the starting point for more encompassing systemic changes in SME&T education. (It is important to note that most faculty remarked that the message to improve undergraduate teaching must come from university administration, while conversely, deans and provosts commented that, ultimately, faculty controlled the classroom environment. This strongly suggests that more effective communication is essential between faculty and administrators about expectations, strategies, and goals for teaching at the postsecondary level.)
The topical forums offered important opportunities for the members of CUSE to build upon the momentum of the national convocation held in 1995 and the subsequent regional symposia. In collaboration with professional organizations and universities and, in one case, with a state department of education, CUSE members were able to explore with colleagues across the United States issues that were raised at the regional symposia. For example, strategies for developing and implementing interdisciplinary courses—prominent topics in the first symposium at the University of Michigan—were subsequently revisited at the two topical forums held in collaboration with the NCTM and the University of Washington System.
The topical forums also enabled committee members to engage diverse stakeholders in conversations about particularly challenging and complicated topics. These included increasing scientific literacy for all undergraduate students, improving the preparation of future K-12 teachers in science and mathematics, and identifying how to overcome professional and institutional obstacles that faculty face in improving their teaching skills.