The California Education Learning Lab has awarded an additional $700,000 to the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District project to scale humanized online teaching in STEM courses across the California Community College (CCC) and California State University (CSU) systems. The vehicle for this systemic change is the Humanizing Online STEM Academy, an intensive six-week online professional development program that prepares faculty with the knowledge, attitudes, and digital skills to teach equity-minded courses at a distance. Research shows that attrition in STEM among students of color and women is worse than any other discipline culture (Riegle-Crumb, 2019). This project is focused on preparing faculty to understand the significant role that emotions play in learning and to prepare them to design and teach online courses that support and welcome all students and position learning as a partnership.
The grant funds will support the implementation of the Academy as well as research to examine the impact of the professional development on student persistence and academic success. With eye on positioning professional development as equity infrastructure, Academy participants from seed partner institutions will receive grant-funded stipends and grow partner institutions fund the incentives for their faculty.
By the end of the two-year scaling project, an additional 240 STEM faculty and faculty support specialists will complete the Academy in a learning community of peers from across the state and “warm demander” facilitators. Participants who complete a digital ePortfolio showcasing their eight humanized online teaching elements and reflections will receive a digital badge issued by CVC/@ONE, a CCC Chancellor’s Office funded initiative.
The project will be led by Michelle Pacansky-Brock, Lead PI, of Foothill DeAnza Community College District and Di Xu, Co-PI, of University of California, Irvine, with support from faculty developers and STEM faculty from across California. Grow partners include Cal Poly Humboldt; CSU Channel Islands; Foothill College; Kern Community College District (Bakersfield, Cerro Coso, and Porterville Colleges); Modesto Junior College; Saddleback College; and Southwestern College. Seed partners include Butte College, CSU Fresno, Cuyamaca College, Grossmont College, Mesa College, Sierra College, and Ventura College.
The Humanizing Online STEM Academy is shared with a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial (CC-BY-NC) license and can be adopted for free through the Canvas Commons (search for #HumanizingSTEM).
Riegle-Crumb, C., King, B., and Irizarry, Y. (2019). Does STEM stand out? Examining racial/ethnic gaps in persistence across postsecondary fields. Educ. Res. (48), 133-144.