Lack of persistence in NSM probably has many contributing factors: lack of sufficient academic preparation in secondary school (especially in mathematics); classroom teaching pedagogy which no longer matches student learning; lack of STEM 'role models', especially for underrepresented groups (NAS, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation); and unsupportive social environments.
The overarching goal of this proposal is to implement institutional change which will increase persistence in NSM freshmen by 10% or better each year over the course of this grant period and to create continued institutional sustainability for these changes beyond the end of the grant. To increase the successful persistence of NSM students to graduation at the UH by at least 10% per year (PCAST 2012), the UH will work towards the following objectives, which are assembled within 2 primary programs and 2 broadly supporting initiatives, affecting nearly 4000 students in introductory Biology, Organic Chemistry, Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus: (1) Implementing Classroom Instructional Change (CIC), (2) Providing All Students the Tools to Excel (EXCEL), (3) 'Changing the Image', and (4) 'Creating a Community'.
--Adopt and implement teaching strategies and pedagogy in eight core courses which emphasizes student engagement (PCAST, 2012) and impact the largest number of students. Where applicable, introduce discovery based research courses which are aligned with best practices in Discipline Based Education Research (DBER) (NRC Study: Discipline Based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering) (CIC)
--Improve the probability for success for entering freshmen and community college students through early identification, intervention and redesigned recitation sessions as well as implementing a summer bridge program for community college students (EXCEL)
--Enrich the college experience for our students by providing increased opportunities to interact one-on-one or in small groups with faculty, and within their own learning and social communities, such as student technical societies (NRC: Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation) (Creating a Community)
--Help students develop the study skills they need to be successful in college (EXCEL)
--Deliver positive role models through delivery of inspirational videos and subject matter experts (Changing the Image)