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Projects

The STEM Transformation Institute is advancing education research at an Institutional level, as well as Nationwide, through evidence-based practices that will ultimately increase the number of well-prepared STEM professionals, including teachers, graduating from FIU.

The Institute’s research mission guides instructional practice on campus, builds our STEM education research scholarship, and advances FIU’s national prominence. Research primarily targets student outcomes, but also includes development of faculty, institution and community.

Key Projects

GEO Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD): Hearts of GOLD

Geosciences currently trails other STEM fields in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups such as women, people of color, and people with disabilities. Hearts of GOLD propose to develop and test a new professional development training for established scientific leaders in the geosciences, to transform existing leaders into champions for diversity.

Learn more about Hearts of GOLD

Extending the Coherent Gateway to STEM Teaching and Learning!

There is compelling evidence that introductory gateway courses are often significant barriers to student success, persistence, and graduation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). This collaborative R&D project is designed to implement an innovative teaching and learning model, 3D Learning, and investigate the factors affecting the adoption and implementation of instructional innovation in introductory and upper level courses in STEM.

Learn more about extending the coherent gateway

Mobilizing Teachers to Increase Capacity and Broaden Women’s Participation in Physics

The Discovery Research K-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools (RMTs). This project assesses the impact of scaling-up the teaching of physics and engineering to women students in grade levels 11 and 12, particularly in reference to retention. 

Learn more about the Discovery Research K-12 program

Understanding the implications of gamification on women computer science students' engagement and women-CS fit

This gender study seeks to better understand implications of gamification on student learning, identity development, and self-efficacy beliefs. The study consists of an in-depth inquiry into the experiences of female students as they participate in the use of SEP-CyLE (Software Engineering and Program Cyberlearning Environment) in order to provide insight into a demographic critical to the future success of computing as well as contribute to a better understanding of the role of gamification in student learning and engagement.

Intersectionality of Non-normative Identities in the Cultures of Engineering (InIce)

This project is motivated by the need to increase and diversify the engineering workforce, which will help to increase economic growth and prosperity in the United States. The ultimate goal of this project is to understand more effectively the ways in which students can become interested in pursuing engineering majors in college and how to help them persist through to the end of an engineering degree, with particular attention on those students who may have different views of the role of engineering. 

Learn more about InIce

Improving Biology Education

We are transforming undergraduate biology education though projects focused on improving student understanding of scientific literature, influencing interest and persistence in biology career pathways and improving student success through evidence based instructional practices.

Learn more about student interest in biology

All Projects

  • All Projects

    Beyond Active Learning: Learning Assistant (LA) Supported Pedagogies in Large Lecture Science Courses

    1. Summary: The University of Colorado at Denver, North Dakota State University Fargo, and Florida International University have received an NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources Design and Development tier award to observe, characterize, and interpret the active learning methods employed in a large sample of Learning Assistant (LA) supported and non-LA supported science courses at the three universities. The research will investigate how active learning methods and undergraduate LA support contribute to the learning gains, achievement, retention, and persistence of over 10,600 Biology students, 8,800 Chemistry students, and 7,600 Physics students during each year of the four-year project. The Project will provide critical evidence on active learning as it 1) examines a large number of students and faculty in three STEM disciplines (Chemistry, Biology, and Physics) at three large public universities, 2) provides deep understanding of how active learning and LA support promotes student success, 3) examines student success through a variety of measures, 4) provides critical insight into the learning of underrepresented/minority (URM) students in STEM, and 5) directly informs the large International Learning Assistant Alliance, which currently consists of fifty-five (55) universities.
    2. Focus: Undergraduate students
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Laird Kramer (Principal Investigator), Hagit Kornreich-Leshem (Co-Principal Investigator)
    5. Award Number - Amount: 1525529 - $359,774.00
    6. Contact: Laird Kramer (kramerl@fiu.edu), Department of Physics

     

    Breaking the Cycle: Preparing Future STEM Teachers for the Highest Need Urban Schools by Embracing Culturally-responsive Instruction

    1. Summary: The Track 1 Noyce project at Florida International University (FIU), "Breaking the cycle: Preparing future STEM teachers for the highest need urban schools by embracing culturally responsive instruction", will substantially increase the number of highly qualified teachers prepared to serve in high-need school districts. The project will recruit, prepare, administer two-year scholarships and facilitate induction for 33 Scholars over the five-year project. FIU, an urban public research university with over 54,000 students, is partnering with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth largest school district in the nation serving over 350,000 students, to establish the project testbed in highly diverse Miami, Florida. The project embraces the diversity of FIU's student body, over 78% of which are from historically underrepresented groups, and develops their culturally responsive instructional practices so they are prepared to break the cycle of persistent low achievement as future education leaders in the highest need schools. In parallel, the project will establish a dissemination model to enable adoption and adaptation across the nation
    2. Focus: Pre-service teachers, Undergraduate teacher preparation
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Vishodana Thamotharan (Principal Investigator), Zahra Hazari (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator), Maria Fernandez (Co-Principal Investigator)
    5. Award Number - Amount: 1660776 - $1,007,089.00
    6. Contact: Vishodana Thamotharan (vthamoth@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

     

    Collaborative Research: Creating assessments for student understanding of core chemistry ideas in introductory biology

    1. Summary: To address biological problems, students must apply and integrate chemistry principles with biology principles, yet existing science assessments in introductory biology courses often encourage rote memorization and assess factual recall. The recently published Framework for K-12 Science Education report from the National Research Council offers a way of thinking about science education aimed at positively affecting students' abilities to use their knowledge and make connections across disciplines. This vision integrates three dimensions: 1) disciplinary core ideas (what students really need to know); 2) crosscutting concepts (themes across science disciplines); and 3) scientific practices (how students should use their knowledge). The integration of these dimensions is referred to as "three-dimensional learning". Instead of assessing factual recall, assessments should probe students' abilities to use scientific practices (e.g., analyzing and interpreting data) in the context of disciplinary core ideas (e.g., using the structure of a compound to predict how the substance behaves) and crosscutting concepts (e.g., conservation of energy and matter) to make sense of phenomena, but writing such assessments is difficult. There is a need for assessments that emphasize three-dimensional learning in introductory biology courses to support students in developing an integrated understanding of science. To address this need, the objective of this two-year collaborative project between Michigan State University (MSU) and Florida International University (FIU) will be to develop, test, and evaluate the effectiveness of assessment items that integrate chemistry and biology disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and scientific practices, and focus on making sense of phenomena.
    2. Focus: Undergraduate students
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Sonia Underwood (Principal Investigator)
    5. Award Number - Amount: #1708589: $150,495
    6. Contact: Sonia Underwood (sonia.underwood@fiu.edu)

     

    Collaborative Research: Florida IT Pathways to Success (Flit-Path)

    1. Summary: The S-STEM Flit-Path (Florida IT Pathways) project will recruit, retain, and provide scholarships and curricular and co-curricular support to academically talented students with financial need in the IT related disciplines of Computer Science, Information Technology, and Computer Engineering. The goals of the project are to (1) increase retention, student success, and graduation of students who pursue a degree in the Computer Science, Information Technology, and Computer Engineering disciplines; (2) implement a model of student engagement that affects the recruitment, retention, student success, academic and career pathways, and degree attainment of students pursing a degree in these disciplines; and (3) contribute to the implementation and sustainability of effective evidence-based curricular/co-curricular activities for its students. Building on a grant from the Florida State Board of Governors, project activities include tutoring for foundation courses; intrusive academic advising; faculty, industry, and peer mentoring; and academic and career pathway support. Participation in project activities is expected to increase the graduation rate for Flit Path students by 20%. The project will recruit two cohorts of students. Cohort A will be comprised of 54 first time college students in each of Years 1 and 2 of the grant. Cohort B will be comprised of 69 first time in college senior students each year, who have the potential and interest in graduating within one year's time. Flit-Path will impact 453 students who are pursuing degrees in Computer Science, Information Technology, and Computer Engineering.
    2. Focus: Undergraduate students
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Mark Weiss (Principal Investigator), Zahra Hazari (Co-Principal Investigator), Monique Ross (Co-Principal Investigator)
    5. Award Number - Amount: 1643965 - $1,944,118.00
    6. Contact: Zahra Hazari (zhazari@fiu.edu), Department of Teaching and Learning and affiliate faculty member in the Department of Physics

     

    CREST: Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment

    1. Summary: With National Science Foundation support, Florida International University will establish the Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment. Human-derived environmental contaminants consist of antibiotics and pharmaceuticals, mercury, black carbon, and fossil fuels. These stressors are recognized as having significant effects on ecosystems and biota as well as on human wellbeing. It is critical to understand the biogeochemical processes that govern the fate of these compounds and their impacts on the ecosystem. Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment research will address the sources, transport, transformation and ecosystem responses to contaminants, pollutants and other natural stressors, under changing land-use and environmental conditions. The Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment will generate significant new knowledge regarding contaminants and pollutants in aquatic environments, as well as produce innovative methodologies for detecting and assessing contaminant quantities and impacts, including the use of molecular detection techniques. The proposed research will advance current efforts on the biological effects, transport, transformation and distribution of contaminants in the environment into new collaborative research areas that investigate the sources and transport of contaminants and pollutants in aquatic systems.
    2. Focus: Undergraduate and Graduate students
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Todd Crowl (Principal Investigator), Rene Price (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator), Shu-Ching Chen (Co-Principal Investigator), Piero Gardinali (Co-Principal Investigator), Rudolf Jaffe (Former Co-Principal Investigator)
    5. Award Number - Amount: 1547798 - $2,099,985.00
    6. Contact: Laird Kramer (kramerl@fiu.edu), Department of Physics
    7. Website: https://crestcache.fiu.edu/

     

    Developing Items to Assess the Use of Scientific Practices in a Chemistry Laboratory Setting

    1. Summary: Recent calls for science education reform have consistently highlighted the importance of engaging students in the practice of science for both the development of a scientific workforce and a scientifically literate citizenry. The Framework for K-12 Education and the Next Generation Science Standards identify a set of eight practices considered essential for learning science, and emphasize that students’ understanding of the practices of science and engineering is as important to understanding science as knowledge of its content. While the Framework focuses on K-12 education, we argue that these same practices are relevant to science education at all levels, and that the laboratory is the ideal place for students to engage with and learn about these practices. However, it has yet to be studied whether engagement in the practices has any effect student learning outcomes. One reason for this is the absence of appropriate assessment items that can provide evidence of the ways that students engage with the practices, and how this may change over time.  There are two major goals of this project: The first goal is to develop assessment items, focusing on three practices: (1) Planning and carrying out investigations; (2) Analyzing and interpreting data; and (3) Constructing explanations/engaging in argument from evidence. These assessment items will be developed using an iterative process, which includes identifying the key elements of each practice that can be assessed, developing tasks and scoring rubrics, and establishing validity, reliability, and practicality. Items will be reviewed initially by our advisory board, members of which have extensive expertise in both laboratory instruction and instrument development, tested with students using think aloud interviews, and revised as necessary. The second goal is to use the assessment items in two different laboratory environments (one transformed and one traditional) to answer the research question: How does engagement with the practices in the laboratory environment affect students’ use of scientific practices?
    2. Focus: Undergraduate Students
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Justin Carmel (PI - FIU), Melanie Cooper (PI - Michigan State), Deborah Herrington (PI - Grand Valley State University)
    5. Award Number - Amount: #1708506: $188,270
    6. Contact: Justin Carmel (jcarmel@fiu.edu) 

     

    EAGER: Demystifying the Engineering and Computer Science Underrepresentation Problem: Understanding the pathways to and through these Disciplines for Black and Hispanic Women

    1. Summary: This qualitative inquiry explores the pathways to and through engineering and computer science for Black and Hispanic women. Leveraging prior qualitative research, this study further examines the unique pathways of women, based on the intersections of race and gender, at the undergraduate level, when recruitment and retention efforts can have a greater impact on broadening participation.
    2. Focus: Black and Hispanic women in computer science and engineering
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation 
    4. Team: Monique Ross, Atalie Garcia (Undergraduate Researcher)
    5. Award Number - Amount: $71,000
    6. Contact: Monique Ross

     

    Engaged Student Learning - Design and Development Level II: Using a Cyberlearning Environment to Improve Student Learning and Engagement in Software Courses

    1. Summary: Due to the ubiquitous nature of software in the 21st century there is a great and increasing demand for software developers and programmers in the US. Both Computer Science (CS) and Information Technology (IT) academicians and practitioners agree that a comprehensive strategy to improve the number and quality of 21st century CS/IT workforce is needed. This project will assist colleges and universities in producing more well-qualified software developers through the use of a cyberlearning environment that builds on and extends WReSTT-CyLE (Web-Based Repository of Software Testing Tutorials), a cyberlearning environment for software testing.
    2. Focus: Undergraduate students
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Peter Clarke (Principal Investigator), Geoffrey Potvin (Co-Principal Investigator), Mandayam Thirunarayanan (Co-Principal Investigator), Debra Davis (Co-Principal Investigator)
    5. Award Number - Amount: 1525112 - $821,954.00
    6. Contact: Geoff Potvin (gpotvin@fiu.edu), Department of Physics

     

    Extending the Coherent Gateway to STEM Teaching and Learning!

    1. Summary: There is compelling evidence that introductory gateway courses are often significant barriers to student success, persistence, and graduation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Drawing on work supported by the Association of American Universities, this collaborative R&D project is designed to implement an innovative teaching and learning model, Three-Dimensional (3D) Learning, and investigate the factors (e.g., supports and challenges) affecting the adoption and implementation of instructional innovation in introductory and upper level courses in STEM. The approach is based on an adaptation of the National Research Council's document, A Framework for K-12 Science Education, for postsecondary education. Rather than focusing on developing faculty awareness and implementation of high impact practices as a means to transform STEM courses, the 3D Learning framework focuses on engaging faculty in identifying core ideas in the disciplines, including scientific practice in the classroom, and incorporating crosscutting scientific concepts in course materials with the goal of building faculty capacity and departmental/institutional infrastructure to improve student learning. The project concentrates on two major efforts: (1) the propagation of 3D Learning, development and validation of assessment tools, and implementation of faculty support structures across Michigan State University and its partner institutions, Grand Valley State University, Florida International University, and Kansas State University and (2) research using a variety of methods to examine how instructional innovation is adopted and implemented across different disciplines, department cultures, and institutional ecologies and their effect on student outcomes.
    2. Focus: Undergraduate students
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Sonia Underwood (Principal Investigator), Justin Carmel (Co-Principal Investigator)
    5. Award Number - Amount: #1725609: $321,529
    6. Contact: Sonia Underwood (sonia.underwood@fiu.edu), Justin Carmel (jcarmel@fiu.edu) 

     

    FIUteach

    1. Summary: FIUteach is a secondary STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teacher preparation initiative that is helping to produce qualified math and science teachers. Core elements of the program include recruitment and retention incentives, a compact degree program, a strong focus on research-based strategies for teaching and learning math and science, intensive field teaching experience, and personal guidance from master teachers and faculty. Each year FIU will offer free, immersive teaching experiences to students in the program, producing well-prepared mathematics and science teachers upon graduation. The UTeach model program was created in response to national concerns about the quality of K-12 education in mathematics and science fields. The program is supported by the National Math and Science Initiative and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    2. Focus: Undergraduate students, pre-service teachers
    3. Funder: UTeach, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and National Math and Science Initiative
    4. Contact: Vishodana Thamotharan (vthamoth@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute
      Website: http://fiuteach.fiu.edu/

     

    GEO Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD): Hearts of GOLD

    1. Summary: Geosciences currently trails other STEM fields in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups such as women, people of color, and people with disabilities. In 2012, of 737 doctoral degrees awarded in the earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences, 319 were awarded to women, and only 35 were awarded to Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaska-native students, combined. Substantial evidence exists to demonstrate the vital role that diversity plays in increasing innovation and creativity and increasing the quality of science, as measured by publication in high-impact journals and citation rates. By failing to recruit and retain diverse students, staff, and faculty in our field, we are losing the potential to create our best, most innovative science. Much of the shortcomings in recruiting and retaining minorities in geosciences seem to be related to the difficult social environments that these groups face in our disciplines classrooms and workplaces. We propose to develop and test a new professional development training for established scientific leaders in the geosciences, the GOLD Institute, designed to spark cognitive dissonance, and begin the process of personal reflection and change needed to transform existing leaders into champions for diversity. By targeting senior scientists who are already well-respected in the field, our project capitalizes on their reputations, networks, and social capital to build them into diversity champions with the power to make significant and swift cultural change in their institutions and the wider field. This proposal provides them with the training necessary to institute equitable recruitment, hiring, and promotion practices, and tackle ?chilly? and hostile climates. Nominations will be solicited throughout the geosciences several months prior to the GOLD Institute. Participants will be selected on the basis of scientific and/or educational expertise, potential to broaden participation in the geosciences, and other characteristics that exemplify effective leadership skills and behaviors. Selection for one of the GOLD Institutes is an acknowledgment that these individuals have established greater purpose and value in their work and are committed to a legacy of diversity and inclusion for the entire geosciences community.
    2. Focus: Faculty
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: P. Grady Dixon (Principal Investigator), Kathleen Quardokus Fisher (Co-Principal Investigator), LaToya Myles (Co-Principal Investigator), Denise Simmons (Co-Principal Investigator), Eric Kaufman (Co-Principal Investigator)
    5. Contact: Kathleen Quardokus Fisher (kathleen.quardokusfisher@fiu.edu), Department of Earth and Environment

     

    HHMI Collaborative: Community for Faculty Development

    1. Summary: In collaboration with 5 HHMI Science Education institutions (i.e. Drexel University, Emory University, University of Maryland – College Park, and University of Kentucky), this grant aims to establish continued research and scholarship partnerships between HHMI Science Education institutions, with the aim of identifying promising practices and common barriers in faculty implementation of evidence-based strategies. We conducted a large-scale survey study of STEM faculty in over 60 research-intensive institutions (with and without HHMI Science Education grants), to increase our understanding of STEM instructional practices and faculty support structures. We have used these data for developing collaborative research projects between HHMI institutions and advancing our understanding of the barriers and opportunities of faculty adoption of evidence-based strategies.
    2. Focus: STEM faculty at HHMI Science Education Universities and research-intensive institutions
    3. Funder: Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    4. Award Amount: $100,000.00
    5. Team: Laird Kramer (Principal Investigator), Donna Murasko (Co-PI), Drexel University; Pat Marsteller (Co-PI), Emory University; Kaci Thompson (Co-PI) , University of Maryland – College Park; Vince Cassone (Co-PI), University of Kentucky; Geoff Potvin, Zahra Hazari, Rocio Benabentos.
    6. Contact: Rocio Benabentos (rbenaben@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

     

    HHMI Collaborative for Institutionalizing Scientific Learning

    1. Summary: The Collaborative for Institutionalizing Scientific Learning is a $1.5M grant with the goal to establish an institutional culture to support the use of evidence-based teaching practices across science and mathematics courses, thus improving STEM student retention and success. To achieve this goal, this project focuses on four interacting objectives: (1) Create a support structure to expand the number of science and mathematics faculty utilizing evidence-based strategies; (2) integrate effective measures of classroom learning into all science and mathematics courses; (3) solidify a culture of evidence-based instructional strategies across the institution; and (4) develop and deploy a research framework for analyzing institutional change in STEM education.
    2. Focus: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math faculty members and Departments
    3. Funder: Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    4. Team: Laird Kramer (Principal Investigator), Marcy Kravec (Co-Director), Department of Biological Sciences; Kelly Rein (Co-Director), Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Geoff Potvin (Co-Director), Department of Physics; Julian Edward (Co-Director), Department of Mathematics and Statistics; Rocio Benabentos
    5. Amount: $1.5M
    6. Contact: Rocio Benabentos (rbenaben@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute
    7. Website: http://fiulearn.fiu.edu/dber/hhmi-faculty-scholar-program/

     

    Intersectionality of Non-normative Identities in the Cultures of Engineering (InIce)

    1. Summary: This project is motivated by the need to increase and diversify the engineering workforce, which will help to increase economic growth and prosperity in the United States. The ultimate goal of this project is to understand more effectively the ways in which students can become interested in pursuing engineering majors in college and how to help them persist through to the end of an engineering degree, with particular attention on those students who may have different views of the role of engineering. This will be accomplished by a large quantitative assessment followed by a longitudinal study of students who are identified as holding various normative or non-normative attitudinal profiles, with a focus on understanding students' feelings of belonging in engineering and their developing engineering identities. The outcomes of this work will result in practical ways to increase diversity in engineering programs through research-based recruitment and teaching strategies focused on student identities within engineering. Specific course materials will be developed to target graduate students entering academia (who will be teaching future engineering students) to help begin to foster a more welcoming culture in engineering.
    2. Focus: Graduate students
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Geoffrey Potvin (Principal Investigator), Allison Godwin (Co-Principal Investigator)
    5. Award Number - Amount: 1428689 - $170,527.00
    6. Contact: Geoff Potvin (gpotvin@fiu.edu), Department of Physics

     

    LA Program: Learning Assistant Program

    1. Summary: Learning Assistants (LAs) are undergraduate students who through the guidance of weekly preparation sessions and a pedagogy course, facilitate discussions among groups of students in a variety of classroom settings that encourage active engagement. The FIU LA Program is now the largest in the nation. The Learning Assistant (LA) Program was pioneered at FIU in the Physics Department through the FIU PhysTEC project. PhysTEC is a joint effort at improving teacher preparation that is facilitated by three of the most prominent national physics societies, the American Physical Society (APS), American Institute of Physics (AIP), and American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). Since then, the program has grown to be the largest LA program in the nation and has serviced 9 different departments across FIU. In Fall 2015, the Provost announced a university wide initiative and positioned the LA Program to play a vital role in the transformation of undergraduate STEM courses. In Spring 2017, about 330 LAs worked in 9 departments and impacted over 10,000 student enrollments.  The LA Program originated at the University of Colorado in Boulder and the FIU LA Program is an active participant with the LA Alliance.
    2. Focus: Undergraduate course reform / pre-service teacher preparation / faculty professional development / institutional change
    3. Contact: Hagit Kornreich Leshem (hkornrei@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute
    4. Website: http://laprogram.fiu.edu

     

    Taking the long view: Investigating the role of biology interest and far-sighted career goals on student persistence in STEM career pathways

    1. Summary: Despite having the most diverse undergraduate population among STEM fields, biology professionals in fields like medicine and research remain resoundingly white and from affluent backgrounds. Although efforts to diversify biology are occurring at the graduate and career stages, it may be that factors at the undergraduate level are limiting who is even present in the applicant pool. This proposal lays groundwork for effectively addressing two factors that may limit the participation of historically underrepresented groups in biology careers. It identifies (a) the influence of career goals and disciplinary interest on students' persistence to the next stage in their biology career pathways and (b) how early students need to develop these goals and interests to become competitive for these pathways during college. These findings will inform the design and deployment of effective interventions addressing these issues. These interventions are predicted to disproportionately assist students from historically underrepresented groups to finish college competitive and to transition to biology careers.
    2. Focus: Undergraduates
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Sarah L. Eddy (PI-FIU), Lisa Corwin (PI - UC Boulder)
    5. Award Number - Amount: $188,270
    6. Contact: Sarah L. Eddy

     

    Mobilizing Teachers to Increase Capacity and Broaden Women's Participation in Physics

    1. Summary: The Discovery Research K-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools (RMTs). Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects. This project assesses the impact of scaling-up the teaching of physics and engineering to women students in grade levels 11 and 12, particularly in reference to retention. The problem of low participation of women in physics and engineering has been a topic of concern for decades. The persistent under-representation of women in physics and engineering is not just an equity issue but also reflects an unrealized talent pool that can help respond to current and future challenges faced by society. The aim is to mobilize high school physics teachers to "attract and recruit" female students into science (physics) and engineering careers. The fundamental issues that the project seeks is to affect increases in the number of females in physics and engineering careers using research-informed and field-tested classroom practices that improve female students' physics identity. The project will advance science (physics) identity research by testing research-based approaches/interventions with larger groups of teachers and connecting research to practice in ways that are both widely deployable and practical for teachers to implement. The project will also affect female participation in engineering since developing a physics identity is strongly related to choosing engineering. The core area teachers will be trained in addressing student identity as a physicist or engineer.
    2. Focus: PreK-12 students and teachers
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Zahra Hazari (Principal Investigator), Geoffrey Potvin (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator)
    5. Award Number - Amount: 1721021 - $884,884.00
    6. Contact: Zahra Hazari (zhazari@fiu.edu), Department of Teaching and Learning and affiliate faculty member in the Department of Physics
    7. Website: http://www.aps.org/programs/education/su4w/

     

    Science in the Classroom (SitC)

    1. Summary: This project will significantly expand the Science in the Classroom (SitC) initiative (http://www.scienceintheclassroom.org/) into tools for learning. The annotated papers and related resources that are produced will allow students to engage with primary data sets and gain a deep understanding of how scientists design experiments, gather and analyze data, and present their conclusions. This approach enables students to assume the persona of a scientist; it guides them through the scientific process of posing questions, designing experiments to pursue those questions, analyzing the data that returns from the experiments, and working toward new conclusions in response to the analysis. The students also come to understand, first-hand, the process of scientific communication, through which scientists explain their progression from questions to experiments to data to conclusions, while also generating the next set of intriguing questions.
    2. Focus: Undergraduate students
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Melissa McCartney (Co-Principal Investigator)
    5. Award number - Amount: 1525596 - $1,274,487.00
    6. Contact: Melissa McCartney (mmccartn@fiu.edu), Department of Biological Sciences
    7. Website: www.scienceintheclassroom.org

     

    Scholarly Leaders Originating as Practicing Educators in Two-Year College Mathematics (Project SLOPE)

    1. Summary: This project will address the research gap surrounding two-year college mathematics faculty SoTL research by first conducting a critical analysis and synthesis of existing programming and the literature base that focuses on the intersection of SoTL, two-year college faculty research, and mathematics education research in postsecondary contexts. Central to this inquiry will be an examination of the relationship between faculty researcher needs and the structures of two-year colleges. Following this needs, barriers, and opportunities analysis, the results will be used to develop and implement a pilot national program initiative to engage two-year college mathematics faculty in SoTL research. The pilot program will be a fifteen-month comprehensive faculty association with the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges that provides training in SoTL, as well as support in undertaking this scholarship and in navigating the structures of two-year colleges that might pose challenges to engaging in SoTL. In this pilot program, six two-year college mathematics faculty will implement a SoTL project in their classroom and plan for the dissemination of the results. The pilot will be evaluated to refine its design to meet the needs of participants and to allow for future expansion of the program and related programs.
    2. Focus: Two Year College Mathematics Faculty
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Megan Breit-Goodwin (Principal Investigator)Kathleen Quardokus Fisher (Co-Principal Investigator) Ann Sitomer (Co-Principal Investigator)
    5. Contact: Kathy Quardokus Fisher

     

    Workshop on the Nature and Practices of Science to Support Educator Guides for Science in the Classroom  

    1. Summary: Science in the Classroom (SitC), a collection of annotated research papers, makes Science content more accessible to students and educators.  Through reading and deconstructing scientific papers, students can gain an understanding of how scientists design their experiments and present their results, essentially allowing students to experience the logic of getting from a set of data to a new conclusion. We will create a workshop for the undergraduate STEM community, defined in this proposal as faculty, pre-service teachers (including participants in teacher-prep programs and Learning Assistant programs),  graduate students, postdocs, and other interested STEM professionals, that provides a foundation for teaching the nature and practices of science.  This workshop will allow us to leverage the expertise of the STEM education community to develop educator guides for SitC resources.   
      The benefits of our proposal are three-fold. Through the workshop, participants will learn how to develop high quality educator guides focusing on the nature of science and science practices, a skill that will be useful for STEM education purposes but also transferable to a wide variety of STEM careers. The educator guides developed by participants will be freely available for use by teachers and students throughout the STEM education community, ultimately increasing the accessibility of annotated primary literature resources that have been vetted by educational experts. Engaging with the nature and practices of science in a teaching context has been shown to contribute to the improvement of essential research skills. Therefore, participants in our workshop may improve upon their own research skills, essentially becoming better scientists.   
    2. Focus: Undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, science teachers and instructors
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Melissa McCartney (Co-Principal Investigator)
    5. Award number - Amount: 077795672 - $297,491
    6. Contact: Melissa McCartney (mmccartn@fiu.edu), Department of Biological Sciences
    7. Website: www.scienceintheclassroom.org

     

    Understanding the implications of gamification on women computer science students' engagement and women-CS fit

    1. Summary: This gender study seeks to better understand implications of gamification on student learning, identity development, and self-efficacy beliefs. The study consists of an in-depth inquiry into the experiences of female students as they participate in the use of SEP-CyLE (Software Engineering and Program Cyberlearning Environment) in order to provide insight into a demographic critical to the future success of computing as well as contribute to a better understanding of the role of gamification in student learning and engagement. The narratives that will be shared by the participants of this study will contribute to the body of knowledge on gamification as well as provide insight into whether this pedagogy serves the needs of women in computing.
    2. Focus: Women in computer science; gamification
    3. Funder: National Science Foundation
    4. Team: Monique Ross, Peter Clarke, Geoff Potvin
    5. Award Number - Amount:300,000
    6. Contact: Monique Ross

     

    Verizon Global Corporate Citizenship Verizon Innovative Learning for Minority Males Program: FIU Pathways to STEM

    1. Summary: This program aims to encourage minority males in middle schools to pursue studies in STEM disciplines, specifically Engineering and Computer Science. Over three weeks in the Summer, minority males in middle schools will be recruited to participate in a camp to expand their knowledge of the varying science, technology, engineering, and math fields by engaging in mobile app development, 3D design, and building flying drones.
    2. Focus: Middle school students; K12 Teacher professional development
    3. Funder: Verizon Foundation
    4. Team: Monique Ross, Laird Kramer, Vishodana Thamotharan

Current Projects by Discipline

  • Biological Sciences

    Taking the long view: Investigating the role of biology interest and far-sighted career goals on student persistence in STEM career pathways

    Summary: Despite having the most diverse undergraduate population among STEM fields, biology professionals in fields like medicine and research remain resoundingly white and from affluent backgrounds. Although efforts to diversify biology are occurring at the graduate and career stages, it may be that factors at the undergraduate level are limiting who is even present in the applicant pool. This proposal lays groundwork for effectively addressing two factors that may limit the participation of historically underrepresented groups in biology careers. It identifies (a) the influence of career goals and disciplinary interest on students' persistence to the next stage in their biology career pathways and (b) how early students need to develop these goals and interests to become competitive for these pathways during college. These findings will inform the design and deployment of effective interventions addressing these issues. These interventions are predicted to disproportionately assist students from historically underrepresented groups to finish college competitive and to transition to biology careers.

    Focus: Undergraduates
    Funder: National Science Foundation
    Team: Sarah L. Eddy (PI-FIU), Lisa Corwin (PI - UC Boulder)
    Award Number - Amount: $188,270
    Contact: Sarah L. Eddy

    Collaborative Research: Creating assessments for student understanding of core chemistry ideas in introductory biology

    Summary: To address biological problems, students must apply and integrate chemistry principles with biology principles, yet existing science assessments in introductory biology courses often encourage rote memorization and assess factual recall. The recently published Framework for K-12 Science Education report from the National Research Council offers a way of thinking about science education aimed at positively affecting students' abilities to use their knowledge and make connections across disciplines. This vision integrates three dimensions: 1) disciplinary core ideas (what students really need to know); 2) crosscutting concepts (themes across science disciplines); and 3) scientific practices (how students should use their knowledge). The integration of these dimensions is referred to as "three-dimensional learning". Instead of assessing factual recall, assessments should probe students' abilities to use scientific practices (e.g., analyzing and interpreting data) in the context of disciplinary core ideas (e.g., using the structure of a compound to predict how the substance behaves) and crosscutting concepts (e.g., conservation of energy and matter) to make sense of phenomena, but writing such assessments is difficult. There is a need for assessments that emphasize three-dimensional learning in introductory biology courses to support students in developing an integrated understanding of science. To address this need, the objective of this two-year collaborative project between Michigan State University (MSU) and Florida International University (FIU) will be to develop, test, and evaluate the effectiveness of assessment items that integrate chemistry and biology disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and scientific practices, and focus on making sense of phenomena.

    Focus: Undergraduate students
    Funder: National Science Foundation
    Team: Sonia Underwood (Principal Investigator)
    Award Number - Amount: #1708589: $150,495
    Contact: Sonia Underwood (sonia.underwood@fiu.edu)

    CREST: Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment

    Summary: With National Science Foundation support, Florida International University will establish the Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment. Human-derived environmental contaminants consist of antibiotics and pharmaceuticals, mercury, black carbon, and fossil fuels. These stressors are recognized as having significant effects on ecosystems and biota as well as on human wellbeing. It is critical to understand the biogeochemical processes that govern the fate of these compounds and their impacts on the ecosystem. Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment research will address the sources, transport, transformation and ecosystem responses to contaminants, pollutants and other natural stressors, under changing land-use and environmental conditions. The Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment will generate significant new knowledge regarding contaminants and pollutants in aquatic environments, as well as produce innovative methodologies for detecting and assessing contaminant quantities and impacts, including the use of molecular detection techniques. The proposed research will advance current efforts on the biological effects, transport, transformation and distribution of contaminants in the environment into new collaborative research areas that investigate the sources and transport of contaminants and pollutants in aquatic systems.

    Focus: Undergraduate and Graduate students
    Funder: National Science Foundation
    Team: Todd Crowl (Principal Investigator), Rene Price (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator), Shu-Ching Chen (Co-Principal Investigator), Piero Gardinali (Co-Principal Investigator), Rudolf Jaffe (Former Co-Principal Investigator)
    Award Number - Amount: 1547798 - $2,099,985.00
    Contact: Laird Kramer (kramerl@fiu.edu), Department of Physics
    Website: https://crestcache.fiu.edu/

    FIUteach

    Summary: FIUteach is a secondary STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teacher preparation initiative that is helping to produce qualified math and science teachers. Core elements of the program include recruitment and retention incentives, a compact degree program, a strong focus on research-based strategies for teaching and learning math and science, intensive field teaching experience, and personal guidance from master teachers and faculty. Each year FIU will offer free, immersive teaching experiences to students in the program, producing well-prepared mathematics and science teachers upon graduation. The UTeach model program was created in response to national concerns about the quality of K-12 education in mathematics and science fields. The program is supported by the National Math and Science Initiative and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    Focus: Undergraduate students, pre-service teachers
    Funder: UTeach, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and National Math and Science Initiative
    Contact: Vishodana Thamotharan (vthamoth@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute
    Website: http://fiuteach.fiu.edu/

    Breaking the Cycle: Preparing Future STEM Teachers for the Highest Need Urban Schools by Embracing Culturally-responsive Instruction

    Summary: The Track 1 Noyce project at Florida International University (FIU), "Breaking the cycle: Preparing future STEM teachers for the highest need urban schools by embracing culturally responsive instruction", will substantially increase the number of highly qualified teachers prepared to serve in high-need school districts. The project will recruit, prepare, administer two-year scholarships and facilitate induction for 33 Scholars over the five-year project. FIU, an urban public research university with over 54,000 students, is partnering with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth largest school district in the nation serving over 350,000 students, to establish the project testbed in highly diverse Miami, Florida. The project embraces the diversity of FIU's student body, over 78% of which are from historically underrepresented groups, and develops their culturally responsive instructional practices so they are prepared to break the cycle of persistent low achievement as future education leaders in the highest need schools. In parallel, the project will establish a dissemination model to enable adoption and adaptation across the nation

    Focus: Pre-service teachers, Undergraduate teacher preparation
    Funder: National Science Foundation
    Team: Vishodana Thamotharan (Principal Investigator), Zahra Hazari (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator), Maria Fernandez (Co-Principal Investigator)
    Award Number - Amount: 1660776 - $1,007,089.00
    Contact: Vishodana Thamotharan (vthamoth@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    GEO Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD): Hearts of GOLD

    Summary: Geosciences currently trails other STEM fields in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups such as women, people of color, and people with disabilities. In 2012, of 737 doctoral degrees awarded in the earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences, 319 were awarded to women, and only 35 were awarded to Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaska-native students, combined. Substantial evidence exists to demonstrate the vital role that diversity plays in increasing innovation and creativity and increasing the quality of science, as measured by publication in high-impact journals and citation rates. By failing to recruit and retain diverse students, staff, and faculty in our field, we are losing the potential to create our best, most innovative science. Much of the shortcomings in recruiting and retaining minorities in geosciences seem to be related to the difficult social environments that these groups face in our disciplines classrooms and workplaces. We propose to develop and test a new professional development training for established scientific leaders in the geosciences, the GOLD Institute, designed to spark cognitive dissonance, and begin the process of personal reflection and change needed to transform existing leaders into champions for diversity. By targeting senior scientists who are already well-respected in the field, our project capitalizes on their reputations, networks, and social capital to build them into diversity champions with the power to make significant and swift cultural change in their institutions and the wider field. This proposal provides them with the training necessary to institute equitable recruitment, hiring, and promotion practices, and tackle ?chilly? and hostile climates. Nominations will be solicited throughout the geosciences several months prior to the GOLD Institute. Participants will be selected on the basis of scientific and/or educational expertise, potential to broaden participation in the geosciences, and other characteristics that exemplify effective leadership skills and behaviors. Selection for one of the GOLD Institutes is an acknowledgment that these individuals have established greater purpose and value in their work and are committed to a legacy of diversity and inclusion for the entire geosciences community.

    Focus: Faculty
    Funder: National Science Foundation
    Team: P. Grady Dixon (Principal Investigator), Kathleen Quardokus Fisher (Co-Principal Investigator), LaToya Myles (Co-Principal Investigator), Denise Simmons (Co-Principal Investigator), Eric Kaufman (Co-Principal Investigator)
    Contact: Kathleen Quardokus Fisher (kathleen.quardokusfisher@fiu.edu), Department of Earth and Environment

    HHMI Collaborative: Community for Faculty Development

    Summary: In collaboration with 5 HHMI Science Education institutions (i.e. Drexel University, Emory University, University of Maryland – College Park, and University of Kentucky), this grant aims to establish continued research and scholarship partnerships between HHMI Science Education institutions, with the aim of identifying promising practices and common barriers in faculty implementation of evidence-based strategies. We conducted a large-scale survey study of STEM faculty in over 60 research-intensive institutions (with and without HHMI Science Education grants), to increase our understanding of STEM instructional practices and faculty support structures. We have used these data for developing collaborative research projects between HHMI institutions and advancing our understanding of the barriers and opportunities of faculty adoption of evidence-based strategies.

    Focus: STEM faculty at HHMI Science Education Universities and research-intensive institutions
    Funder: Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    Award Amount: $100,000.00
    Team: Laird Kramer (Principal Investigator), Donna Murasko (Co-PI), Drexel University; Pat Marsteller (Co-PI), Emory University; Kaci Thompson (Co-PI) , University of Maryland – College Park; Vince Cassone (Co-PI), University of Kentucky; Geoff Potvin, Zahra Hazari, Rocio Benabentos.
    Contact: Rocio Benabentos (rbenaben@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    HHMI Collaborative for Institutionalizing Scientific Learning

    Summary: The Collaborative for Institutionalizing Scientific Learning is a $1.5M grant with the goal to establish an institutional culture to support the use of evidence-based teaching practices across science and mathematics courses, thus improving STEM student retention and success. To achieve this goal, this project focuses on four interacting objectives: (1) Create a support structure to expand the number of science and mathematics faculty utilizing evidence-based strategies; (2) integrate effective measures of classroom learning into all science and mathematics courses; (3) solidify a culture of evidence-based instructional strategies across the institution; and (4) develop and deploy a research framework for analyzing institutional change in STEM education.

    Focus: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math faculty members and Departments
    Funder: Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    Team: Laird Kramer (Principal Investigator), Marcy Kravec (Co-Director), Department of Biological Sciences; Kelly Rein (Co-Director), Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Geoff Potvin (Co-Director), Department of Physics; Julian Edward (Co-Director), Department of Mathematics and Statistics; Rocio Benabentos
    Amount: $1.5M
    Contact: Rocio Benabentos (rbenaben@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute
    Website: http://fiulearn.fiu.edu/dber/hhmi-faculty-scholar-program/

    LA Program: Learning Assistant Program

    Summary: Learning Assistants (LAs) are undergraduate students who through the guidance of weekly preparation sessions and a pedagogy course, facilitate discussions among groups of students in a variety of classroom settings that encourage active engagement. The FIU LA Program is now the largest in the nation. The Learning Assistant (LA) Program was pioneered at FIU in the Physics Department through the FIU PhysTEC project. PhysTEC is a joint effort at improving teacher preparation that is facilitated by three of the most prominent national physics societies, the American Physical Society (APS), American Institute of Physics (AIP), and American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). Since then, the program has grown to be the largest LA program in the nation and has serviced 9 different departments across FIU. In Fall 2015, the Provost announced a university wide initiative and positioned the LA Program to play a vital role in the transformation of undergraduate STEM courses. In Spring 2017, about 330 LAs worked in 9 departments and impacted over 10,000 student enrollments.  The LA Program originated at the University of Colorado in Boulder and the FIU LA Program is an active participant with the LA Alliance.

    Focus: Undergraduate course reform / pre-service teacher preparation / faculty professional development / institutional change
    Contact: Hagit Kornreich Leshem (hkornrei@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute
    Website: http://laprogram.fiu.edu

    Science in the Classroom (SitC)

    Summary: This project will significantly expand the Science in the Classroom (SitC) initiative (http://www.scienceintheclassroom.org/) into tools for learning. The annotated papers and related resources that are produced will allow students to engage with primary data sets and gain a deep understanding of how scientists design experiments, gather and analyze data, and present their conclusions. This approach enables students to assume the persona of a scientist; it guides them through the scientific process of posing questions, designing experiments to pursue those questions, analyzing the data that returns from the experiments, and working toward new conclusions in response to the analysis. The students also come to understand, first-hand, the process of scientific communication, through which scientists explain their progression from questions to experiments to data to conclusions, while also generating the next set of intriguing questions.

    Focus: Undergraduate students
    Funder: National Science Foundation
    Team: Melissa McCartney (Co-Principal Investigator)
    Award number - Amount: 1525596 - $1,274,487.00
    Contact: Melissa McCartney (mmccartn@fiu.edu), Department of Biological Sciences
    Website: scienceintheclassroom.org

    Workshop on the Nature and Practices of Science to Support Educator Guides for Science in the Classroom  

    Summary:  Science in the Classroom (SitC), a collection of annotated research papers, makes Science content more accessible to students and educators.  Through reading and deconstructing scientific papers, students can gain an understanding of how scientists design their experiments and present their results, essentially allowing students to experience the logic of getting from a set of data to a new conclusion. 

    We will create a workshop for the undergraduate STEM community, defined in this proposal as faculty, pre-service teachers (including participants in teacher-prep programs and Learning Assistant programs),  graduate students, postdocs, and other interested STEM professionals, that provides a foundation for teaching the nature and practices of science.  This workshop will allow us to leverage the expertise of the STEM education community to develop educator guides for SitC resources.    

    The benefits of our proposal are three-fold.

    1. Through the workshop, participants will learn how to develop high quality educator guides focusing on the nature of science and science practices, a skill that will be useful for STEM education purposes but also transferable to a wide variety of STEM careers.

    2. The educator guides developed by participants will be freely available for use by teachers and students throughout the STEM education community, ultimately increasing the accessibility of annotated primary literature resources that have been vetted by educational experts.

    3. Engaging with the nature and practices of science in a teaching context has been shown to contribute to the improvement of essential research skills.  Therefore, participants in our workshop may improve upon their own research skills, essentially becoming better scientists.    

    Focus: Undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, science teachers and instructors
    Funder: National Science Foundation
    Team: Melissa McCartney (Co-Principal Investigator)
    Award number - Amount: 077795672 - $297,491
    Contact: Melissa McCartney (mmccartn@fiu.edu), Department of Biological Sciences
    Website: www.scienceintheclassroom.org

  • Chemistry

    Developing Items to Assess the Use of Scientific Practices in a Chemistry Laboratory Setting

    Summary: Recent calls for science education reform have consistently highlighted the importance of engaging students in the practice of science for both the development of a scientific workforce and a scientifically literate citizenry. The Framework for K-12 Education and the Next Generation Science Standards identify a set of eight practices considered essential for learning science, and emphasize that students’ understanding of the practices of science and engineering is as important to understanding science as knowledge of its content. While the Framework focuses on K-12 education, we argue that these same practices are relevant to science education at all levels, and that the laboratory is the ideal place for students to engage with and learn about these practices. However, it has yet to be studied whether engagement in the practices has any effect student learning outcomes. One reason for this is the absence of appropriate assessment items that can provide evidence of the ways that students engage with the practices, and how this may change over time.  There are two major goals of this project: The first goal is to develop assessment items, focusing on three practices: (1) Planning and carrying out investigations; (2) Analyzing and interpreting data; and (3) Constructing explanations/engaging in argument from evidence. These assessment items will be developed using an iterative process, which includes identifying the key elements of each practice that can be assessed, developing tasks and scoring rubrics, and establishing validity, reliability, and practicality. Items will be reviewed initially by our advisory board, members of which have extensive expertise in both laboratory instruction and instrument development, tested with students using think aloud interviews, and revised as necessary. The second goal is to use the assessment items in two different laboratory environments (one transformed and one traditional) to answer the research question: How does engagement with the practices in the laboratory environment affect students’ use of scientific practices?

    Focus: Undergraduate Students
    Funder: National Science Foundation
    Team: Justin Carmel (PI - FIU), Melanie Cooper (PI - Michigan State), Deborah Herrington (PI - Grand Valley State University)
    Award Number - Amount: #1708506: $188,270
    Contact: Justin Carmel (jcarmel@fiu.edu)

    Collaborative Research: Creating assessments for student understanding of core chemistry ideas in introductory biology

    Summary: To address biological problems, students must apply and integrate chemistry principles with biology principles, yet existing science assessments in introductory biology courses often encourage rote memorization and assess factual recall. The recently published Framework for K-12 Science Education report from the National Research Council offers a way of thinking about science education aimed at positively affecting students' abilities to use their knowledge and make connections across disciplines. This vision integrates three dimensions: 1) disciplinary core ideas (what students really need to know); 2) crosscutting concepts (themes across science disciplines); and 3) scientific practices (how students should use their knowledge). The integration of these dimensions is referred to as "three-dimensional learning". Instead of assessing factual recall, assessments should probe students' abilities to use scientific practices (e.g., analyzing and interpreting data) in the context of disciplinary core ideas (e.g., using the structure of a compound to predict how the substance behaves) and crosscutting concepts (e.g., conservation of energy and matter) to make sense of phenomena, but writing such assessments is difficult. There is a need for assessments that emphasize three-dimensional learning in introductory biology courses to support students in developing an integrated understanding of science. To address this need, the objective of this two-year collaborative project between Michigan State University (MSU) and Florida International University (FIU) will be to develop, test, and evaluate the effectiveness of assessment items that integrate chemistry and biology disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and scientific practices, and focus on making sense of phenomena.

    Focus: Undergraduate students
    Funder: National Science Foundation
    Team: Sonia Underwood (Principal Investigator)
    Award Number - Amount: #1708589: $150,495
    Contact: Sonia Underwood (sonia.underwood@fiu.edu)

    Extending the Coherent Gateway to STEM Teaching and Learning!

    Summary: There is compelling evidence that introductory gateway courses are often significant barriers to student success, persistence, and graduation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Drawing on work supported by the Association of American Universities, this collaborative R&D project is designed to implement an innovative teaching and learning model, Three-Dimensional (3D) Learning, and investigate the factors (e.g., supports and challenges) affecting the adoption and implementation of instructional innovation in introductory and upper level courses in STEM. The approach is based on an adaptation of the National Research Council's document, A Framework for K-12 Science Education, for postsecondary education. Rather than focusing on developing faculty awareness and implementation of high impact practices as a means to transform STEM courses, the 3D Learning framework focuses on engaging faculty in identifying core ideas in the disciplines, including scientific practice in the classroom, and incorporating crosscutting scientific concepts in course materials with the goal of building faculty capacity and departmental/institutional infrastructure to improve student learning. The project concentrates on two major efforts: (1) the propagation of 3D Learning, development and validation of assessment tools, and implementation of faculty support structures across Michigan State University and its partner institutions, Grand Valley State University, Florida International University, and Kansas State University and (2) research using a variety of methods to examine how instructional innovation is adopted and implemented across different disciplines, department cultures, and institutional ecologies and their effect on student outcomes.

    Focus: Undergraduate students

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Sonia Underwood (Principal Investigator), Justin Carmel (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Award Number - Amount: #1725609: $321,529

    Contact: Sonia Underwood (sonia.underwood@fiu.edu), Justin Carmel (jcarmel@fiu.edu)

    CREST: Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment

    Summary: With National Science Foundation support, Florida International University will establish the Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment. Human-derived environmental contaminants consist of antibiotics and pharmaceuticals, mercury, black carbon, and fossil fuels. These stressors are recognized as having significant effects on ecosystems and biota as well as on human wellbeing. It is critical to understand the biogeochemical processes that govern the fate of these compounds and their impacts on the ecosystem. Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment research will address the sources, transport, transformation and ecosystem responses to contaminants, pollutants and other natural stressors, under changing land-use and environmental conditions. The Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment will generate significant new knowledge regarding contaminants and pollutants in aquatic environments, as well as produce innovative methodologies for detecting and assessing contaminant quantities and impacts, including the use of molecular detection techniques. The proposed research will advance current efforts on the biological effects, transport, transformation and distribution of contaminants in the environment into new collaborative research areas that investigate the sources and transport of contaminants and pollutants in aquatic systems.

    Focus: Undergraduate and Graduate students
    Funder: National Science Foundation
    Team: Todd Crowl (Principal Investigator), Rene Price (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator), Shu-Ching Chen (Co-Principal Investigator), Piero Gardinali (Co-Principal Investigator), Rudolf Jaffe (Former Co-Principal Investigator)
    Award Number - Amount: 1547798 - $2,099,985.00
    Contact: Laird Kramer (kramerl@fiu.edu), Department of Physics
    Website: https://crestcache.fiu.edu/

    FIUteach

    Summary: FIUteach is a secondary STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teacher preparation initiative that is helping to produce qualified math and science teachers. Core elements of the program include recruitment and retention incentives, a compact degree program, a strong focus on research-based strategies for teaching and learning math and science, intensive field teaching experience, and personal guidance from master teachers and faculty. Each year FIU will offer free, immersive teaching experiences to students in the program, producing well-prepared mathematics and science teachers upon graduation. The UTeach model program was created in response to national concerns about the quality of K-12 education in mathematics and science fields. The program is supported by the National Math and Science Initiative and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    Focus: Undergraduate students, pre-service teachers
    Funder: UTeach, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and National Math and Science Initiative
    Contact: Vishodana Thamotharan (vthamoth@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Website: http://fiuteach.fiu.edu/

    Breaking the Cycle: Preparing Future STEM Teachers for the Highest Need Urban Schools by Embracing Culturally-responsive Instruction

    Summary: The Track 1 Noyce project at Florida International University (FIU), "Breaking the cycle: Preparing future STEM teachers for the highest need urban schools by embracing culturally responsive instruction", will substantially increase the number of highly qualified teachers prepared to serve in high-need school districts. The project will recruit, prepare, administer two-year scholarships and facilitate induction for 33 Scholars over the five-year project. FIU, an urban public research university with over 54,000 students, is partnering with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth largest school district in the nation serving over 350,000 students, to establish the project testbed in highly diverse Miami, Florida. The project embraces the diversity of FIU's student body, over 78% of which are from historically underrepresented groups, and develops their culturally responsive instructional practices so they are prepared to break the cycle of persistent low achievement as future education leaders in the highest need schools. In parallel, the project will establish a dissemination model to enable adoption and adaptation across the nation

    Focus: Pre-service teachers, Undergraduate teacher preparation

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Vishodana Thamotharan (Principal Investigator), Zahra Hazari (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator), Maria Fernandez (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Award Number - Amount: 1660776 - $1,007,089.00

    Contact: Vishodana Thamotharan (vthamoth@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    HHMI Collaborative: Community for Faculty Development

    Summary: In collaboration with 5 HHMI Science Education institutions (i.e. Drexel University, Emory University, University of Maryland – College Park, and University of Kentucky), this grant aims to establish continued research and scholarship partnerships between HHMI Science Education institutions, with the aim of identifying promising practices and common barriers in faculty implementation of evidence-based strategies. We conducted a large-scale survey study of STEM faculty in over 60 research-intensive institutions (with and without HHMI Science Education grants), to increase our understanding of STEM instructional practices and faculty support structures. We have used these data for developing collaborative research projects between HHMI institutions and advancing our understanding of the barriers and opportunities of faculty adoption of evidence-based strategies.

    Focus: STEM faculty at HHMI Science Education Universities and research-intensive institutions

    Funder: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    Award Amount: $100,000.00

    Team: Laird Kramer (Principal Investigator), Donna Murasko (Co-PI), Drexel University; Pat Marsteller (Co-PI), Emory University; Kaci Thompson (Co-PI) , University of Maryland – College Park; Vince Cassone (Co-PI), University of Kentucky; Geoff Potvin, Zahra Hazari, Rocio Benabentos.

    Contact: Rocio Benabentos (rbenaben@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    HHMI Collaborative for Institutionalizing Scientific Learning

    Summary: The Collaborative for Institutionalizing Scientific Learning is a $1.5M grant with the goal to establish an institutional culture to support the use of evidence-based teaching practices across science and mathematics courses, thus improving STEM student retention and success. To achieve this goal, this project focuses on four interacting objectives: (1) Create a support structure to expand the number of science and mathematics faculty utilizing evidence-based strategies; (2) integrate effective measures of classroom learning into all science and mathematics courses; (3) solidify a culture of evidence-based instructional strategies across the institution; and (4) develop and deploy a research framework for analyzing institutional change in STEM education.

    Focus: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math faculty members and Departments

    Funder: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    Team: Laird Kramer (Principal Investigator), Marcy Kravec (Co-Director), Department of Biological Sciences; Kelly Rein (Co-Director), Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Geoff Potvin (Co-Director), Department of Physics; Julian Edward (Co-Director), Department of Mathematics and Statistics; Rocio Benabentos

    Amount: $1.5M

    Contact: Rocio Benabentos (rbenaben@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Website: http://fiulearn.fiu.edu/dber/hhmi-faculty-scholar-program/

    LA Program: Learning Assistant Program

    Summary: Learning Assistants (LAs) are undergraduate students who through the guidance of weekly preparation sessions and a pedagogy course, facilitate discussions among groups of students in a variety of classroom settings that encourage active engagement. The FIU LA Program is now the largest in the nation. The Learning Assistant (LA) Program was pioneered at FIU in the Physics Department through the FIU PhysTEC project. PhysTEC is a joint effort at improving teacher preparation that is facilitated by three of the most prominent national physics societies, the American Physical Society (APS), American Institute of Physics (AIP), and American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). Since then, the program has grown to be the largest LA program in the nation and has serviced 9 different departments across FIU. In Fall 2015, the Provost announced a university wide initiative and positioned the LA Program to play a vital role in the transformation of undergraduate STEM courses. In Spring 2017, about 330 LAs worked in 9 departments and impacted over 10,000 student enrollments.  The LA Program originated at the University of Colorado in Boulder and the FIU LA Program is an active participant with the LA Alliance.

    Focus: Undergraduate course reform / pre-service teacher preparation / faculty professional development / institutional change

    Contact: Hagit Kornreich Leshem (hkornrei@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Website: http://laprogram.fiu.edu

  • Computer Science & Engineering

    EAGER: Demystifying the Engineering and Computer Science Underrepresentation Problem: Understanding the pathways to and through these Disciplines for Black and Hispanic Women

    Summary: This qualitative inquiry explores the pathways to and through engineering and computer science for Black and Hispanic women. Leveraging prior qualitative research, this study further examines the unique pathways of women, based on the intersections of race and gender, at the undergraduate level, when recruitment and retention efforts can have a greater impact on broadening participation.

    Focus: Black and Hispanic women in computer science and engineering

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Monique Ross, Atalie Garcia (Undergraduate Researcher)

    Award Number - Amount: $71,000

    Contact: Monique Ross

    Understanding the implications of gamification on women computer science students' engagement and women-CS fit

    Summary: This gender study seeks to better understand implications of gamification on student learning, identity development, and self-efficacy beliefs. The study consists of an in-depth inquiry into the experiences of female students as they participate in the use of SEP-CyLE (Software Engineering and Program Cyberlearning Environment) in order to provide insight into a demographic critical to the future success of computing as well as contribute to a better understanding of the role of gamification in student learning and engagement. The narratives that will be shared by the participants of this study will contribute to the body of knowledge on gamification as well as provide insight into whether this pedagogy serves the needs of women in computing.

    Focus: Women in computer science; gamification

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Monique Ross, Peter Clarke, Geoff Potvin

    Award Number - Amount: 300,000

    Contact: Monique Ross

    Engaged Student Learning - Design and Development Level II: Using a Cyberlearning Environment to Improve Student Learning and Engagement in Software Courses

    Summary: Due to the ubiquitous nature of software in the 21st century there is a great and increasing demand for software developers and programmers in the US. Both Computer Science (CS) and Information Technology (IT) academicians and practitioners agree that a comprehensive strategy to improve the number and quality of 21st century CS/IT workforce is needed. This project will assist colleges and universities in producing more well-qualified software developers through the use of a cyberlearning environment that builds on and extends WReSTT-CyLE (Web-Based Repository of Software Testing Tutorials), a cyberlearning environment for software testing.

    Focus: Undergraduate students

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Peter Clarke (Principal Investigator), Geoffrey Potvin (Co-Principal Investigator), Mandayam Thirunarayanan (Co-Principal Investigator), Debra Davis (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Award Number - Amount: 1525112 - $821,954.00

    Contact: Geoff Potvin (gpotvin@fiu.edu), Department of Physics

    Collaborative Research: Florida IT Pathways to Success (Flit-Path)

    Summary: The S-STEM Flit-Path (Florida IT Pathways) project will recruit, retain, and provide scholarships and curricular and co-curricular support to academically talented students with financial need in the IT related disciplines of Computer Science, Information Technology, and Computer Engineering. The goals of the project are to (1) increase retention, student success, and graduation of students who pursue a degree in the Computer Science, Information Technology, and Computer Engineering disciplines; (2) implement a model of student engagement that affects the recruitment, retention, student success, academic and career pathways, and degree attainment of students pursing a degree in these disciplines; and (3) contribute to the implementation and sustainability of effective evidence-based curricular/co-curricular activities for its students. Building on a grant from the Florida State Board of Governors, project activities include tutoring for foundation courses; intrusive academic advising; faculty, industry, and peer mentoring; and academic and career pathway support. Participation in project activities is expected to increase the graduation rate for Flit Path students by 20%. The project will recruit two cohorts of students. Cohort A will be comprised of 54 first time college students in each of Years 1 and 2 of the grant. Cohort B will be comprised of 69 first time in college senior students each year, who have the potential and interest in graduating within one year's time. Flit-Path will impact 453 students who are pursuing degrees in Computer Science, Information Technology, and Computer Engineering.

    Focus: Undergraduate students

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Mark Weiss (Principal Investigator), Zahra Hazari (Co-Principal Investigator), Monique Ross (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Award Number - Amount: 1643965 - $1,944,118.00

    Contact: Zahra Hazari (zhazari@fiu.edu), Department of Teaching and Learning and affiliate faculty member in the Department of Physics

    Intersectionality of Non-normative Identities in the Cultures of Engineering (InIce)

    Summary: This project is motivated by the need to increase and diversify the engineering workforce, which will help to increase economic growth and prosperity in the United States. The ultimate goal of this project is to understand more effectively the ways in which students can become interested in pursuing engineering majors in college and how to help them persist through to the end of an engineering degree, with particular attention on those students who may have different views of the role of engineering. This will be accomplished by a large quantitative assessment followed by a longitudinal study of students who are identified as holding various normative or non-normative attitudinal profiles, with a focus on understanding students' feelings of belonging in engineering and their developing engineering identities. The outcomes of this work will result in practical ways to increase diversity in engineering programs through research-based recruitment and teaching strategies focused on student identities within engineering. Specific course materials will be developed to target graduate students entering academia (who will be teaching future engineering students) to help begin to foster a more welcoming culture in engineering.

    Focus: Graduate students

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Geoffrey Potvin (Principal Investigator), Allison Godwin (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Award Number - Amount: 1428689 - $170,527.00

    Contact: Geoff Potvin (gpotvin@fiu.edu), Department of Physics

    LA Program: Learning Assistant Program

    Summary: Learning Assistants (LAs) are undergraduate students who through the guidance of weekly preparation sessions and a pedagogy course, facilitate discussions among groups of students in a variety of classroom settings that encourage active engagement. The FIU LA Program is now the largest in the nation. The Learning Assistant (LA) Program was pioneered at FIU in the Physics Department through the FIU PhysTEC project. PhysTEC is a joint effort at improving teacher preparation that is facilitated by three of the most prominent national physics societies, the American Physical Society (APS), American Institute of Physics (AIP), and American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). Since then, the program has grown to be the largest LA program in the nation and has serviced 9 different departments across FIU. In Fall 2015, the Provost announced a university wide initiative and positioned the LA Program to play a vital role in the transformation of undergraduate STEM courses. In Spring 2017, about 330 LAs worked in 9 departments and impacted over 10,000 student enrollments.  The LA Program originated at the University of Colorado in Boulder and the FIU LA Program is an active participant with the LA Alliance.

    Focus: Undergraduate course reform / pre-service teacher preparation / faculty professional development / institutional change

    Contact: Hagit Kornreich Leshem (hkornrei@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Website: http://laprogram.fiu.edu

  • Mathematics

    FIUteach

    Summary: FIUteach is a secondary STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teacher preparation initiative that is helping to produce qualified math and science teachers. Core elements of the program include recruitment and retention incentives, a compact degree program, a strong focus on research-based strategies for teaching and learning math and science, intensive field teaching experience, and personal guidance from master teachers and faculty. Each year FIU will offer free, immersive teaching experiences to students in the program, producing well-prepared mathematics and science teachers upon graduation. The UTeach model program was created in response to national concerns about the quality of K-12 education in mathematics and science fields. The program is supported by the National Math and Science Initiative and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    Focus: Undergraduate students, pre-service teachers

    Funder: UTeach, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and National Math and Science Initiative

    Contact: Vishodana Thamotharan (vthamoth@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Website: http://fiuteach.fiu.edu/

    Breaking the Cycle: Preparing Future STEM Teachers for the Highest Need Urban Schools by Embracing Culturally-responsive Instruction

    Summary: The Track 1 Noyce project at Florida International University (FIU), "Breaking the cycle: Preparing future STEM teachers for the highest need urban schools by embracing culturally responsive instruction", will substantially increase the number of highly qualified teachers prepared to serve in high-need school districts. The project will recruit, prepare, administer two-year scholarships and facilitate induction for 33 Scholars over the five-year project. FIU, an urban public research university with over 54,000 students, is partnering with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth largest school district in the nation serving over 350,000 students, to establish the project testbed in highly diverse Miami, Florida. The project embraces the diversity of FIU's student body, over 78% of which are from historically underrepresented groups, and develops their culturally responsive instructional practices so they are prepared to break the cycle of persistent low achievement as future education leaders in the highest need schools. In parallel, the project will establish a dissemination model to enable adoption and adaptation across the nation

    Focus: Pre-service teachers, Undergraduate teacher preparation

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Vishodana Thamotharan (Principal Investigator), Zahra Hazari (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator), Maria Fernandez (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Award Number - Amount: 1660776 - $1,007,089.00

    Contact: Vishodana Thamotharan (vthamoth@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Scholarly Leaders Originating as Practicing Educators in Two-Year College Mathematics (Project SLOPE)

    Summary: This project will address the research gap surrounding two-year college mathematics faculty SoTL research by first conducting a critical analysis and synthesis of existing programming and the literature base that focuses on the intersection of SoTL, two-year college faculty research, and mathematics education research in postsecondary contexts. Central to this inquiry will be an examination of the relationship between faculty researcher needs and the structures of two-year colleges. Following this needs, barriers, and opportunities analysis, the results will be used to develop and implement a pilot national program initiative to engage two-year college mathematics faculty in SoTL research. The pilot program will be a fifteen-month comprehensive faculty association with the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges that provides training in SoTL, as well as support in undertaking this scholarship and in navigating the structures of two-year colleges that might pose challenges to engaging in SoTL. In this pilot program, six two-year college mathematics faculty will implement a SoTL project in their classroom and plan for the dissemination of the results. The pilot will be evaluated to refine its design to meet the needs of participants and to allow for future expansion of the program and related programs.

    Focus: Two Year College Mathematics Faculty

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Megan Breit-Goodwin (Principal Investigator) Kathleen Quardokus Fisher (Co-Principal Investigator) Ann Sitomer (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Contact: Kathy Quardokus Fisher


    HHMI Collaborative: Community for Faculty Development

    Summary: In collaboration with 5 HHMI Science Education institutions (i.e. Drexel University, Emory University, University of Maryland – College Park, and University of Kentucky), this grant aims to establish continued research and scholarship partnerships between HHMI Science Education institutions, with the aim of identifying promising practices and common barriers in faculty implementation of evidence-based strategies. We conducted a large-scale survey study of STEM faculty in over 60 research-intensive institutions (with and without HHMI Science Education grants), to increase our understanding of STEM instructional practices and faculty support structures. We have used these data for developing collaborative research projects between HHMI institutions and advancing our understanding of the barriers and opportunities of faculty adoption of evidence-based strategies.

    Focus: STEM faculty at HHMI Science Education Universities and research-intensive institutions

    Funder: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    Award Amount: $100,000.00

    Team: Laird Kramer (Principal Investigator), Donna Murasko (Co-PI), Drexel University; Pat Marsteller (Co-PI), Emory University; Kaci Thompson (Co-PI) , University of Maryland – College Park; Vince Cassone (Co-PI), University of Kentucky; Geoff Potvin, Zahra Hazari, Rocio Benabentos.

    Contact: Rocio Benabentos (rbenaben@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    HHMI Collaborative for Institutionalizing Scientific Learning

    Summary: The Collaborative for Institutionalizing Scientific Learning is a $1.5M grant with the goal to establish an institutional culture to support the use of evidence-based teaching practices across science and mathematics courses, thus improving STEM student retention and success. To achieve this goal, this project focuses on four interacting objectives: (1) Create a support structure to expand the number of science and mathematics faculty utilizing evidence-based strategies; (2) integrate effective measures of classroom learning into all science and mathematics courses; (3) solidify a culture of evidence-based instructional strategies across the institution; and (4) develop and deploy a research framework for analyzing institutional change in STEM education.

    Focus: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math faculty members and Departments

    Funder: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    Team: Laird Kramer (Principal Investigator), Marcy Kravec (Co-Director), Department of Biological Sciences; Kelly Rein (Co-Director), Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Geoff Potvin (Co-Director), Department of Physics; Julian Edward (Co-Director), Department of Mathematics and Statistics; Rocio Benabentos

    Amount: $1.5M

    Contact: Rocio Benabentos (rbenaben@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Website: http://fiulearn.fiu.edu/dber/hhmi-faculty-scholar-program/

    LA Program: Learning Assistant Program

    Summary: Learning Assistants (LAs) are undergraduate students who through the guidance of weekly preparation sessions and a pedagogy course, facilitate discussions among groups of students in a variety of classroom settings that encourage active engagement. The FIU LA Program is now the largest in the nation. The Learning Assistant (LA) Program was pioneered at FIU in the Physics Department through the FIU PhysTEC project. PhysTEC is a joint effort at improving teacher preparation that is facilitated by three of the most prominent national physics societies, the American Physical Society (APS), American Institute of Physics (AIP), and American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). Since then, the program has grown to be the largest LA program in the nation and has serviced 9 different departments across FIU. In Fall 2015, the Provost announced a university wide initiative and positioned the LA Program to play a vital role in the transformation of undergraduate STEM courses. In Spring 2017, about 330 LAs worked in 9 departments and impacted over 10,000 student enrollments.  The LA Program originated at the University of Colorado in Boulder and the FIU LA Program is an active participant with the LA Alliance.

    Focus: Undergraduate course reform / pre-service teacher preparation / faculty professional development / institutional change

    Contact: Hagit Kornreich Leshem (hkornrei@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Website: http://laprogram.fiu.edu

  • Physics

    Mobilizing Teachers to Increase Capacity and Broaden Women's Participation in Physics

    Summary: The Discovery Research K-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools (RMTs). Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects. This project assesses the impact of scaling-up the teaching of physics and engineering to women students in grade levels 11 and 12, particularly in reference to retention. The problem of low participation of women in physics and engineering has been a topic of concern for decades. The persistent under-representation of women in physics and engineering is not just an equity issue but also reflects an unrealized talent pool that can help respond to current and future challenges faced by society. The aim is to mobilize high school physics teachers to "attract and recruit" female students into science (physics) and engineering careers. The fundamental issues that the project seeks is to affect increases in the number of females in physics and engineering careers using research-informed and field-tested classroom practices that improve female students' physics identity. The project will advance science (physics) identity research by testing research-based approaches/interventions with larger groups of teachers and connecting research to practice in ways that are both widely deployable and practical for teachers to implement. The project will also affect female participation in engineering since developing a physics identity is strongly related to choosing engineering. The core area teachers will be trained in addressing student identity as a physicist or engineer.

    Focus: PreK-12 students and teachers

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Zahra Hazari (Principal Investigator), Geoffrey Potvin (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Award Number - Amount: 1721021 - $884,884.00

    Contact: Zahra Hazari (zhazari@fiu.edu), Department of Teaching and Learning and affiliate faculty member in the Department of Physics

    Website: http://www.aps.org/programs/education/su4w/

    FIUteach

    Summary: FIUteach is a secondary STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teacher preparation initiative that is helping to produce qualified math and science teachers. Core elements of the program include recruitment and retention incentives, a compact degree program, a strong focus on research-based strategies for teaching and learning math and science, intensive field teaching experience, and personal guidance from master teachers and faculty. Each year FIU will offer free, immersive teaching experiences to students in the program, producing well-prepared mathematics and science teachers upon graduation. The UTeach model program was created in response to national concerns about the quality of K-12 education in mathematics and science fields. The program is supported by the National Math and Science Initiative and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

    Focus: Undergraduate students, pre-service teachers

    Funder: UTeach, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and National Math and Science Initiative

    Contact: Vishodana Thamotharan (vthamoth@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Website: http://fiuteach.fiu.edu/

    Breaking the Cycle: Preparing Future STEM Teachers for the Highest Need Urban Schools by Embracing Culturally-responsive Instruction

    Summary: The Track 1 Noyce project at Florida International University (FIU), "Breaking the cycle: Preparing future STEM teachers for the highest need urban schools by embracing culturally responsive instruction", will substantially increase the number of highly qualified teachers prepared to serve in high-need school districts. The project will recruit, prepare, administer two-year scholarships and facilitate induction for 33 Scholars over the five-year project. FIU, an urban public research university with over 54,000 students, is partnering with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth largest school district in the nation serving over 350,000 students, to establish the project testbed in highly diverse Miami, Florida. The project embraces the diversity of FIU's student body, over 78% of which are from historically underrepresented groups, and develops their culturally responsive instructional practices so they are prepared to break the cycle of persistent low achievement as future education leaders in the highest need schools. In parallel, the project will establish a dissemination model to enable adoption and adaptation across the nation

    Focus: Pre-service teachers, Undergraduate teacher preparation

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Vishodana Thamotharan (Principal Investigator), Zahra Hazari (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator), Maria Fernandez (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Award Number - Amount: 1660776 - $1,007,089.00

    Contact: Vishodana Thamotharan (vthamoth@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    HHMI Collaborative: Community for Faculty Development

    Summary: In collaboration with 5 HHMI Science Education institutions (i.e. Drexel University, Emory University, University of Maryland – College Park, and University of Kentucky), this grant aims to establish continued research and scholarship partnerships between HHMI Science Education institutions, with the aim of identifying promising practices and common barriers in faculty implementation of evidence-based strategies. We conducted a large-scale survey study of STEM faculty in over 60 research-intensive institutions (with and without HHMI Science Education grants), to increase our understanding of STEM instructional practices and faculty support structures. We have used these data for developing collaborative research projects between HHMI institutions and advancing our understanding of the barriers and opportunities of faculty adoption of evidence-based strategies.

    Focus: STEM faculty at HHMI Science Education Universities and research-intensive institutions

    Funder: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    Award Amount: $100,000.00

    Team: Laird Kramer (Principal Investigator), Donna Murasko (Co-PI), Drexel University; Pat Marsteller (Co-PI), Emory University; Kaci Thompson (Co-PI) , University of Maryland – College Park; Vince Cassone (Co-PI), University of Kentucky; Geoff Potvin, Zahra Hazari, Rocio Benabentos.

    Contact: Rocio Benabentos (rbenaben@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    HHMI Collaborative for Institutionalizing Scientific Learning

    Summary: The Collaborative for Institutionalizing Scientific Learning is a $1.5M grant with the goal to establish an institutional culture to support the use of evidence-based teaching practices across science and mathematics courses, thus improving STEM student retention and success. To achieve this goal, this project focuses on four interacting objectives: (1) Create a support structure to expand the number of science and mathematics faculty utilizing evidence-based strategies; (2) integrate effective measures of classroom learning into all science and mathematics courses; (3) solidify a culture of evidence-based instructional strategies across the institution; and (4) develop and deploy a research framework for analyzing institutional change in STEM education.

    Focus: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math faculty members and Departments

    Funder: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    Team: Laird Kramer (Principal Investigator), Marcy Kravec (Co-Director), Department of Biological Sciences; Kelly Rein (Co-Director), Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Geoff Potvin (Co-Director), Department of Physics; Julian Edward (Co-Director), Department of Mathematics and Statistics; Rocio Benabentos

    Amount: $1.5M

    Contact: Rocio Benabentos (rbenaben@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Website: http://fiulearn.fiu.edu/dber/hhmi-faculty-scholar-program/

    LA Program: Learning Assistant Program

    Summary: Learning Assistants (LAs) are undergraduate students who through the guidance of weekly preparation sessions and a pedagogy course, facilitate discussions among groups of students in a variety of classroom settings that encourage active engagement. The FIU LA Program is now the largest in the nation. The Learning Assistant (LA) Program was pioneered at FIU in the Physics Department through the FIU PhysTEC project. PhysTEC is a joint effort at improving teacher preparation that is facilitated by three of the most prominent national physics societies, the American Physical Society (APS), American Institute of Physics (AIP), and American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). Since then, the program has grown to be the largest LA program in the nation and has serviced 9 different departments across FIU. In Fall 2015, the Provost announced a university wide initiative and positioned the LA Program to play a vital role in the transformation of undergraduate STEM courses. In Spring 2017, about 330 LAs worked in 9 departments and impacted over 10,000 student enrollments.  The LA Program originated at the University of Colorado in Boulder and the FIU LA Program is an active participant with the LA Alliance.

    Focus: Undergraduate course reform / pre-service teacher preparation / faculty professional development / institutional change

    Contact: Hagit Kornreich Leshem (hkornrei@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Website: http://laprogram.fiu.edu

     

Current Projects by Focus

  • Faculty Development

    GEO Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD): Hearts of GOLD

    Summary: Geosciences currently trails other STEM fields in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups such as women, people of color, and people with disabilities. In 2012, of 737 doctoral degrees awarded in the earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences, 319 were awarded to women, and only 35 were awarded to Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaska-native students, combined. Substantial evidence exists to demonstrate the vital role that diversity plays in increasing innovation and creativity and increasing the quality of science, as measured by publication in high-impact journals and citation rates. By failing to recruit and retain diverse students, staff, and faculty in our field, we are losing the potential to create our best, most innovative science. Much of the shortcomings in recruiting and retaining minorities in geosciences seem to be related to the difficult social environments that these groups face in our disciplines classrooms and workplaces. We propose to develop and test a new professional development training for established scientific leaders in the geosciences, the GOLD Institute, designed to spark cognitive dissonance, and begin the process of personal reflection and change needed to transform existing leaders into champions for diversity. By targeting senior scientists who are already well-respected in the field, our project capitalizes on their reputations, networks, and social capital to build them into diversity champions with the power to make significant and swift cultural change in their institutions and the wider field. This proposal provides them with the training necessary to institute equitable recruitment, hiring, and promotion practices, and tackle ?chilly? and hostile climates. Nominations will be solicited throughout the geosciences several months prior to the GOLD Institute. Participants will be selected on the basis of scientific and/or educational expertise, potential to broaden participation in the geosciences, and other characteristics that exemplify effective leadership skills and behaviors. Selection for one of the GOLD Institutes is an acknowledgment that these individuals have established greater purpose and value in their work and are committed to a legacy of diversity and inclusion for the entire geosciences community.

    Focus: Faculty

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: P. Grady Dixon (Principal Investigator), Kathleen Quardokus Fisher (Co-Principal Investigator), LaToya Myles (Co-Principal Investigator), Denise Simmons (Co-Principal Investigator), Eric Kaufman (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Contact: Kathleen Quardokus Fisher (kathleen.quardokusfisher@fiu.edu), Department of Earth and Environment

    Scholarly Leaders Originating as Practicing Educators in Two-Year College Mathematics (Project SLOPE)

    Summary: This project will address the research gap surrounding two-year college mathematics faculty SoTL research by first conducting a critical analysis and synthesis of existing programming and the literature base that focuses on the intersection of SoTL, two-year college faculty research, and mathematics education research in postsecondary contexts. Central to this inquiry will be an examination of the relationship between faculty researcher needs and the structures of two-year colleges. Following this needs, barriers, and opportunities analysis, the results will be used to develop and implement a pilot national program initiative to engage two-year college mathematics faculty in SoTL research. The pilot program will be a fifteen-month comprehensive faculty association with the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges that provides training in SoTL, as well as support in undertaking this scholarship and in navigating the structures of two-year colleges that might pose challenges to engaging in SoTL. In this pilot program, six two-year college mathematics faculty will implement a SoTL project in their classroom and plan for the dissemination of the results. The pilot will be evaluated to refine its design to meet the needs of participants and to allow for future expansion of the program and related programs.

    Focus: Two Year College Mathematics Faculty

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Megan Breit-Goodwin (Principal Investigator) Kathleen Quardokus Fisher (Co-Principal Investigator) Ann Sitomer (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Contact: Kathy Quardokus Fisher

    HHMI Collaborative: Community for Faculty Development

    Summary: In collaboration with 5 HHMI Science Education institutions (i.e. Drexel University, Emory University, University of Maryland – College Park, and University of Kentucky), this grant aims to establish continued research and scholarship partnerships between HHMI Science Education institutions, with the aim of identifying promising practices and common barriers in faculty implementation of evidence-based strategies. We conducted a large-scale survey study of STEM faculty in over 60 research-intensive institutions (with and without HHMI Science Education grants), to increase our understanding of STEM instructional practices and faculty support structures. We have used these data for developing collaborative research projects between HHMI institutions and advancing our understanding of the barriers and opportunities of faculty adoption of evidence-based strategies.

    Focus: STEM faculty at HHMI Science Education Universities and research-intensive institutions

    Funder: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    Award Amount: $100,000.00

    Team: Laird Kramer (Principal Investigator), Donna Murasko (Co-PI), Drexel University; Pat Marsteller (Co-PI), Emory University; Kaci Thompson (Co-PI) , University of Maryland – College Park; Vince Cassone (Co-PI), University of Kentucky; Geoff Potvin, Zahra Hazari, Rocio Benabentos.

    Contact: Rocio Benabentos (rbenaben@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    HHMI Collaborative for Institutionalizing Scientific Learning

    Summary: The Collaborative for Institutionalizing Scientific Learning is a $1.5M grant with the goal to establish an institutional culture to support the use of evidence-based teaching practices across science and mathematics courses, thus improving STEM student retention and success. To achieve this goal, this project focuses on four interacting objectives: (1) Create a support structure to expand the number of science and mathematics faculty utilizing evidence-based strategies; (2) integrate effective measures of classroom learning into all science and mathematics courses; (3) solidify a culture of evidence-based instructional strategies across the institution; and (4) develop and deploy a research framework for analyzing institutional change in STEM education.

    Focus: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math faculty members and Departments

    Funder: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    Team: Laird Kramer (Principal Investigator), Marcy Kravec (Co-Director), Department of Biological Sciences; Kelly Rein (Co-Director), Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Geoff Potvin (Co-Director), Department of Physics; Julian Edward (Co-Director), Department of Mathematics and Statistics; Rocio Benabentos

    Amount: $1.5M

    Contact: Rocio Benabentos (rbenaben@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Website: http://fiulearn.fiu.edu/dber/hhmi-faculty-scholar-program/

  • Graduate Education

    Understanding the implications of gamification on women computer science students' engagement and women-CS fit

    Summary: This gender study seeks to better understand implications of gamification on student learning, identity development, and self-efficacy beliefs. The study consists of an in-depth inquiry into the experiences of female students as they participate in the use of SEP-CyLE (Software Engineering and Program Cyberlearning Environment) in order to provide insight into a demographic critical to the future success of computing as well as contribute to a better understanding of the role of gamification in student learning and engagement. The narratives that will be shared by the participants of this study will contribute to the body of knowledge on gamification as well as provide insight into whether this pedagogy serves the needs of women in computing.

    Focus: Women in computer science; gamification

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Monique Ross, Peter Clarke, Geoff Potvin

    Award Number - Amount: 300,000

    Contact: Monique Ross

    Intersectionality of Non-normative Identities in the Cultures of Engineering (InIce)

    Summary: This project is motivated by the need to increase and diversify the engineering workforce, which will help to increase economic growth and prosperity in the United States. The ultimate goal of this project is to understand more effectively the ways in which students can become interested in pursuing engineering majors in college and how to help them persist through to the end of an engineering degree, with particular attention on those students who may have different views of the role of engineering. This will be accomplished by a large quantitative assessment followed by a longitudinal study of students who are identified as holding various normative or non-normative attitudinal profiles, with a focus on understanding students' feelings of belonging in engineering and their developing engineering identities. The outcomes of this work will result in practical ways to increase diversity in engineering programs through research-based recruitment and teaching strategies focused on student identities within engineering. Specific course materials will be developed to target graduate students entering academia (who will be teaching future engineering students) to help begin to foster a more welcoming culture in engineering.

    Focus: Graduate students

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Geoffrey Potvin (Principal Investigator), Allison Godwin (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Award Number - Amount: 1428689 - $170,527.00

    Contact: Geoff Potvin (gpotvin@fiu.edu), Department of Physics

     

    CREST: Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment

    Summary: With National Science Foundation support, Florida International University will establish the Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment. Human-derived environmental contaminants consist of antibiotics and pharmaceuticals, mercury, black carbon, and fossil fuels. These stressors are recognized as having significant effects on ecosystems and biota as well as on human wellbeing. It is critical to understand the biogeochemical processes that govern the fate of these compounds and their impacts on the ecosystem. Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment research will address the sources, transport, transformation and ecosystem responses to contaminants, pollutants and other natural stressors, under changing land-use and environmental conditions. The Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment will generate significant new knowledge regarding contaminants and pollutants in aquatic environments, as well as produce innovative methodologies for detecting and assessing contaminant quantities and impacts, including the use of molecular detection techniques. The proposed research will advance current efforts on the biological effects, transport, transformation and distribution of contaminants in the environment into new collaborative research areas that investigate the sources and transport of contaminants and pollutants in aquatic systems.

    Focus: Undergraduate and Graduate students

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Todd Crowl (Principal Investigator), Rene Price (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator), Shu-Ching Chen (Co-Principal Investigator), Piero Gardinali (Co-Principal Investigator), Rudolf Jaffe (Former Co-Principal Investigator)

    Award Number - Amount: 1547798 - $2,099,985.00

    Contact: Laird Kramer (kramerl@fiu.edu), Department of Physics

    Website: https://crestcache.fiu.edu/

    Workshop on the Nature and Practices of Science to Support Educator Guides for Science in the Classroom  

    Summary:  Science in the Classroom (SitC), a collection of annotated research papers, makes Science content more accessible to students and educators.  Through reading and deconstructing scientific papers, students can gain an understanding of how scientists design their experiments and present their results, essentially allowing students to experience the logic of getting from a set of data to a new conclusion. 

    We will create a workshop for the undergraduate STEM community, defined in this proposal as faculty, pre-service teachers (including participants in teacher-prep programs and Learning Assistant programs),  graduate students, postdocs, and other interested STEM professionals, that provides a foundation for teaching the nature and practices of science.  This workshop will allow us to leverage the expertise of the STEM education community to develop educator guides for SitC resources.    

    The benefits of our proposal are three-fold.

    1. Through the workshop, participants will learn how to develop high quality educator guides focusing on the nature of science and science practices, a skill that will be useful for STEM education purposes but also transferable to a wide variety of STEM careers.

    2. The educator guides developed by participants will be freely available for use by teachers and students throughout the STEM education community, ultimately increasing the accessibility of annotated primary literature resources that have been vetted by educational experts.

    3. Engaging with the nature and practices of science in a teaching context has been shown to contribute to the improvement of essential research skills.  Therefore, participants in our workshop may improve upon their own research skills, essentially becoming better scientists.    

    Focus: Undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, science teachers and instructors

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Melissa McCartney (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Award number - Amount: 077795672 - $297,491

    Contact: Melissa McCartney (mmccartn@fiu.edu), Department of Biological Sciences

    Website: www.scienceintheclassroom.org

  • K-12 Students and Teachers

    Breaking the Cycle: Preparing Future STEM Teachers for the Highest Need Urban Schools by Embracing Culturally-responsive Instruction

    Summary: The Track 1 Noyce project at Florida International University (FIU), "Breaking the cycle: Preparing future STEM teachers for the highest need urban schools by embracing culturally responsive instruction", will substantially increase the number of highly qualified teachers prepared to serve in high-need school districts. The project will recruit, prepare, administer two-year scholarships and facilitate induction for 33 Scholars over the five-year project. FIU, an urban public research university with over 54,000 students, is partnering with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth largest school district in the nation serving over 350,000 students, to establish the project testbed in highly diverse Miami, Florida. The project embraces the diversity of FIU's student body, over 78% of which are from historically underrepresented groups, and develops their culturally responsive instructional practices so they are prepared to break the cycle of persistent low achievement as future education leaders in the highest need schools. In parallel, the project will establish a dissemination model to enable adoption and adaptation across the nation

    Focus: Pre-service teachers, Undergraduate teacher preparation

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Vishodana Thamotharan (Principal Investigator), Zahra Hazari (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator), Maria Fernandez (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Award Number - Amount: 1660776 - $1,007,089.00

    Contact: Vishodana Thamotharan (vthamoth@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Mobilizing Teachers to Increase Capacity and Broaden Women's Participation in Physics

    Summary: The Discovery Research K-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools (RMTs). Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects. This project assesses the impact of scaling-up the teaching of physics and engineering to women students in grade levels 11 and 12, particularly in reference to retention. The problem of low participation of women in physics and engineering has been a topic of concern for decades. The persistent under-representation of women in physics and engineering is not just an equity issue but also reflects an unrealized talent pool that can help respond to current and future challenges faced by society. The aim is to mobilize high school physics teachers to "attract and recruit" female students into science (physics) and engineering careers. The fundamental issues that the project seeks is to affect increases in the number of females in physics and engineering careers using research-informed and field-tested classroom practices that improve female students' physics identity. The project will advance science (physics) identity research by testing research-based approaches/interventions with larger groups of teachers and connecting research to practice in ways that are both widely deployable and practical for teachers to implement. The project will also affect female participation in engineering since developing a physics identity is strongly related to choosing engineering. The core area teachers will be trained in addressing student identity as a physicist or engineer.

    Focus: PreK-12 students and teachers

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Zahra Hazari (Principal Investigator), Geoffrey Potvin (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Award Number - Amount: 1721021 - $884,884.00

    Contact: Zahra Hazari (zhazari@fiu.edu), Department of Teaching and Learning and affiliate faculty member in the Department of Physics

    Website: http://www.aps.org/programs/education/su4w/

    FIUteach

    Summary: FIUteach is a secondary STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teacher preparation initiative that is helping to produce qualified math and science teachers. Core elements of the program include recruitment and retention incentives, a compact degree program, a strong focus on research-based strategies for teaching and learning math and science, intensive field teaching experience, and personal guidance from master teachers and faculty. Each year FIU will offer free, immersive teaching experiences to students in the program, producing well-prepared mathematics and science teachers upon graduation. The UTeach model program was created in response to national concerns about the quality of K-12 education in mathematics and science fields. The program is supported by the National Math and Science Initiative and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    Focus: Undergraduate students, pre-service teachers

    Funder: UTeach, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and National Math and Science Initiative

    Contact: Vishodana Thamotharan (vthamoth@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Website: http://fiuteach.fiu.edu/

    Workshop on the Nature and Practices of Science to Support Educator Guides for Science in the Classroom  

    Summary:  Science in the Classroom (SitC), a collection of annotated research papers, makes Science content more accessible to students and educators.  Through reading and deconstructing scientific papers, students can gain an understanding of how scientists design their experiments and present their results, essentially allowing students to experience the logic of getting from a set of data to a new conclusion. 

    We will create a workshop for the undergraduate STEM community, defined in this proposal as faculty, pre-service teachers (including participants in teacher-prep programs and Learning Assistant programs),  graduate students, postdocs, and other interested STEM professionals, that provides a foundation for teaching the nature and practices of science.  This workshop will allow us to leverage the expertise of the STEM education community to develop educator guides for SitC resources.    

    The benefits of our proposal are three-fold.

    1. Through the workshop, participants will learn how to develop high quality educator guides focusing on the nature of science and science practices, a skill that will be useful for STEM education purposes but also transferable to a wide variety of STEM careers.

    2. The educator guides developed by participants will be freely available for use by teachers and students throughout the STEM education community, ultimately increasing the accessibility of annotated primary literature resources that have been vetted by educational experts.

    3. Engaging with the nature and practices of science in a teaching context has been shown to contribute to the improvement of essential research skills.  Therefore, participants in our workshop may improve upon their own research skills, essentially becoming better scientists.    

    Focus: Undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, science teachers and instructors

    Funder: National Science Foundation

    Team: Melissa McCartney (Co-Principal Investigator)

    Award number - Amount: 077795672 - $297,491

    Contact: Melissa McCartney (mmccartn@fiu.edu), Department of Biological Sciences

    Website: www.scienceintheclassroom.org

    Verizon Global Corporate Citizenship Verizon Innovative Learning for Minority Males Program: FIU Pathways to STEM

    Summary: This program aims to encourage minority males in middle schools to pursue studies in STEM disciplines, specifically Engineering and Computer Science. Over three weeks in the Summer, minority males in middle schools will be recruited to participate in a camp to expand their knowledge of the varying science, technology, engineering, and math fields by engaging in mobile app development, 3D design, and building flying drones.

    Focus: Middle school students; K12 Teacher professional development

    Funder: Verizon Foundation

    Team: Monique Ross, Laird Kramer, Vishodana Thamotharan

  • Undergraduate Education

    Developing Items to Assess the Use of Scientific Practices in a Chemistry Laboratory Setting

    Summary: Recent calls for science education reform have consistently highlighted the importance of engaging students in the practice of science for both the development of a scientific workforce and a scientifically literate citizenry. The Framework for K-12 Education and the Next Generation Science Standards identify a set of eight practices considered essential for learning science, and emphasize that students’ understanding of the practices of science and engineering is as important to understanding science as knowledge of its content. While the Framework focuses on K-12 education, we argue that these same practices are relevant to science education at all levels, and that the laboratory is the ideal place for students to engage with and learn about these practices. However, it has yet to be studied whether engagement in the practices has any effect student learning outcomes. One reason for this is the absence of appropriate assessment items that can provide evidence of the ways that students engage with the practices, and how this may change over time.  There are two major goals of this project: The first goal is to develop assessment items, focusing on three practices: (1) Planning and carrying out investigations; (2) Analyzing and interpreting data; and (3) Constructing explanations/engaging in argument from evidence. These assessment items will be developed using an iterative process, which includes identifying the key elements of each practice that can be assessed, developing tasks and scoring rubrics, and establishing validity, reliability, and practicality. Items will be reviewed initially by our advisory board, members of which have extensive expertise in both laboratory instruction and instrument development, tested with students using think aloud interviews, and revised as necessary. The second goal is to use the assessment items in two different laboratory environments (one transformed and one traditional) to answer the research question: How does engagement with the practices in the laboratory environment affect students’ use of scientific practices?

    • Focus: Undergraduate Students
    • Funder: National Science Foundation
    • Team: Justin Carmel (PI - FIU), Melanie Cooper (PI - Michigan State), Deborah Herrington (PI - Grand Valley State University)
    • Award Number - Amount: #1708506: $188,270
    • Contact: Justin Carmel (jcarmel@fiu.edu)

    Taking the long view: Investigating the role of biology interest and far-sighted career goals on student persistence in STEM career pathways

    Summary: Despite having the most diverse undergraduate population among STEM fields, biology professionals in fields like medicine and research remain resoundingly white and from affluent backgrounds. Although efforts to diversify biology are occurring at the graduate and career stages, it may be that factors at the undergraduate level are limiting who is even present in the applicant pool. This proposal lays groundwork for effectively addressing two factors that may limit the participation of historically underrepresented groups in biology careers. It identifies (a) the influence of career goals and disciplinary interest on students' persistence to the next stage in their biology career pathways and (b) how early students need to develop these goals and interests to become competitive for these pathways during college. These findings will inform the design and deployment of effective interventions addressing these issues. These interventions are predicted to disproportionately assist students from historically underrepresented groups to finish college competitive and to transition to biology careers.

    • Focus: Undergraduates
    • Funder: National Science Foundation
    • Team: Sarah L. Eddy (PI-FIU), Lisa Corwin (PI - UC Boulder)
    • Award Number - Amount: $188,270
    • Contact: Sarah L. Eddy

    EAGER: Demystifying the Engineering and Computer Science Underrepresentation Problem: Understanding the pathways to and through these Disciplines for Black and Hispanic Women

    Summary: This qualitative inquiry explores the pathways to and through engineering and computer science for Black and Hispanic women. Leveraging prior qualitative research, this study further examines the unique pathways of women, based on the intersections of race and gender, at the undergraduate level, when recruitment and retention efforts can have a greater impact on broadening participation.

    • Focus: Black and Hispanic women in computer science and engineering
    • Funder: National Science Foundation
    • Team: Monique Ross, Atalie Garcia (Undergraduate Researcher)
    • Award Number - Amount: $71,000
    • Contact: Monique Ross

    Understanding the implications of gamification on women computer science students' engagement and women-CS fit

    Summary: This gender study seeks to better understand implications of gamification on student learning, identity development, and self-efficacy beliefs. The study consists of an in-depth inquiry into the experiences of female students as they participate in the use of SEP-CyLE (Software Engineering and Program Cyberlearning Environment) in order to provide insight into a demographic critical to the future success of computing as well as contribute to a better understanding of the role of gamification in student learning and engagement. The narratives that will be shared by the participants of this study will contribute to the body of knowledge on gamification as well as provide insight into whether this pedagogy serves the needs of women in computing.

    • Focus: Women in computer science; gamification
    • Funder: National Science Foundation
    • Team: Monique Ross, Peter Clarke, Geoff Potvin
    • Award Number - Amount: 300,000
    • Contact: Monique Ross

    Collaborative Research: Creating assessments for student understanding of core chemistry ideas in introductory biology

    Summary: To address biological problems, students must apply and integrate chemistry principles with biology principles, yet existing science assessments in introductory biology courses often encourage rote memorization and assess factual recall. The recently published Framework for K-12 Science Education report from the National Research Council offers a way of thinking about science education aimed at positively affecting students' abilities to use their knowledge and make connections across disciplines. This vision integrates three dimensions: 1) disciplinary core ideas (what students really need to know); 2) crosscutting concepts (themes across science disciplines); and 3) scientific practices (how students should use their knowledge). The integration of these dimensions is referred to as "three-dimensional learning". Instead of assessing factual recall, assessments should probe students' abilities to use scientific practices (e.g., analyzing and interpreting data) in the context of disciplinary core ideas (e.g., using the structure of a compound to predict how the substance behaves) and crosscutting concepts (e.g., conservation of energy and matter) to make sense of phenomena, but writing such assessments is difficult. There is a need for assessments that emphasize three-dimensional learning in introductory biology courses to support students in developing an integrated understanding of science. To address this need, the objective of this two-year collaborative project between Michigan State University (MSU) and Florida International University (FIU) will be to develop, test, and evaluate the effectiveness of assessment items that integrate chemistry and biology disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and scientific practices, and focus on making sense of phenomena.

    Focus: Undergraduate students
    Funder: National Science Foundation
    Team: Sonia Underwood (Principal Investigator)
    Award Number - Amount: #1708589: $150,495
    Contact: Sonia Underwood (sonia.underwood@fiu.edu)

    Extending the Coherent Gateway to STEM Teaching and Learning!

    Summary: There is compelling evidence that introductory gateway courses are often significant barriers to student success, persistence, and graduation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Drawing on work supported by the Association of American Universities, this collaborative R&D project is designed to implement an innovative teaching and learning model, Three-Dimensional (3D) Learning, and investigate the factors (e.g., supports and challenges) affecting the adoption and implementation of instructional innovation in introductory and upper level courses in STEM. The approach is based on an adaptation of the National Research Council's document, A Framework for K-12 Science Education, for postsecondary education. Rather than focusing on developing faculty awareness and implementation of high impact practices as a means to transform STEM courses, the 3D Learning framework focuses on engaging faculty in identifying core ideas in the disciplines, including scientific practice in the classroom, and incorporating crosscutting scientific concepts in course materials with the goal of building faculty capacity and departmental/institutional infrastructure to improve student learning. The project concentrates on two major efforts: (1) the propagation of 3D Learning, development and validation of assessment tools, and implementation of faculty support structures across Michigan State University and its partner institutions, Grand Valley State University, Florida International University, and Kansas State University and (2) research using a variety of methods to examine how instructional innovation is adopted and implemented across different disciplines, department cultures, and institutional ecologies and their effect on student outcomes.

    • Focus: Undergraduate students
    • Funder: National Science Foundation
    • Team: Sonia Underwood (Principal Investigator), Justin Carmel (Co-Principal Investigator)
    • Award Number - Amount: #1725609: $321,529
    • Contact: Sonia Underwood (sonia.underwood@fiu.edu), Justin Carmel (jcarmel@fiu.edu)

    Breaking the Cycle: Preparing Future STEM Teachers for the Highest Need Urban Schools by Embracing Culturally-responsive Instruction

    Summary: The Track 1 Noyce project at Florida International University (FIU), "Breaking the cycle: Preparing future STEM teachers for the highest need urban schools by embracing culturally responsive instruction", will substantially increase the number of highly qualified teachers prepared to serve in high-need school districts. The project will recruit, prepare, administer two-year scholarships and facilitate induction for 33 Scholars over the five-year project. FIU, an urban public research university with over 54,000 students, is partnering with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth largest school district in the nation serving over 350,000 students, to establish the project testbed in highly diverse Miami, Florida. The project embraces the diversity of FIU's student body, over 78% of which are from historically underrepresented groups, and develops their culturally responsive instructional practices so they are prepared to break the cycle of persistent low achievement as future education leaders in the highest need schools. In parallel, the project will establish a dissemination model to enable adoption and adaptation across the nation

    • Focus: Pre-service teachers, Undergraduate teacher preparation
    • Funder: National Science Foundation
    • Team: Vishodana Thamotharan (Principal Investigator), Zahra Hazari (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator), Maria Fernandez (Co-Principal Investigator)
    • Award Number - Amount: 1660776 - $1,007,089.00
    • Contact: Vishodana Thamotharan (vthamoth@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute

    Beyond Active Learning: Learning Assistant (LA) Supported Pedagogies in Large Lecture Science Courses

    Summary: The University of Colorado at Denver, North Dakota State University Fargo, and Florida International University have received an NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources Design and Development tier award to observe, characterize, and interpret the active learning methods employed in a large sample of Learning Assistant (LA) supported and non-LA supported science courses at the three universities. The research will investigate how active learning methods and undergraduate LA support contribute to the learning gains, achievement, retention, and persistence of over 10,600 Biology students, 8,800 Chemistry students, and 7,600 Physics students during each year of the four-year project. The Project will provide critical evidence on active learning as it 1) examines a large number of students and faculty in three STEM disciplines (Chemistry, Biology, and Physics) at three large public universities, 2) provides deep understanding of how active learning and LA support promotes student success, 3) examines student success through a variety of measures, 4) provides critical insight into the learning of underrepresented/minority (URM) students in STEM, and 5) directly informs the large International Learning Assistant Alliance, which currently consists of fifty-five (55) universities.

    • Focus: Undergraduate students
    • Funder: National Science Foundation
    • Team: Laird Kramer (Principal Investigator), Hagit Kornreich-Leshem (Co-Principal Investigator)
    • Award Number - Amount: 1525529 - $359,774.00
    • Contact: Laird Kramer (kramerl@fiu.edu), Department of Physics

    Engaged Student Learning - Design and Development Level II: Using a Cyberlearning Environment to Improve Student Learning and Engagement in Software Courses

    Summary: Due to the ubiquitous nature of software in the 21st century there is a great and increasing demand for software developers and programmers in the US. Both Computer Science (CS) and Information Technology (IT) academicians and practitioners agree that a comprehensive strategy to improve the number and quality of 21st century CS/IT workforce is needed. This project will assist colleges and universities in producing more well-qualified software developers through the use of a cyberlearning environment that builds on and extends WReSTT-CyLE (Web-Based Repository of Software Testing Tutorials), a cyberlearning environment for software testing.

    • Focus: Undergraduate students
    • Funder: National Science Foundation
    • Team: Peter Clarke (Principal Investigator), Geoffrey Potvin (Co-Principal Investigator), Mandayam Thirunarayanan (Co-Principal Investigator), Debra Davis (Co-Principal Investigator)
    • Award Number - Amount: 1525112 - $821,954.00
    • Contact: Geoff Potvin (gpotvin@fiu.edu), Department of Physics

    Collaborative Research: Florida IT Pathways to Success (Flit-Path)

    Summary: The S-STEM Flit-Path (Florida IT Pathways) project will recruit, retain, and provide scholarships and curricular and co-curricular support to academically talented students with financial need in the IT related disciplines of Computer Science, Information Technology, and Computer Engineering. The goals of the project are to (1) increase retention, student success, and graduation of students who pursue a degree in the Computer Science, Information Technology, and Computer Engineering disciplines; (2) implement a model of student engagement that affects the recruitment, retention, student success, academic and career pathways, and degree attainment of students pursing a degree in these disciplines; and (3) contribute to the implementation and sustainability of effective evidence-based curricular/co-curricular activities for its students. Building on a grant from the Florida State Board of Governors, project activities include tutoring for foundation courses; intrusive academic advising; faculty, industry, and peer mentoring; and academic and career pathway support. Participation in project activities is expected to increase the graduation rate for Flit Path students by 20%. The project will recruit two cohorts of students. Cohort A will be comprised of 54 first time college students in each of Years 1 and 2 of the grant. Cohort B will be comprised of 69 first time in college senior students each year, who have the potential and interest in graduating within one year's time. Flit-Path will impact 453 students who are pursuing degrees in Computer Science, Information Technology, and Computer Engineering.

    • Focus: Undergraduate students
    • Funder: National Science Foundation
    • Team: Mark Weiss (Principal Investigator), Zahra Hazari (Co-Principal Investigator), Monique Ross (Co-Principal Investigator)
    • Award Number - Amount: 1643965 - $1,944,118.00
    • Contact: Zahra Hazari (zhazari@fiu.edu), Department of Teaching and Learning and affiliate faculty member in the Department of Physics

    CREST: Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment

    Summary: With National Science Foundation support, Florida International University will establish the Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment. Human-derived environmental contaminants consist of antibiotics and pharmaceuticals, mercury, black carbon, and fossil fuels. These stressors are recognized as having significant effects on ecosystems and biota as well as on human wellbeing. It is critical to understand the biogeochemical processes that govern the fate of these compounds and their impacts on the ecosystem. Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment research will address the sources, transport, transformation and ecosystem responses to contaminants, pollutants and other natural stressors, under changing land-use and environmental conditions. The Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment will generate significant new knowledge regarding contaminants and pollutants in aquatic environments, as well as produce innovative methodologies for detecting and assessing contaminant quantities and impacts, including the use of molecular detection techniques. The proposed research will advance current efforts on the biological effects, transport, transformation and distribution of contaminants in the environment into new collaborative research areas that investigate the sources and transport of contaminants and pollutants in aquatic systems.

    • Focus: Undergraduate and Graduate students
    • Funder: National Science Foundation
    • Team: Todd Crowl (Principal Investigator), Rene Price (Co-Principal Investigator), Laird Kramer (Co-Principal Investigator), Shu-Ching Chen (Co-Principal Investigator), Piero Gardinali (Co-Principal Investigator), Rudolf Jaffe (Former Co-Principal Investigator)
    • Award Number - Amount: 1547798 - $2,099,985.00
    • Contact: Laird Kramer (kramerl@fiu.edu), Department of Physics
    • Website: https://crestcache.fiu.edu/

    FIUteach

    Summary: FIUteach is a secondary STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teacher preparation initiative that is helping to produce qualified math and science teachers. Core elements of the program include recruitment and retention incentives, a compact degree program, a strong focus on research-based strategies for teaching and learning math and science, intensive field teaching experience, and personal guidance from master teachers and faculty. Each year FIU will offer free, immersive teaching experiences to students in the program, producing well-prepared mathematics and science teachers upon graduation. The UTeach model program was created in response to national concerns about the quality of K-12 education in mathematics and science fields. The program is supported by the National Math and Science Initiative and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    • Focus: Undergraduate students, pre-service teachers
    • Funder: UTeach, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and National Math and Science Initiative
    • Contact: Vishodana Thamotharan (vthamoth@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute
    • Website: http://fiuteach.fiu.edu/

    LA Program: Learning Assistant Program

    Summary: Learning Assistants (LAs) are undergraduate students who through the guidance of weekly preparation sessions and a pedagogy course, facilitate discussions among groups of students in a variety of classroom settings that encourage active engagement. The FIU LA Program is now the largest in the nation. The Learning Assistant (LA) Program was pioneered at FIU in the Physics Department through the FIU PhysTEC project. PhysTEC is a joint effort at improving teacher preparation that is facilitated by three of the most prominent national physics societies, the American Physical Society (APS), American Institute of Physics (AIP), and American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). Since then, the program has grown to be the largest LA program in the nation and has serviced 9 different departments across FIU. In Fall 2015, the Provost announced a university wide initiative and positioned the LA Program to play a vital role in the transformation of undergraduate STEM courses. In Spring 2017, about 330 LAs worked in 9 departments and impacted over 10,000 student enrollments.  The LA Program originated at the University of Colorado in Boulder and the FIU LA Program is an active participant with the LA Alliance.

    • Focus: Undergraduate course reform / pre-service teacher preparation / faculty professional development / institutional change
    • Contact: Hagit Kornreich Leshem (hkornrei@fiu.edu), STEM Transformation Institute
    • Website: http://laprogram.fiu.edu

    Science in the Classroom (SitC)

    Summary: This project will significantly expand the Science in the Classroom (SitC) initiative (http://www.scienceintheclassroom.org/) into tools for learning. The annotated papers and related resources that are produced will allow students to engage with primary data sets and gain a deep understanding of how scientists design experiments, gather and analyze data, and present their conclusions. This approach enables students to assume the persona of a scientist; it guides them through the scientific process of posing questions, designing experiments to pursue those questions, analyzing the data that returns from the experiments, and working toward new conclusions in response to the analysis. The students also come to understand, first-hand, the process of scientific communication, through which scientists explain their progression from questions to experiments to data to conclusions, while also generating the next set of intriguing questions.

    • Focus: Undergraduate students
    • Funder: National Science Foundation
    • Team: Melissa McCartney (Co-Principal Investigator)
    • Award number - Amount: 1525596 - $1,274,487.00
    • Contact: Melissa McCartney (mmccartn@fiu.edu), Department of Biological Sciences
    • Website: scienceintheclassroom.org

    Workshop on the Nature and Practices of Science to Support Educator Guides for Science in the Classroom  

    Summary:  Science in the Classroom (SitC), a collection of annotated research papers, makes Science content more accessible to students and educators.  Through reading and deconstructing scientific papers, students can gain an understanding of how scientists design their experiments and present their results, essentially allowing students to experience the logic of getting from a set of data to a new conclusion. 

    We will create a workshop for the undergraduate STEM community, defined in this proposal as faculty, pre-service teachers (including participants in teacher-prep programs and Learning Assistant programs),  graduate students, postdocs, and other interested STEM professionals, that provides a foundation for teaching the nature and practices of science.  This workshop will allow us to leverage the expertise of the STEM education community to develop educator guides for SitC resources.    

    The benefits of our proposal are three-fold.

    1. Through the workshop, participants will learn how to develop high quality educator guides focusing on the nature of science and science practices, a skill that will be useful for STEM education purposes but also transferable to a wide variety of STEM careers.

    2. The educator guides developed by participants will be freely available for use by teachers and students throughout the STEM education community, ultimately increasing the accessibility of annotated primary literature resources that have been vetted by educational experts.

    3. Engaging with the nature and practices of science in a teaching context has been shown to contribute to the improvement of essential research skills.  Therefore, participants in our workshop may improve upon their own research skills, essentially becoming better scientists.    

    • Focus: Undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, science teachers and instructors
    • Funder: National Science Foundation
    • Team: Melissa McCartney (Co-Principal Investigator)
    • Award number - Amount: 077795672 - $297,491
    • Contact: Melissa McCartney (mmccartn@fiu.edu), Department of Biological Sciences
    • Website: www.scienceintheclassroom.org

Legacy Projects

  • Legacy Projects

    100kin10: Answering the STEM Challenge

    1. Summary: FIU has committed to recruit, prepare and retain 200 teachers who will be hired into Miami-Dade County Public School’s (MDCPS’s) 26 low-performing (Educational Transformation Office, ETO) K-12 schools. The project will provide undergraduate STEM teacher candidates with scholarships and support as well as engage disciplinary faculty and administrators across the College of Arts & Sciences and builds partnerships with public schools.
    2. Focus: undergraduate teacher preparation
    3. Contact: Nicole Kaufman Glasgow, kaufmann@fiu.edu, Corporate and Foundation Relations

     

    Broadening the Pipeline – Pathways & Persistence

    1. Summary: Broadening the Pipeline through the Study of Pathways and Persistence is a partnership of Florida International University (College of Arts, Sciences & Education and College of Engineering and Computing), Howard University, Prairie View A&M University, and the University of Puerto Rico- Mayagüez to conduct emerging research in a large, empirical, collaborative research study focused on black and Hispanic engineering undergraduates. One of the keys to increasing the numbers of minority engineers—a compelling national concern—is an understanding of the pathways that the travel and the identity that they acquire on their way to becoming an engineer
    2. Focus: graduate
    3. Contact: Masoud Milani, milani@cis.fiu.edu, Office of Student Access and Success/Center for Diversity in Engineering and Computing, College of Engineering and Computing. Leonard Bliss, blissl@fiu.edu, Department of Leadership and Professional Studies, College of Education.

     

    CHEPREO: Center for High-Energy Physics Research and Education Outreach

    1. Summary: Comprehensive education outreach project for physics. Supports core of physics transformation efforts via: Modeling Instruction at FIU (undergraduate level), summer modeling workshops and year round teacher community (high school), and Physics Education Research group.
    2. Focus: undergraduate
    3. Contact: Laird Kramer Laird.Kramer@fiu.edu, Department of Physics, College of Arts & Sciences

     

    Discover Our Backyard

    1. Summary: In the context of rapid change resulting from globalization, pressing concerns about climate change and vulnerable ecosystems like the Biscayne Bay and the Everglades provide a compelling justification for environmental education. This interdisciplinary program seeks to increase appreciation of the native ecosystems of South Florida and to educate students and the general public about its relevance to the community. It is part of interdisciplinary environmental initiative, which encourages students to learn more about the environment, sustainability and ecological citizenship. “Discover Our Backyard” was conceived as an integral part of our coastal environment initiative to weave marine issues into the curriculum and life.
    2. Focus: K12
    3. Contact: Michael Heithaus, heithaus@fiu.edu, College of Arts & Sciences

     

    Department of Energy (DOE) Fellows: FIU Science and Engineering Workforce Development Program

    1. Summary: The DOE-FIU Science and Engineering Workforce Development Program is designed to build on the existing DOE/FIU relationship by creating a “pipeline” of minority engineers specifically trained and mentored to enter the U.S. Department of Energy’s workforce in technical areas of need. The main objective of the program is to provide interested students with a unique opportunity to integrate course work, DOE field work, and applied research work at FIU into a well-structured academic program that leads to entry into DOE’s Career Internship Program.
    2. Focus: undergraduate
    3. Contact: Masoud Milani,milani@cis.fiu.edu, Office of Student Access and Success/Center for Diversity in Engineering and Computing, College of Engineering and Computing.

     

    K-12: EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION STEM-EC: Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics-Early Childhood

    1. Summary: Creates an area of focus for research and professional development in early childhood math and science. STEM-EC will meet a growing need for better preparation of teachers of young children. It will also look to modernize the math and science curriculum in early childhood to meet the needs of 21st century learners. STEM-EC will recruit faculty and students to be a part of a multi-disciplinary research group investigating best practices in teaching math and science to young children. Findings from this group will be used to shape local, state and national policy with regard to teaching math and science to young children.
    2. Focus: Early childhood education
    3. Contact: Charles Bleiker, bleikerc@fiu.edu, Early Childhood Education, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education

     

    Engineering Dual Enrollment/College Prep Courses

    1. Summary: To attract high school students (particularly underrepresented students) to consider engineering as an undergraduate career choice and prepare them for that. The Florida Action for Minorities in Engineering (FLAME) program is a joint, dual enrollment program between Miami-Dade County Public Schools and FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing, specially designed for minority high school students. GEAR UP is a program designed to increase the personal, academic and emotional development of students and their families in the Homestead and Florida City areas. The JETS UNITE program is a collaborative effort between FIU, the U.S. Army and the Junior Engineering Technical Society to increase the number of underrepresented students in the field of engineering.
    2. Focus: High school
    3. Contact: Masoud Milani, milani@cis.fiu.edu, Office of Student Access and Success/Center for Diversity in Engineering and Computing, College of Engineering and Computing

     

    K-12: HIGH SCHOOL Engineering Expo

    1. Summary: The FIU Engineering Expo is an annual community outreach event organized by FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing. The goal is to plant seeds for future student recruitment.
    2. Focus: K12- High School
    3. Contact: Masoud Milani, milani@cis.fiu.edu, Office of Student Access and Success/Center for Diversity in Engineering and Computing, College of Engineering and Computing

    Watch video of the 2017 expo event

     

    Engineering Undergraduate Scholarships

    1. Summary: The Center for Diversity in Engineering and Computing awards more than 40 need- based and merit-based scholarships per semester to FIU STEM students. The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) aims to increase the number of African American, American Indian and Hispanic American graduates in engineering education and careers. The Florida-Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in Science, Engineering and Mathematics (FGLSAMP) Scholarship program is available every fall and spring for engineering majors.
    2. Contact: Masoud Milani, milani@cis.fiu.edu, Office of Student Access and Success/Center for Diversity in Engineering & Computing, College of Engineering and Computing
    3. Focus: undergraduate

     

    ENLACE: Engaging Latino Communities for Education

    1. Summary: ENLACE offers after-school and summer educational services to elementary and middle school students. The after-school program provides reading and fitness instruction to children who are reading below grade level and are at risk of not being promoted. Its goal is to get the children to grade level in reading. The summer program offers students enrichment opportunities and a college prep curriculum and is housed at FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus. Its goal is to provide students with the academic preparation and personal motivation to attend college.
    2. Focus:K-12: ELEMENTARY & MIDDLE SCHOOL
    3. Contact: Masoud Milani, milani@cis.fiu.edu, Office of Student Access and Success/Center for Diversity in Engineering and Computing, College of Engineering and Computing

     

    The Fairchild Challenge:An Environmental Education Program based on a Botanic Garden

    1. Summary: Develop an environmental education pipeline that runs from elementary to graduate education. Students who join the Fairchild Challenge will know that, through FIU, they can continue their post-secondary training with unique opportunities in tropical biology and wetland ecology not found in other higher education institutions.
      The Fairchild Challenge is an environmental education program based at the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens (FTBG). The Fairchild Challenge program targets elementary and secondary students from the Miami area offering a menu of separate, but parallel, multidisciplinary challenges for elementary, middle, and high schools, attracting students of diverse interests, abilities, talents and backgrounds.
    2. Focus:K-12: ELEMENTARY & MIDDLE SCHOOL
    3. Contact: Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega, ortegaj@fiu.edu, Department of Biological Sciences, College of Arts & Sciences

     

    Forensic Science Workshops

    1. Summary: The goals of the diverse workshops are to: (1) further the education of our FIU graduate students with workshop opportunities in forensic chemistry and forensic biology (both human and non-human), (2) offer hands-on workshops for students from Florida universities (e.g., UF and UCF) who are enrolled in Forensic PSM programs or other forensic-related program, and (3) offer continuing education to practicing crime lab analysts in the U.S. and abroad.
    2. Focus:GRADUATE/PROFESSIONAL
    3. Contact: DeEtta Mills, millsd@fiu.edu, Department of Biological Sciences and International Forensic Research Institute, College of Arts & Sciences.

     

    GAANN: Graduate Assistantships in Areas of National Need

    1. Summary: Program awards fellowships and enhanced educational opportunities including faculty mentorship to Ph.D. students in Computer Science. Our specific goals are to use these GAANN fellowships to: a) aggressively recruit students from under-represented populations, particularly women, b) provide fellows with high-quality education and additional training in teaching techniques, and c) help each GAANN fellow to acquire independent research capability and to complete a high quality Ph.D. dissertation within 5 years. The fellowship provides need- based financial support of up to $30,000 per year. Additional financial support for research expenses (text books, supplies, computer hardware and software, and memberships etc.) and travel to attend conferences are also provided.
    2. Focus:GRADUATE
    3. Contact: Masoud Milani, milani@cis.fiu.edu, Office of Student Access and Success/Center for Diversity in Engineering and Computing, College of Engineering and Computing

     

    Graduate Fellowships for Minorities in Engineering & Science (GEM)

    1. Summary: The mission of the GEM Consortium is to increase the participation of underrepresented groups at the masters and doctoral levels in engineering and sciences. The National GEM Consortium awards fellowships to highly qualified students in order to help them complete masters and doctoral degree programs in engineering and sciences at member universities. FIU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and College of Arts & Sciences are members of the National GEM Consortium.
    2. Focus:GRADUATE
    3. Contact: Masoud Milani, milani@cis.fiu.edu, Office of Student Access and Success/Center for Diversity in Engineering and Computing, College of Engineering and Computing. Walter Van Hamme, vanhamme@fiu.edu, School of Integrated Science and Humanity, College of Arts & Sciences.

     

    Mastery Math Learning Model: A Component of Title V: Opening the Gateways: The High Tech-High Touch Initiative: Improving Student Success in Math, Writing, and Reading

    1. Summary: To improve pass rates in college algebra, increase student retention and graduation, and improve STEM pipeline. Transformed all College Algebra sections in 2012/13. Faculty teach using the Mastery program, which involves computer-assisted instruction (high tech) combined with active learning using trained undergraduate Learning Assistants (LAs) (high touch). After class, students go to the computer lab to practice the concepts discussed in class. LAs trained in effective, evidence-based teaching techniques by the LA program assist students with difficulties they encounter.
    2. Focus: undergraduate
    3. Contact: Suzanna Rose, srose@fiu.edu, College of Arts & Sciences

     

    Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership

    1. Summary: To significantly increase the effectiveness of secondary math teacher candidates, ensuring that they can promote mathematical excellence and college and career readiness of their future students. The partnership seeks membership across all APLU (Association of Public and Land-grant Universities)/SMTI (Science & Mathematics Teacher Imperative) institutions to develop a national consensus on new guiding principles and consequent model practices for secondary math teacher preparation programs. It will conduct research on secondary math teacher preparation to transform programs so that they meet the challenges of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Subsequently, the partnership will develop and promote existing best practices in the field. It will then assess the success of the participants in meeting those challenges. The partnership will convene them at a conference to identify and develop guiding principles underlying the effort and priorities for action.
    2. Focus: undergraduate
    3. Contact: Maria L. Fernandez, mfernan@fiu.edu, Mathematics Education, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education

     

    McNair Program

    1. Summary: The Ronald E. McNair program prepares students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have demonstrated strong academic potential for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other activities. The goal of the McNair program is to provide enriching scholastic experiences that prepare eligible scholars for doctoral (Ph.D.) education. The McNair program works closely with students as they complete their undergraduate requirements. Participants are given the unique opportunity of developing the highest-level academic and research skills needed for successful admission to and completion of a Ph.D. program. McNair scholars are eligible for the following services until they complete their baccalaureate degree: academic counseling, financial aid assistance, mentoring, research opportunities, seminars, summer internships, and tutoring.
    2. Focus: undergraduate
    3. Contact: E. George Simms, simmsg@fiu.edu, McNair Program

     

    NASA WaterSCAPES:Science of Coupled Aquatic Processes in Ecosystems from Space

    1. Summary: The project will address the stocks and fluxes of water, nutrients and vegetative biomass through a quantitative approach that combines remote sensing observations (radar and optical), mathematical modeling of ecohydrologic processes, and field ecophysical experiments. The research and education activities are performed in the Everglades and the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. This enhances our understanding of ecosystem structural and functional changes relevant to vegetative species diversity and spatiotemporal distribution. That understanding is crucial to improve the management of, and production and restoration efforts in, other global, complex ecosystems.
    2. Focus: graduate
    3. Contact: Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm, miralles@fiu.edu, Department of Earth and Environment, College of Arts & Sciences

     

    Noyce Project/GEMS: Get Educators in Mathematics and Science

    1. Summary: Provide scholarships and support for the successful induction of chemistry, earth science, mathematics and physics majors into secondary education teaching careers. Implements LA model across disciplines.
    2. Focus: undergraduate preservice teachers
    3. Contact: Julian Edward, edwardj@fiu.edu Department of Mathematics and Statistics, College of Arts & Sciences

     

    PAC: Partnership in Academic Communities

    1. Summary: Partnerships in Academic Communities (PAC) aims to enhance the STEM learning experiences and increase STEM achievement of underprivileged secondary school students in low socioeconomic areas. Additionally, PAC aims to foster student retention in high school and college, as well as recruitment of students to STEM fields. Provides students with quality instruction in the areas of mathematics, science and technology by placing selected students with master teachers in the above noted areas. In addition to a high quality education, students are transported to the university twice a month where they participate in a full day of hands-on activities in the areas of math, science and technology that promote active and cooperative learning. FIU also offers successful PAC students with 120-credit scholarships.
    2. Focus: K12 secondary students
    3. Contact: Maria Vazquez, mjvazque@fiu.edu, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education

     

    Pathways to Success in STEM

    1. Summary: Develop an integrated model for student retention in STEM that reduces high attrition in freshman and sophomore years and increases upper-division student population in STEM. Primary targets are engineering, computer science and physics students with measurable impact on other STEM disciplines.
      This project integrates three components into one coherent project to yield insight into comprehensive reform and affect student success
      • Bridge To Success: Creates a cohesive cohort of STEM students who successfully transition to upper division status.
      • Expanded Physics Modeling: Improves the success rate in physics with direct positive impact on all STEM disciplines, since it is a gateway course for all STEM majors.
      • Learning Assistant Program: Provides computer science, engineering and physics course reform and the opportunity for students to become certified STEM teachers.
    2. Focus: undergraduate
    3. Contact: Eric Brewe, ebrewe@fiu.edu, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education, Masoud Milani, milani@cis.fiu.edu, Office of Student Access & Success in the Center for Diversity in Engineering and Computing, College of Engineering and Computing. Laird Kramer, kramerl@fiu.edu, Department of Physics, College of Arts & Sciences.

     

    PSMs: Professional Science Masters in Forensic Science & Medical Physics

    1. Summary: To provide conveniently offered, lock-step Master's degree programs that meet critical workforce needs in STEM fields such as Forensic Science and Medical Physics.
    2. Focus: graduate / professional degrees
    3. Contact: Walter Van Hamme, vanhamme@fiu.edu, School of Integrated Science and Humanity, College of Arts & Sciences

     

    QBIC Program: Quantifying Biology in the Classroom

    1. Summary: To create a quantitative biological sciences track within the Biological Sciences major; to increase the likelihood that scholars finishing the program can move fluidly among conceptual, analytical and quantitative approaches to solving biological problems; and to act as an incubator for new pedagogical techniques, labs and methods within biological sciences. Curriculum reformation; regular and consistent faculty and TA communications through discussions/meetings; TA training through the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and education conferences; faculty refreshers through education conferences and symposia; pedagogy research.
    2. Focus: undergraduate
    3. Contact: Suzanna Koptur, kopturs@fiu.edu College of Arts & Sciences

     

    Re-Modeling Science Instruction

    1. Summary: Provide rigorous introductory science coursework in which students learn by constructing, validating, deploying and revising scientific models; improve attitudes about science through scientific learning from faculty, graduate students and peers; increase retention rates by creating research-validated learning environments that encourage participation; serve pre-service and in-service teachers; create innovative educational landscape that may serve as a model for other institutions.
    2. Focus: undergraduate
    3. Contact: Eric Brewe: Eric.Brewe@fiu.edu, College of Education

     

    SMTI: Science-Math Teacher Imperative

    1. Summary: To achieve a threefold increase in the number of science and math teachers that FIU produces each year over the next four years (more than 40 per year expected by 2013), to implement evidence-based innovations in curricula, and to create innovative educational landscape at a Hispanic-serving institution that may serve as a model for other institutions.
    2. Focus: undergraduate / institutional change
    3. Contact: Leanne Wells: lwells@fiu.edu, College of Arts & Sciences

     

    SSTEP: Secondary Science Teacher Education Preparation

    1. Summary: Increase the number of discipline-based science and math teachers that FIU trains each year by a factor of three in the next four years (more than 40 per year expected by 2013).
    2. Focus: undergraduate preservice teachers
    3. Contact: Leanne Wells, lwells@fiu.edu, School of Integrated Science and Humanity, College of Arts & Sciences

     

    STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Mathematics Education in Agroecology

    1. Summary: To increase the number of underrepresented college graduates and professionals in agricultural and environmental sciences. Undergraduates do research experience with peer and pyramid mentoring; experiential training through field trips and research lab visits; group research projects; agroecology symposium, social networking. High school students are involved in internships, Environment Immersion Day; raised-bed garden/aquaponic integration into dual enrollment courses at local high school; experiments.
    2. Focus: undergraduate graduate k12 high school
    3. Contact: K. Jayachandran, jayachan@fiu.edu, Department of Earth and Environment, College of Arts & Sciences. M. Bhat, bhatm@fiu.edu, Department of Earth and Environment, College of Arts & Sciences.

     

    Teaching Certificates in Mathematics and Science Education for K-5 and 6-8 Teachers

    1. Summary: The goal of the certificate program is to enhance the knowledge for those teaching mathematics. science in grades K-5 and grades 6-8 in Miami-Dade County Public Schools.The certificates consist of five courses (15 credits) focused on deepening K-5 and 6-8 teachers’ knowledge of mathematics or science, teacher development, strategies for learning and content teaching, and students’ mathematical conceptions. As part of these certificates, teachers will develop leadership skills and become knowledgeable in lesson study (a teacher-led professional development process that they will be able to carry- out with one another and teachers at their schools), fostering collaboration and learning in practice. Teacher cohorts will complete the certificates over three semesters, including collaborative, practice-oriented experiences such as microteaching lesson study and a capstone lesson study project.
    2. Focus: K-12: K-5 AND 6-8 TEACHERS
    3. Contact: Maria L. Fernandez, mfernan@fiu.edu, Mathematics Education, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education. George O’Brien, obrieng@fiu.edu, Science Education, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Arts, Sciences and Education.

     

    TEAM UP for Kids: Teaching Educators to Advance Math/Science in Underserved and Underrepresented Populations

    1. Summary: To improve the quality of Pre-K children’s lives, particularly those from underserved and underrepresented populations, by ensuring that all children are equipped with the knowledge needed to succeed in math/science. One skill predictive of success in science/math is one’s ability to think about the spatial world, including the ability to recognize and talk about shapes, sizes, locations and patterns. Spatial thinking is also a significant predictor of STEM achievement and subsequent entry into these fields, yet we know little about early classroom factors that affect and promote the development of this skill in Pre-K children.
    2. Focus: K-12: early childhood education
    3. Contact: Shannon M. Pruden, Ph.D., sdick@fiu.edu, Psychology, College of Arts, Sciences.