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Fostering Immersive Experiences for Undergraduates to Advance Science in a World of Environmental Change

Stanford University, higher education, and the nation sit at a crossroads. We are facing critical, complex pipeline issues in STEM and diversity, and they are impacting disciplines like biology in new and unforeseen ways that are creating larger consequences in undergraduate science education. Moreover, urgent global issues are demanding a prepared STEM pool of students particularly adept at dealing with and communicating across both disciplinary and national boundaries.

While I served as the Senior Associate Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education, I learned how important high-impact practices such as study abroad and honors research are for all students, especially in STEM fields. High-impact practices provide early connections with faculty and are especially important for underrepresented groups such as minorities and women.

Through the proposed program, students will have a unique opportunity to master the integration of skills that are usually decoupled and siloed within STEM programs: fieldwork, lab work, data analysis, project synthesis, publication, community outreach, science communication and team-building inside and outside of an academic setting. By immersing students and instructors in common, yet internationally diverse field station environments we will also enrich the active learning experience.

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