1. Janet Yowell
  2. Director of Strategic Community College STEM Initiatives
  4. University of Colorado Boulder
  1. Gary Barnak
  2. Grant Project Manager
  4. Saddleback College

STEM Core Expansion

NSF Awards: 1834628, 1834608

2020 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12, Undergraduate

The NSF INCLUDES Alliance project, STEM Core Expansion, is a five-state initiative to broaden participation of high school and community college students who directly enter the STEM workforce with Associate's degrees or transfer to 4-year colleges to purse STEM Bachelor's degrees. The initiative implements the STEM Core model to increase the math preparation of traditionally underrepresented students by bringing them up to calculus readiness in two semesters through accelerated math instruction. This cohorted model combines wrap-around support with supplemental computer science, cybersecurity, engineering and manufacturing courses/workshops, enabling qualified STEM Core students to be eligible for paid summer internships with partner employers, including many national laboratories. This NSF INCLUDES Alliance project currently takes place in California, Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, and Washington, and seeks to expand to other states.

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Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase (13 posts)
  • Icon for: Alison Heimowitz

    Alison Heimowitz

    School and Teacher Liaison
    May 6, 2020 | 10:59 a.m.

    Wonderful to see a project focused on broadening participation of underrepresented students in STEM. Have you had an opportunity to fully evaluate project impact? If so, can you tell me a little more about how you measured success? How have evaluation results informed program changes?

  • Icon for: Janet Yowell

    Janet Yowell

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Strategic Community College STEM Initiatives
    May 12, 2020 | 04:54 p.m.

    We have indeed measured impacts of the STEM Core itself on student achievement to/through Calculus. On average, about 68% of developmental students who enter the program pass pre-calculus (or calculus) with a C or higher (this is via students' program-end grades).

    One of the biggest programs changes I think we've realized through our evaluation is the importance of cohorting and block scheduling students. In schools where this has been difficult to achieve, students are not quite as invested/committed to the program as in schools where the cohorts are well established. Also, newer programs take some time for the STEM Core as a program as excellence to become cemented in the school's culture... each year brings more awareness about the program as students see success and find opportunities in STEM.

  • Icon for: Judi Fusco

    Judi Fusco

    Senior Researcher Stem Teaching and Learning
    May 6, 2020 | 01:46 p.m.

    Impressive number of developmental students becoming calculus ready in 1 year!  I would love to know more about what you are doing.  Thank you for your video! 

  • Icon for: Janet Yowell

    Janet Yowell

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Strategic Community College STEM Initiatives
    May 12, 2020 | 04:58 p.m.

    Judi, ask away. The video does summarize the program as a whole.... Can I give you additional details about a particular component of our program?

  • Icon for: Kenne Dibner

    Kenne Dibner

    Senior Program Officer
    May 6, 2020 | 08:27 p.m.

    Thank so much for sharing your video with us! I love to see information about broadening participation. I'm curious about the professional development for teachers you mentioned toward the end of the video - what does that entail, and how are you ensuring that teachers are taking up your materials and messages? Thanks again!

  • Icon for: Janet Yowell

    Janet Yowell

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Strategic Community College STEM Initiatives
    May 12, 2020 | 05:09 p.m.

    We offer professional development to faculty around math pedagogy and growth mindset with the aim of adapting how math is taught to students (meeting students where they are rather than having them faculty where they are) and demystifying math concepts for students who are not yet math confident. Also, for our Student Support Specialists (SSS), we provide training on much of what an Advisor is trained in: career conversations, growth mindset, socio-emotional issues, cultural acquaintance, etc. We think our SSS positions are THE most crucial part of the program (other than the students themselves :-), and train then on issues that are pertinent to now and can most help the students.

    A couple of times a year, we bring in national experts to speak with faculty about math pedagogy. Frankly, the most successful cohorts are the students whose course faculty has bought in to the above willingness to meet students where they are at (instead of the other way around). Additionally, faculty at certain schools are ahead of the game with some pedagogical issues surrounding math learning, and we help facilitate their bringing it to faculty at other schools in our network (teachers-training-teachers model) to enrichen our professional development component.

  • May 6, 2020 | 09:11 p.m.

    The Cal-Bridge program also works with community colleges in California, both providing them with summer internships, and recruiting them to a California State University campus to participate in the CSU-UC PhD bridge program. I am guessing that there is a lot of overlap of our network and yours. I would be interested in comparing lists and seeing if we could somehow coordinate our efforts. 

  • Icon for: Gary Barnak

    Gary Barnak

    Grant Project Manager
    May 7, 2020 | 12:20 p.m.

    Alexander, thank you for your interest in our project and we should discuss how we might be able to leverage our resources. Can you contact me at gbarnak@saddleback.edu?

  • May 12, 2020 | 03:38 p.m.

    That's amazing that you can bring students up so much in calculus skills!

  • Icon for: Janet Yowell

    Janet Yowell

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Strategic Community College STEM Initiatives
    May 12, 2020 | 05:10 p.m.

    Thanks Jeff. It is amazing.

  • May 12, 2020 | 03:39 p.m.

     That's amazing how much you can bring calculus skills up in community college students!

  • Icon for: Clayton Lewis

    Clayton Lewis

    May 12, 2020 | 04:39 p.m.

    Very encouraging results!

  • Icon for: Janet Yowell

    Janet Yowell

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Strategic Community College STEM Initiatives
    May 12, 2020 | 05:10 p.m.

    Thanks Clayton :-)

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