A faculty learning community focused on first-year STEM education and the Mentors Program will be developed to enhance teaching, learning, and faculty interactions among the various groups (i.e. faculty-faculty, faculty-mentors, and faculty-students). Another major goal will be community building and having a positive impact on institutional climate and culture. The yearlong program will include a series of planned activities, including regular meetings, annual teaching workshop, bi-annual retreat, a STEM teaching-related seminar series, and social activities.
It is anticipated that the combination of the Mentors Program and the faculty learning communities will create an institutional environment conducive to enhanced motivation for learning, teaching, and mentoring, with tangible results in the form of increased student persistence in STEM disciplines.
We will measure the success of our program by determining whether student grades in 'gateway' courses increase, and on a longer-term, by their persistence rate in STEM fields. The results of frequent assessments will be integrated into ongoing program development. Results and best practices generated will be disseminated to provide a model for other institutions to emulate.