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.