National funding boosts UW Collaborative: Advancing inclusivity, student success in STEM

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity and innovation at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The university’s commitment to advancing diversity and inclusivity is inextricably linked to its pursuits of excellence in teaching, research and outreach – all of which shape the Wisconsin Experience.

At the heart of these synergistic pursuits is The Collaborative for Advancing Learning and Teaching (The Collaborative). The Collaborative, a partnership of cross-campus units at UW-Madison, uniquely unites and leverages a collective wealth of wide-ranging expertise to advance teaching and learning in the classroom and beyond.

Garnering both institutional and national support, The Collaborative is advancing inclusive practices in higher education, particularly in STEM fields, across the university, state and nation. The Collaborative continues to play a critical role in helping faculty and staff develop more inclusive learning environments that nurture learners of all backgrounds and help students succeed. From tailored academic and social support for all students, to current and future faculty professional development focused on inclusive teaching, research mentoring and advising, The Collaborative is helping to ignite change through three national initiatives.

Enhancing Support for STEM Transfer Students Throughout Wisconsin

Beyond Access to Success: Creating Flexible Pathways to Stem Degrees for Transfer Students in Wisconsin

As part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Inclusive Excellence Initiative, which aims to catalyze universities’ efforts to engage all students in science ­­­regardless of background, UW-Madison is one of 57 institutions from across the nation to receive $1 million in grant support over five years.

UW-Madison’s effort is being led by The Collaborative’s Janet Branchaw, director of WISCIENCE and a professor of kinesiology, in collaboration with a multi-institutional team of faculty and staff at UW-Madison, Madison College and UW-Whitewater.

The team’s goal is to improve 2- to 4-year transfer STEM students’ success across Wisconsin by developing, implementing and evaluating a comprehensive, adaptable model transfer program. The program will provide professional development for faculty and staff, recommend key policy changes and ultimately create a sustainable STEM Transfer Transition Program that includes tailored-advising, and academic and social support for all students.

Over the five years, the team aims to engage hundreds of transfer students across the participating institutions, and train more than 1,000 faculty and staff to improve the students’ transition and integration into four-year degree programs. The team hopes to ultimately disseminate the model throughout the UW System and the Wisconsin Technical Colleges System (WTCS).

More Inclusive & Diverse National Faculty Base to Improve Student Success in STEM

National Science Foundation (NSF) Aspire Alliance

UW-Madison, along with the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and four other institutions, has been awarded $10 million to help lead the National Science Foundation (NSF) Aspire Alliance. The alliance aims to develop a more inclusive and diverse national faculty base to broaden the success of underrepresented 2-year and 4-year STEM students. The alliance will focus on aligning and reinforcing professional development and hiring practices at institutional, regional and national levels.

On behalf of UW-Madison, The Collaborative’s Don Gillian-Daniel, Ph.D. and Emily Dickmann, Office of Undergraduate Advising, as well as Robin Greenler, Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) will lead the national-level effort over the next five years.

The team will create and disseminate professional development opportunities for future and current faculty focused on inclusive teaching, research mentoring and faculty advising, while ensuring alignment at the national, regional and institutional levels. Working with disciplinary societies and organizations serving underrepresented groups, the team will also explore the potential of identifying a national “pool” of underrepresented graduate students, postdocs and faculty.

NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) Initiative

As part of the NSF IUSE Initiative, The Collaborative has also been awarded just over $5 million for two additional efforts over the next three to four years. The efforts are also focused on inclusive learning and teaching in STEM, and future faculty teaching development.

Inclusive Learning and Teaching in Undergraduate STEM Instruction

The first project aims to make STEM disciplines more inclusive to diverse populations by changing the way STEM undergraduate courses are taught on a national scale. Led by The Collaborative’s Don Gillian-Daniel, the project is focused on improving the awareness, confidence and ability of Ph.D.s, postdocs and early career faculty to create inclusive STEM learning environments.

Over the next five years, the project aims to prepare more than 500 current faculty, and 4,000 STEM Ph.D.s and postdoctoral scholars in inclusive teaching practices to impact the learning experiences and success of more than 25,000 STEM undergraduate students nationally.

Increasing Impact and Implementation of Future Faculty Teaching Development

The second effort is an integrated portfolio of initiatives that aims to increase the impact and implementation of future faculty teaching development. The portfolio focuses on two strategic directions: 1) increasing the number of future faculty participating at each Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) Network university (38 in total); and, 2) extending CIRTL opportunities to future faculty beyond the CIRTL Network. UW-Madison’s Delta Program is a founding member of the CIRTL Network.

Over the next five years, the combined effort aims to more than double the number of future faculty that CIRTL prepares each year.

Read more about The Collaborative and its contributions to inclusive teaching efforts on campus.