With support from Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI program), this Track 1 project aims to increase diversity, inclusion, and retention in STEM. It will do so by transforming teaching and learning in introductory undergraduate science courses. Underrepresented students enter higher education and STEM fields with a wealth of cultural capital and resilience that supports their success in demanding and innovative disciplines. This project aims to leverage those assets through inclusive and affirming STEM learning opportunities that enhance undergraduate students' STEM identities. To this end, the project will implement teaching innovations within introductory science courses and create a faculty learning community committed to instructional transformation. The proposed course improvements have the potential to increase retention and graduation rates in STEM majors and to serve as a model for replication across the California State University system and other institutions.

The goal of this project is to support undergraduate students, particularly Hispanic and other underrepresented minority students, during the first two years of college when attrition rates from STEM are highest. Project objectives include implementing teaching and learning experiences that cultivate community development, sense of belonging, and academic inclusivity in introductory science courses. The project’s research plan is designed to examine student experiences in introductory STEM courses and assess the pedagogical approaches that support STEM learning and STEM identity construction. This research can contribute new knowledge about the adaptability and sustainability of curricular reforms. Methodological approaches include both qualitative (e.g., student interviews) and quantitative (e.g., surveys; course statistics) data sources to holistically capture student experiences, learning, and identity trajectories along their undergraduate pathways. The project uses a novel approach to undergraduate course transformation that draws from both evidence-based and active learning approaches to STEM instruction, as well as culturally sustaining and asset-based pedagogy. Findings from this project have the potential to advance knowledge about and promote sustainable institutional improvements of undergraduate STEM education. The HSI Program aims to enhance undergraduate STEM education and build capacity at HSIs. Projects supported by the HSI Program will also generate knowledge on how to achieve these aims.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
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Michael Davis
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San Jose State University Foundation
San Jose
United States
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