking, decision-making, communication, etc • Completion • Only 60% students graduate in 6-years • Accountability • Transparency of learning ‘gains’ – For parents, students, policy makers, and other stakeholders • APLU and AASCU program on VSA (Voluntary System of Accountability)
Key implications for STEM Education • PK-20 Strategy. Neither K-12 strategies nor higher education strategies alone are likely to drive dramatic improvements. Whole system change—and system leadership—is necessary. • STEM-capable K-12 teachers are vital to increasing the pool of likely STEM majors. • At the elementary level, this means focusing on recruiting, preparing, and hiring teachers with appropriate content knowledge background. • At all levels, this means providing tools as well as focused preparation and professional development on content and pedagogy. • Inspire potential STEM majors. The pool of proficient and interested 12th graders is small; a larger pool of proficient and not interested 12th graders could be motivated and inspired to pursue STEM majors. • Make quick undergraduate wins. Focusing on increasing retention of undergraduate education could yield early and significant progress towards goals. • Connect with school systems : State and Local Education Authorities (SEAs and LEAs) will need access to STEM expertise that generally resides at universities and in STEM-focused businesses. • Federal agencies work together for greater impact: Large STEM education focused resources exist throughout the Federal government. ($3.7B total)
Department of Education • STEM education programs -2011 obligations • Developing HSI STEM and Articulation Programs – 100M • Graduate Assistants in Areas of National need – 40M • Maths and Science Partnerships (K12) – 175M • Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program - 9.5M • Teachers for a competitive tomorrow – Bachelors and Masters degrees in STEM – 0 (2.2M in 2010) • Upward Bound Math-Science – 34M • Women’s Educational Equity – 2.4M • FIPSE – Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education
Education and Policy How shall we move forward when - • The United States has no federal Ministry of Education • There is no centralized authority exercising single national control over Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) in the U.S. • IHEs in general are permitted to operate with considerable independence and autonomy. • As a consequence, American educational institutions can vary widely in the character and quality of their programs. • The 50 States assume varying degrees of control over K-20 education • How should Universities collectively contribute to STEM Higher Education? • How to encourage IHEs to adopt best teaching practices?
Institutional Change – UMBC example • Establish Priorities and Change Culture • Use resources effectively and efficiently • Culture: Values, practices, habits, relationships among all. • Involve all in change process. • Examine policies, practices, attitudes: Take a critical look at yourself • Chemistry course re-design increased majors by 70% • Process requires • Senior leadership • Development of institutional vision and buy-in • Capacity for transformation and maintaining change • Leveraging resources – e.g. on professional development for faculty • Ref Institutional Change in Higher Education – Innovation and Collaboration by Freeman Hrabowski et al
UMBC– Changes Process • Increasing access and success • Create a climate that encourages • Open communication about key questions • Honesty about strengths and challenges • Development of innovative strategies • Use technology to learn about students and track their progress • Move beyond test scores and grades to learn about their backgrounds and aspirations • Conduct follow up interviews with students who have left
UMBC - Outcomes • Retention and graduation rates for URM students (including not in the Meyerhoff Program) equal their rates for ALL students, both in STEM fields and across ALL disciplines. • Catalytic effect on STEM teaching paradigm on campus • Catalytic effect on all other disciplines All science courses are now being re-designed. New curricula on their website.
Socio-cultural Aspects • Is U.S. a victim of its own excesses? • Kids have too much? • Less desire to compete and achieve is when they have everything provided? How to inspire them? • Are URM falling into similar mindset? • IHEs should work with schools, parents and community to portray correct image of Higher Education • Demands of the ‘global’ work place in the new world order: Ethics, integrity, team work, communication. • ‘Science can be fun’ as well as demanding (it is hard) • Re-build the image of engineering (as was in the past)
Sustainability and ROI • Institutionalization • How many IHEs continue programs after government funding ends (my guess – less than 20%) • How to maximize impact of our investment? (Director Suresh at CEOSE meeting) • In last 10 years NSF funding for Higher Education increased • Across the board – 67% • Broadening Participation – 127% • HSI – 200% We have a long way to go . We need greater impact (better return) and ability to sustain. Ref - CEOSE – Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (2009-2010) Biennial Report to Congress
High School Articulation Ecosystem K-12 College Society • Work with high schools to provide a seamless connection (We have a boundary condition) • This may require re-designing K-20 curricula. • PCAST Report on K-12 has recommended re-designing science curricula • Achieve, Inc (Supported by NGA and CCSSO) • Developed Math and English core standards • Now developing sciences core standards • Also, with a grant from ED (Race to the Top) developing appraisal standards • Working with 24 State school system and IHEs • To ensure the standards are acceptable to IHEs
Community Colleges • Work with community colleges • Of the nations 14 M undergraduates, more than 40% attend community colleges • Forty (40%) are enrolled part time • Thirty (30%) are older than 24 years • Many exemplars including FIU • They are also supporting teacher education
STEM • STEM is not just for a career in science and technology • Let me (not) preach to the choir • “All” students should understand the nature of science to help their reasoning abilities, problem-solving skills, and creative thinking. • ‘What makes people successful are their motivation, drive and ability to learn from mistakes, and how hard they work’. (Vivek Wadhva) • PCAST report on K12 on how to teach sciences • Engage non-STEM students with STEM students in projects that address today’s challenges in climate change, energy, environment, and need for much more innovation and investments in new technologies, such as nanotechnology and biotechnology. • Note: Among 652 U.S.-born chief executive officers and heads of product engineering at 502 technology companies - only 37% held degrees in engineering or computer technology, and just 2 percent held them in mathematics. (VivekWadhva in NYT)
Beyond Learning a Discipline • Think of your students as future leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, as well as part of the workforce needed to sustain and grow our economy • Students’ (and employers’) expectation of a solid ‘disciplinary’ training may appear to be in conflict with educational goals of preparing them for the (global) society, for the workforce (vis-à-vis the new knowledge economy), lifelong learning and resilience • Balance both sets of expectations: “Broad-based” education debate is not over – yet. • Work with professional and accreditation bodies (ABET etc) to redefine ‘disciplinary training’ and thus the Body of Knowledge (BOK) to include higher order learning skills
Higher Order Learning Skills With a grant from ED, AAC&U recently developed the following set of meta-rubrics to measure higher order learning skills • Inquiry and analysis • Critical thinking • Creative thinking • Written communication • Oral communication • Quantitative literacy • Information literacy • Reading • Teamwork • Problem solving • Civic knowledge and engagement—local and global • Intercultural knowledge and competence • Ethical reasoning and action • Foundations and skills for lifelong learning • Integrative learning • One or more rubrics now being used by 2000 institutions in the U.S., and also in Japan, HK, Australia and UAE • 39 institutions in the U.S. using these for institutional collaboration • Available for download from AAC&U website
K-12 Science Education • Engineering education change should reflect a new paradigm for K-12 education • PCAST report on K-12 recommendations: • Science and engineering education • Should focus on a limited number of disciplinary core areas and cross-cutting concepts • Be designed so that all students continually build on and revise their knowledge and abilities • Support such integration to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design
K-12 • PCAST recommends that science education be built around three dimensions • Scientific and engineering practices • Cross cutting concepts that unify the study of science and engineering through their common application across fields • Core ideas in four discipline areas • Physical Sciences • Life Sciences • Earth and space sciences • Engineering, technology and the application of science
PCAST - STEM in Higher Education PCAST (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) set up a working group in January 2011 to study the Higher Education system. Report “Engage to Excel” released in February 2012 • The task for the working group is • To determine the reasons for low retention and graduation rates in STEM disciplines • To recommend model programs – if any – that have successfully overcome these challenges • To suggest to the federal government ways of enhancing STEM education • To suggest ways of monitoring STEM education in future
Problems – Some of them… • Uninspiring introductory courses • Unwelcoming atmosphere, especially for minorities • Difficulty in maths even for low-performing students with high interest and aptitude in STEM careers • Faculty not aware of and/or not using modern teaching methods • Inadequate reward and incentive systems for faculty
Engage to Excel – Report Recommendations • Catalyze widespread adoption of empirically validated teaching practices. • Advocate and provide support for replacing standard laboratory courses with discovery-based research courses. • Launch a national experiment in postsecondary mathematics education to address the math preparation gap. • Encourage partnerships among stakeholders to diversify pathways to STEM careers. • Create a Presidential Council on STEM Education to provide strategic leadership for transformative and sustainable change in STEM undergraduate education.
Learning Research: Into Practice Provide leadership • Apply findings from learning theory in the classroom • Cognitive science, neuroscience, educational psychology and organizational theory have provided useful insight into how a human brain learns and how the brain structure changes with the (complexity of) learning gains • Disseminate effective practices • (See ‘How Students Learn’ from National Academies Press)
Faculty Development – Part of Institutional Changes Support, Motivate and Develop young faculty • To adopt new instructional strategies that engage students in their own learning • To adopt new curricular materials that encourage inquiry and active investigation (active pedagogy) • These will require rewarding faculty for teaching excellence • As part of professional development activities, establish a community through which faculty can share ideas, problems and solution • Requires deep institutional changes such as providing tenure and research funding for teaching excellence • Build communities of colleges that are willing to take a leadership in this change (PKAL – Project Kaleidoscope at AAC&U)
New Delivery Methods • Digital revolution and Online learning • Digital textbooks will be the major source in 10 years • Apply new delivery methods to deliver “content” (basic knowledge and procedural knowledge) • New media can make teaching more inquiry-based than set of procedures • College presidents and public differ on its value (Pew Research Report, August 28, 2011) • The future is in hybrid learning • NETP calls for revolutionary transformation than evolutionary tinkering • National Educational Technology Plan (US Department of Education 2010)
Video Games Videogames can change a person's brain and, as researchers are finding, often that change is for the better….. • People who played action-based video and computer games made decisions 25% faster • Scientists also found that women—who make up about 42% of computer and videogame players—were better able to mentally manipulate 3D objects, a skill at which men are generally more adept. • The violent action games that often worry parents most had the strongest beneficial effect on the brain. • Ref – Wall Street Journal – March 6, 2012
Knowledge Growth • Knowledge is growing exponentially • Content explosion! The plate is FULL! • Think about what you covered in your high school physics vs. what is in the curriculum today! Quantum theory, nanotechnology etc • The full body of knowledge cannot be imparted in the limited time • Leave room for students (even at high school stage) to develop problem-solving and professional skills, and creativity • How much maths do engineers need? • Even an intro maths course leaves students with the impression that all STEM fields are dull and unimaginative (PCAST report)
Re-engineering “Engineering Education” • It is a tall order: Integrating components into a cohesive whole; integrating new instructional methods, curricula, and delivery methods; Using new media and technology; etc etc • This is an agenda for re-engineering engineering education • Are we ready for this change and challenge? • See ‘Educating Engineers – Designing for the Future of the Field’, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, by Sheri Sheppard, et al
Our changing roles in making them college and Career ready • Educational Quality • How do your graduates measure up? • Measure quality against our value system – vis-à-vis family, society (relationships, diversity, globalization), work-environment (jobs, industry), country (security, democracy, citizenship), etc. • Tests and grades would be misleading for our education mission • How do you refine or –redefine education with feedback from measuring (higher order) learning outcomes? • How a student perceives the education system vis-à-vis his/her own value system?
Research Universities.. • You will keep receiving a continuous stream of bright students • You continue to educate them and also be leaders in R&D • Yet, you must lead the change, and be the role models for others to follow • Take a reality check: Can we turn the ship around? • Many (too many?) stakeholders • Are stakeholders goals in conflict? Skill-set requirements of an employer vs. lifelong learning and development. Value-for-money for parents and students vs. the intangibles • And the stakeholders need to act collectively
So, to Our Research universities • Thank you for leading R&D and taking care of ‘superior’ students, who would thrive even when learning under ‘traditional’ (lecture based) teaching environment • Now become the leader and role model for others (who have to nurture average students) by introducing new teaching/ learning methods, and institutional changes needed to support educational changes • We must go through this change on order to meet the future workforce needs
To all of you - “But I think all of you understand it will take far more than the work of government. It will take all of us. It will take all of you. And so today I want to challenge you to use your love and knowledge of science to spark the same sense of wonder and excitement in a new generation.” -- President Barak Obama, speaking to the National Academy of Science, April 27th, 2009