importance of inquiry-based and interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning in the early undergraduate years and adequate preparation and experience in teaching for graduate students.

Other forces also are at work that postsecondary faculty, departments, and institutions increasingly must heed. National and statewide standards and curriculum frameworks are being implemented for K-12 science and mathematics education. Legislators in many states are demanding greater accountability and firm assurances from postsecondary faculty in public institutions that undergraduates are receiving a quality education (Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University, 1998). Federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (1997b), increasingly are requiring proposals for research grants to indicate how the proposed research and its results will improve educational opportunities for students. Private foundations, such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Exxon Education Foundation, are now providing large-scale financial support to improve SME&T education at the K-12 and undergraduate levels.

The support for reform outside of postsecondary institutions is strong and compelling. Increasingly, the committee has witnessed support for changing SME&T education from inside these institutions, as well. This is heartening, for improvement in education can be truly successful only when those who must implement recommended reforms embrace them. In the five years of CUSE's existence, the members have seen evidence of increasing numbers of college and university SME&T faculty who recognize the need to restructure undergraduate SME&T education and who are willing to work individually and collaboratively toward that end. In addition, organizations that represent higher education and professional disciplinary societies are examining their roles in catalyzing educational change. Examples of programs sponsored by such organizations include

  • Project Kaleidoscope's Faculty for the 21st Century (F21) program,29 which is a five-year effort to locate and support up to 1,000 pre-tenured faculty in SME&T disciplines who have been recognized for their SME&T education potential. F21 members gather annually at national meetings to discuss and work through the many facets of changing undergraduate and K-12 education.
  • New Experiences in Teaching (Project NEXT)30 and Workshop for New Physics Faculty,31 which seek out newly appointed postsecondary faculty in mathematics and physics, respectively. These faculty then get together for several weeks during the summer to focus on quality teaching.
  • The American Association for Higher Education's "Teaching Initiative," including the "Peer Review of Teaching Project,"32 in which major universities have examined ways to incorporate peer review of teaching, especially formative review, into the evaluation of faculty performance.
  • The National Research Council's newly initiated study of how the evaluation of SME&T teaching can be improved, which will consider the special circumstances involved with teaching in SME&T disciplines (e.g., teaching laboratories, field studies, and mentoring of undergraduate student researchers). This study also will examine how learning outcomes by students can be factored into teaching evaluations and how such approaches might provide a basis for ongoing professional development for SME&T faculty.
  • The Council of Graduate Schools, which has sponsored the "Preparing Future

29  

Additional information about Faculty for the 21st Century is available at <http://www.pkal.org/faculty/f21/index.html>

30  

Additional information about Project NEXT is available at <http://archives.math.utk.edu/projnext/>

31  

Additional information about the Workshop for New Physics Faculty is available at <http://www.aapt.org/programs/newnfcl.html>

32  

Additional information about this project is available at <http://www.aahe.org/>



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