Department of Science Education

Dr. Ben Van Dusen Awarded $2,050,450 Grant

Fall 2019 - Dr. Ben Van Dusen is awarded a $2,050,450 grant entitled, Developing Faculty Resources of Evidence-based Practices that Improve Learning and Equity in STEM from the National Science Foundation.

This project is a four year grant that will support faculty at HSI's developing and using evidence-based instructional strategies and materials that improve learning and equity in STEM courses. The project addresses need of developing STEM education research methods and instruments that focuses on diverse students at HSIs. First, the project seeks to support HSI faculty in implementing, adapting and assessing evidence-based instructional strategies that support equitable outcomes. Second, the project will research potential bias in research-based assessments. Third, the project will use the LASSO database to establish baseline for equity in STEM disciplines. By achieving these three goals, the project aims to build the framework and the set of resources on the scholarship of teaching and learning in a culturally diverse and equitable learning environment.

To address the gap in the literature on evidence-based research to improve learning and equity in STEM courses for students of diverse backgrounds, the project will develop and assess three strands of activities. Strand 1 will identify the motivations for and barriers to faculty at HSIs in engaging in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL). Based on this knowledge, the project will build resources, tools, and workshops that meet the needs of faculty who are working with students from marginalized groups. Central to this support is the LASSO platform, a free online platform for instructors to administer research-based assessments to their students. LASSO provides data collection and analysis support to simplify conducting SOTL in college STEM courses. Strand 2 and 3 will support educators engaging in SOTL by researching potential bias in the research-based assessments themselves and methods commonly used to administer them. This research will ensure the accuracy of the data available to these scholars. To support scholarship on equitable outcomes, the project will use the aggregated LASSO database to both establish baselines for equity in STEM disciplines and identify pedagogies that support equitable outcomes. Equity baselines will provide scholars a comparison for their own studies and courses. The pedagogies that support equity will provide rich areas for them to explore. The outcome of the work will be a framework and set of resources to support scholars at HSIs engaging in SOTL to identify evidence-based practices that improve equity, while addressing a several issues in the existing literature on equity. The products of the project will be disseminated through various channels including conferences, workshops, publications, and the NSF-funded Learning Assistant Alliance. The HSI Program aims to enhance undergraduate STEM education and build capacity at HSIs. Projects supported by the HSI Program will also generate new knowledge on how to achieve these aims.