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Tuesday, March 15

Student sing-up - STEM planning process


Please spread the word to students about our STEM planning process!  This is a truly unique opportunity for them to have a voice, and their input is critical!

As promised yesterday, the link to the Google document where they can sign up to participate in an upcoming focus group is here.  This document also has some information about the process, which I have pasted below.  For more information, please feel free to share our poster (attached) via Canvas, class discussion, office hours, etc.  Ansel Neunzert, a graduate student in physics, will soon be scheduling a discussion for the beginning of April, and will be contacting students via this sign-up sheet.

Have a great week!


What is STEM Vision?  A campus-wide planning process led by REBUILD to unify the STEM community in articulating shared goals, identifying common needs for support, and developing innovative strategies to advance STEM education at Michigan.

How will the process work?  
  • REBUILD is organizing focus groups with administrators, faculty, postdocs, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students in LSA, the College of Engineering, the School of Education, and beyond.
  • A Proposal Development Team with student  representation will synthesize focus group input (from the google documents) and submit a proposal to U-M administration.  This proposal will be publicly accessible to all faculty and students.
  • REBUILD will facilitate ongoing conversations with U-M leadership regarding shared goals, needs for support, and ideas for new institutional strategies and structures.  Students will have an opportunity to participate in these conversations.

How can students participate?
  • Sign up as a focus group leader here
  • Sign up to participate in a focus group here
  • Some student organizations are planning focus groups for their members.  So far, these include:  the Student Astronomical Society, Women in Math, and the Society of Physics Students.
  • If you sign up below, you will be placed into a focus group with an assigned leader

What is the time commitment?
  • To lead a focus group- One hour planning meeting + time to prepare for your focus group (as much time as you wish to invest to have a fun and successful discussion)
  • To participate in a focus group - One hour

What topics will the focus groups explore?
These discussions will be visionary, creative, and open-ended! Outside-the-box thinking is encouraged.  Here are some examples of questions that might be addressed using role-playing games or other engaging activities:

  • Imagine and discuss your vision for an ideal STEM course
    • What happens in the classroom? (Lectures? Demos? Interactive activities? Group work?)
    • What happens outside the classroom? (Homework? Projects? Office hours? Online work?)
    • What happens in labs and discussion sections?
    • How is the course graded? What feedback do students get on their work?
    • How is the course made accessible and welcoming to all students?
  • Share your actual observations of STEM education, as a student and/or as a teacher
    • What are the best teaching techniques that you've seen in action? Why do you think they worked?
    • What are common areas of weakness that need to be improved?
    • What are the most important skills and knowledge that students need from STEM courses?
    • What makes you motivated or excited about a course?
  • Would you like to take a course that allows you to choose the assignments you complete in order to achieve the grade you want?
  • And more!
What will REBUILD do with student input?

Faculty and student focus groups will generate Google documents.  Participants can contribute to and comment on the Google document generated by their group.  An interdisciplinary team of faculty, undergraduate students, and graduate students will synthesize the ideas in these Google documents and generate a proposal to U-M leadership.  This proposal will be publicly available.  This is not the end-point of the process, but the beginning of conversations about how to improve STEM teaching and learning.  Students will be encouraged to participate in those conversations!

What are the rewards?
  • Have a say in how STEM courses are taught
  • Help faculty understand how to help you with your professional goals
  • Build your resume  and cv by demonstrating leadership in science education reform
  • Access additional opportunities for leadership roles in reforming STEM education at U-M