Raising the PULSE: Inspiring Departments to Utilize V&C

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Title of Abstract: Raising the PULSE: Inspiring Departments to Utilize V&C

Name of Author: William Davis
Author Company or Institution: Washington State University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development
Approaches: Mixed Approach
Keywords: PULSE Department Network Awareness Outreach

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Judy Awong-Taylor, Georgia Gwinnett College Gita Bangera, Bellevue Community College Richard Cardullo, University of California-Riverside Ellen Goldey, Wofford College Melanie Lee-Brown, Guilford College Cynthia Peterson, University of Tennessee-Knoxville April Hill, University of Richmond

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Supported by a collaborative of the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences-National Institutes of Health, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, forty life science educators with experience as departmental and/or institutional administrators were selected in Fall 2012 as Leadership Fellows for the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE). A novel experiment in educational leadership, the Fellows’ charge is to inspire departments to undertake the hard work of transforming their programs, as called for in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action. The 40 Fellows represent an ethnically diverse and gender-balanced group from institutions that span the full range of Carnegie Classification. Further, PULSE has drawn a virtual community of stakeholders (currently 975 strong; www.pulsecommunity.org) who are engaged in conversations about the challenges, opportunities, and successes surrounding the implementation of Vision and Change. To raise awareness of PULSE and Vision and Change, eight Fellows comprise the working group Raising the PULSE (RtP), which is one of four main PULSE working groups. The RtP group members are: Judy Awong-Taylor (Georgia Gwinnett College), Gita Bangera (Bellevue Community College), Richard Cardullo (University of California-Riverside), William B. Davis (Washington State University), Ellen Goldey (Wofford College), April Hill (University of Richmond), Melanie Lee-Brown (Guilford College), and Cynthia Peterson (University of Tennessee-Knoxville).

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: The goals of RtP include cataloging and disseminating existing efforts of departmental transformation, supporting and disseminating the work of the other PULSE working groups and stakeholders, and encouraging departments across the country to engage in this challenging and important work. Over the past nine months, RtP has tapped into the resources of NSF/NIH/HHMI, the expertise of key contacts in national scientific organizations (e.g. AIBS, ASM, NRC, AAC&U-PKAL), the collective wisdom and experience of the 40 PULSE Leadership Fellows, and feedback from the broader PULSE community. Currently, RtP is preparing a Public Awareness Campaign related to PULSE and V&C. Important components of this effort will include the following. First, RtP will partner with AIBS to prepare and disseminate promotional materials related to PULSE. Second, RtP has adopted the Microsoft application Local Impact Map to geographically catalog national Vision and Change efforts and to help chart and archive the activities of the 40 PULSE Leadership Fellows. Third, RtP is creating new web and social media tools to help connect advanced practitioners (e.g., as identified by the Ambassadors Working Group) with departments who request expertise in implementing Vision and Change. One major emphasis in this area is the current development of a networking tool that we call ‘PULSEacademia’ based on the Macalister College Macademia platform. Fourth, RtP is developing new promotional materials related to V & C and PULSE efforts for use by the entire PULSE community at conferences and other venues. For instance, RtP is currently working on a video series that publicizes both the need for effecting change in life science departments and documenting the current efforts that have been effective in improving student engagement and retention in life science disciplines. Finally, RtP will promote V&C and PULSE activities and disseminate information about them to life science department leaders.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: The penetrance of our outreach efforts, for instance those related to the promotional videos, PULSEacademia, and PULSE Local Impact Maps will be gauged through several mechanisms. First, we will use Google Analytics to monitor web hits and record the geographical origin of the page views, as well as the institutional networks that are used to view these sites. This will allow us to assess the location and institutional types that are getting the message about PULSE and V&C. The results will be used to inform and improve how we inspire, motivate, and help the life science community implement V & C. Second, the outcomes of our work will be broadly disseminated to the PULSE Community and broader life sciences community through national organizations like AIBS. Finally, the RtP group receives regular feedback during presentations and workshops led by its members at national meetings (e.g., ABRCMS, SICB, Lilly Conference, ASB, ASM-CUE), gathering information on the impact of Vision and Change on departments, and taking a census of the needs of the Life Sciences community.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: We anticipate that the PULSE Public Awareness Campaign will increase participation of faculty engaged in Vision and Change efforts and will also motivate departments to implement systemic change in biology education. A greater awareness of PULSE and Vision and Change will help catalyze systemic change in undergraduate Biology education throughout the country. Adoption of the Vision and Change principles will lead to increased student learning; an increased number of students that enter and are retained in undergraduate biology; increased retention rates for students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in biology; decreased time to graduation; increased retention of URMs in the life sciences; promote transfer of STEM students from 2-year Community College to 4-year baccalaureate degree programs; increased applications to graduate programs; increased diversity in the workforce. These systemic changes in biology education are necessary to provide the educated workforce that the United States will need to continue to be the world’s center of scientific innovation in the 21st century. The PULSE Public Awareness Campaign will also serve as a model for improving undergraduate education in other STEM disciplines.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: The PULSE Public Awareness Campaign is just getting ready to begin, so we have not identified any major challenges at the present time.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: The PULSE Fellows conducted a webinar on their activities on June 4, 2013 (available at: https://mediasite.hhmi.org/MediaSite/Viewer/?peid=5e118f7d7f94449393f1279431cb32641d) and the fellows have presented their work at national and regional meetings of professional societies and institutional consortia.

Acknowledgements: The PULSE project has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.