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STEM Talk – Cornelia C. Lang

April 5 | 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Title:  Big Impact, Big Ideas: Interdisciplinary and Introductory STEM Courses at University of Iowa

Abstract: In this talk I will describe two introductory STEM course initiatives that are underway at the University of Iowa (1) Big Ideas interdisciplinary GE courses and (2) the Hawkeye Introductory STEM courses. Big Ideas courses are aimed at serving first and second year students and fulfil a variety of the general education requirements and each are centered around one theme or current issue. With a team of faculty from astronomy, geology, biology and anthropology, I will describe the design of two courses entitled, “Big Ideas: Origins of the Universe, Earth and Life” and “Big Ideas: Evolution and Search for Life in the Universe.” All faculty contribute to the curriculum, which is developed together and features inquiry-guided activities taught in active-learning classrooms. Students report a high level of engagement with the course, strong satisfaction and an appreciation for the role science plays in society. Based on our course model, other faculty teams have created similar courses to fulfil different parts of the general education curriculum. In addition, the University has recently funded a campus-wide initiative to support the redesign and improvement of key STEM introductory courses that have a history of persistent challenges with high rates of DF and W grades. Many of these courses serve as the entry points for first semester first year students and student success in these courses is therefore directly tied to the student experience, student persistence and retention and graduation rates at the university. The project supports substantial faculty development in 8 STEM departments in three colleges at the University of Iowa, and I will describe the process of identification of faculty teams using a cohort-based model and support for STEM course redesign within these Hawkeye Introductory Courses.

Host: Karen Daniels

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April 5
9:00 am - 10:00 am
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