Evaluation and support of dept-level transformation; deployment of broadly relevant PULSE DEI Rubric

Kate Marley
Professor of Biology, PULSE Fellow
Doane University

Need: In past decades, STEM education reform focused on supporting instructional transformation through programs developing faculty reflection, use of evidence-based practices, and dissemination of relevant materials. The Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE) Recognition Program is instead focused on supporting transformation of undergraduate STEM education at the departmental level. Guiding questions: How does the PULSE Recognition Program impact departmental change over time?How does interacting with the PULSE Recognition program affect faculty and departmental interactions and behaviors?What factors affect the success of different institution types participating in the PULSE Recognition Program? Outcomes:Within the first year (2020-2021) of this grant award it was impossible to conduct in-person site visits to institutions interested in participating in the Recognition Program due to the Covid-19 pandemic travel and visitor restrictions across all institutions of higher education. Initially 25 departments expressed interest in participating in the program. At present, 19 departments are participating: four research intensive universities, eight liberal arts colleges, five regional comprehensive universities and two community colleges. Three departments are at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) and two departments are at Hispanic serving institutions (MSI). Ten site visits have been completed through spring 2022 with the remaining planned for Fall 2022. Data on departmental transformation collected through year two of the grant will serve as baseline data for our longitudinal study of STEM education reform. As part of providing departments with feedback, two instruments have been developed: a rubric for departmental self-reflection and discussion of issues relevant to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI Rubric); and a Faculty Attitudes and Readiness Survey (FAR Survey) for collecting evidence of the preparation of each full-time faculty in the departments we visit. We have collected data using both instruments from our first 10 institutions and are analyzing this data for baseline evidence of department DEI efforts and the preparation and engagement of full-time faculty in equitable teaching and a transformed curriculum. Broader Impacts: The PULSE Rubrics and Recognition Program have the potential to transform STEM education through large-scale institutional reform efforts. The overarching goal of PULSE is to catalyze systemic change in life sciences education nationwide to increase student success and the diversity of STEM graduates. Expansion of the Recognition Program, an inclusive initiative open to all institution types, will lead to broader adoption of key tenets of the 2011 Vision and Change report. In addition to the existing PULSE Rubrics, deployment of a new rubric on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is being used to collect a national data set around implementation of strategies to particularly support students often excluded due to ethnicity or race. We have sought explicitly to include community colleges, MSIs, and HBCUs in our dataset and program, so as to generate an inclusive dataset of student experiences. In this way, the PULSE Rubrics and Recognition project will increase the numbers of diverse, first generation, and low income STEM graduates. Large scale transformation of undergraduate STEM education toward an inclusive model will address the requirement for skilled and competitive STEM graduates for the 21st century.


Judy Awong-Taylor, Georgia Gwinnett College, Atlanta GA; Loretta Brancaccio Taras, Kingsborough Community College; Thomas P Jack, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; Monica Linden, Brown University, Providence, RI; Kate Marley, Doane University, Crete, NE; James Akif Uzman, University of Houston-Downtown, Houston, TX