ASM Education Department
1752 N Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
You may or may not remember me from last year's LI workshop in DC, but I just wanted to follow-up since I did check off on my exit survey that I planned to write an interventions proposal in the upcoming year. Well, I am doing it...to NSF. I just wanted you to know how valuable your program was in getting me to the optimal maturity and confidence level to even begin to answer this rfp. I promise to keep you posted about the outcome. I think our proposed interventions will really improve STEM student success. I could not have done this without the Institute.
- Elizabeth Rudolph, Ph.D., Deputy to Dean for Assessment and Graduate Programs, City College of New York
ASM/NIGMS Learning Interventions Institute:
Understanding Research Techniques to Study Student Interventions
Who Should Attend
The Learning Interventions Institute is directed to all participants who are interested in conducting research about how and why students, particularly those from diverse backgrounds, advance in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines as well as the interdisciplinary, biomedical, and behavioral sciences. The Institute is not for individuals interested in learning about interventions that work, but rather for those who want to study the effectiveness of interventions. Successful applicants seek to design research projects to answer questions about current and planned intervention studies.
Preference will be given to (i) directors, managers, and administrators of programs that increase diversity in undergraduate and graduate education in STEM disciplines as well as the interdisciplinary, biomedical, and behavioral sciences and (ii) researchers trained in the natural and physical sciences, with an interest in the social and behavioral sciences, to illuminate understanding in student learning and encourage persistence into advanced training.
Individuals most likely to succeed in the program ask questions such as:
- How do specific services for students (e.g., tutoring, bridge programs, academic advising, and research experiences) advance a student's ability, success, and interest in science?
- Why do some students succeed while others do not?
- What determines which institutional programs are working?
Note: This Institute is NOT about designing program evaluation or assessment.
At the completion of the 3½ day Institute, participants will:
- Understand the basic logic underlying behavioral and social science research
- Be familiar with qualitative and quantitative research methodology, including sampling, measurements, controls and threats to validity, and basic and advanced statistical tools
- Be able to form a collaborative research team based upon needed competencies, appropriate expertise, effective communications, and foundational understanding (concepts, vocabulary, and references)
Participants will improve their abilities to:
- Ask the right questions to advance understanding
- Design approaches or studies that increase validity and address the questions
- Collect data to yield answers and provide results
- Understand data patterns, relationships among variables, and uncertainties
Professor Emeritus of Psychology,
University of California Santa Cruz,
Santa Cruz, CA
Board of Trustees Professor of Statistics, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
The Institute will include invited speakers, formal presentations, and large- and small-group work. Each content area will (i) provide participants with hands-on opportunities to apply new techniques, ideas, and tools and (ii)l be presented with suitable problem sets highlighting real experiences and commonly occurring questions. Group work in cohorts of four to six participants will be carefully guided and monitored for optimal participation and feedback. Each day participants will have opportunities to consult with program leaders about their own research plans.
The Institute addresses four major challenges, providing participants with the language, tools, resources, and community to engage in authentic research. Challenges addressed during the Institute include, but are not limited to:
- Confusion between program evaluation and basic research
- Development of studies grounded in the theoretical domain and the empirical literature
- Connections between conceptualization and hypothesis generation
- Identification of weak and inappropriate methodologies and analytical techniques
Participants should come to the Institute ready to investigate their own research agenda. The Institute will be tailored to participants’ own questions of concern. For instance, some questions for study include what types of experiences help undergraduate and graduate students learn science with understanding? What types of experiences help students persist in science? What do faculty and program administrators need to know to know to create and support such experiences?
The Institute is not a training venue for program assessment. The Institute will not include topics to identify assessment plans, tools, resources, and consultants in the field. Rather, the Institute moves from seeking to assess and evaluate to seeking to understand and contribute knowledge to improve existing programs.
Requirements for Participation
Upon acceptance to the Institute, participants will be required to:
- Join a listserv with other participants, facilitators, and speakers
- Describe a program for studying the targeted outreach program to other participants
- Prepare a list of research questions to explore
- Read two to three articles before attending
- Agree to 5 years of follow-up evaluations and participation in the listserv
The preparatory work is required, as it provides a solid foundation for enhancing your training and for benefiting from the Institute. Participants are asked to bring their own laptop computers to the Institute for preparing and sharing their work.
Over the past 30 years, numerous programs have been established to increase diversity in U.S. scientific enterprises. These programs support major goals: increasing the participation of undergraduate and graduate students from diverse backgrounds in science and retaining undergraduate and graduate students currently in the science pipeline. All programs require financial support and encouragement, with the expectation that academic institutions across the United States must build capacity and resources to encourage and sustain research among faculty and students.
However, to date, these programs have been developed more with educated assumptions of what works than with a true understanding of how and why these programs work. Thus, there is a need to shift from seeking to evaluate to seeking to understand. Studies designed to develop an empirical base of evidence upon which new programs are developed and existing programs are improved are critical.
Scientists trained in the natural and physical sciences often do not have the expertise in behavioral or social sciences necessary to illuminate the processes that underlay students’ success and commitment to science. This is particularly true for students from diverse populations.
Sponsorship and Credentials
The American Society for Microbiology is a recipient of the 2000 Carnegie Scholarship for the Advancement of Teaching Award and was recognized by President Clinton with the 2000 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mentoring in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education for its contribution to education in the sciences and engineering.
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) supports research that increases understanding of life processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. The NIGMS also provides leadership in training the next generation of scientists to assure the vitality and continued productivity of the research enterprise.