(STEM)2

Laying the Foundation Description of Subgrant Activities

Fifteen CSU campuses were awarded "Laying the Foundation" subgrants to reach out to STEM departments and colleges, STEM faculty and community partners, and other STEM-related initiatives on campus and in the local community to gather information about:

  • Existing service-learning activities;
  • Possible partnerships;
  • Existing resources and expertise; and
  • Levels of interest among STEM faculty to utilize service learning.

Campus activities included:

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California State University, Chico identified service-learning and civic engagement experiences associated with courses being taught by faculty in STEM disciplines. CSU Chico also hosted two training sessions open to all STEM faculty: the first session addressed conceptual and pedagogical aspects of service and civic learning; the second covered practical matters such as forming partnerships with community organizations.
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California State University, Dominguez Hills's Center for Service Learning, Internships, & Civic Engagement (SLICE), in collaboration with academic departments including Earth Science, Biology, Environmental Science, and Computer Science, conducted research to identify existing service-learning activities, existing resources and expertise in the STEM disciplines, possible partnerships, and levels of interest among STEM faculty to use service learning in their courses. These activities were coordinated with the Center for Urban Environmental Research to assist in focusing on existing and possible experiential learning and community-based research projects in the field of environmental science.
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California State University, East Bay engaged in a year of STEM information-gathering and relationship-building. Surveys were developed and disseminated to gain information on current service learning and community engagement activities, as well as ascertain the interest level of faculty and best ways to regularly connect. Based on responses, the Service Learning Director hosted informational gatherings for STEM departments and faculty to share resources and ideas.
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California State University, Fresno offered four grants of $2,000 each to STEM departments to support the exploration of integrating service learning into STEM courses. As a result, service-learning activities were incorporated into two biology courses, one chemistry course and one earth and environmental science course.
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California State University, Fullerton's Center for Internships & Community Engagement researched service-learning approaches in STEM courses, and reached out to department chairs, faculty and community partners to determine effective models, establish a baseline of present activity, identify interested faculty members, and explore service-learning partnerships.
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Humboldt State University's Service Learning Center: (1) conducted departmental outreach activities, by hosting departmental meetings with each of the 11 STEM disciplines in the College of Natural Resources and Sciences; and (2) developed and hosted a Higher Education Track for the 2011 Regional Service Learning Conference, which included service-learning pedagogy information and an emphasis on STEM service-learning activities and efforts.
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California State University, Los Angeles launched the first phase of its LACES (Los Angeles Community Engagement in Stem) program, designed to promote student success in STEM disciplines through service learning. LACES Phase I involved a three-step process. The first step resulted in an inventory of service learning, community engagement activities, and community partnerships in STEM disciplines at CSULA. The second step involved a SWOT analysis conducted by select STEM department chairs and faculty. The third step involved incorporating STEM service-learning development into the new strategic plan for community engagement on campus.
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California State University, Monterey Bay's Service Learning Institute convened a gathering of 175 STEM faculty and partners in a professional development and partnership event. The inspiring event's activities included a speaker, student presentations, and small group conversations aimed at encouraging new and deeper STEM partnerships throughout the College of Science, Media Arts and Technology (SMART). The goal of growing STEM partnerships throughout the College was to increase both STEM knowledge and professional social responsibility in students.
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Cal Poly Pomona convened an engineering working group of faculty interested in service learning. The Center for Community Service-Learning and the Maximizing Engineering Potential Program sponsored various sessions with faculty to discuss the benefits of incorporating service learning in the curriculum. Then, Cal Poly Pomona hosted a symposium on successful models of engineering service-learning projects. Finally, Cal Poly Pomona sponsored a "Service Learning and STEM" workshop on how to incorporate service learning in engineering classes.
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California State University, Sacramento's STEM Service Learning Project included three activities. The Community Engagement Center, in partnership with the Center for STEM Excellence, conducted STEM faculty brown bags to explore service learning and develop a faculty inventory. A pilot STEM service-learning course was implemented in collaboration with public school partners. They strengthened collaborations with K-12 partners through joint trainings, and embedded the service-learning course within a larger California Department of Education grant funded service-learning project.
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San José State University reached out to faculty members in engineering in order to connect them to the campus service-learning network and resources, and ultimately to increase the number of service-learning activities in engineering. San José State assessed current service-learning activities in the College, investigated the reasons why engineering faculty do and do not use service-learning in their teaching, and educated faculty about the benefits of this pedagogy and the resources and partners available.
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Cal Poly San Luis Obispo offered a professional learning community (PLC) to grow its capacity in STEM service learning. Through participation in the PLC, faculty and staff enhanced their knowledge of service-learning pedagogy as they worked together and with the local community as a collaborative team with the ultimate goal of increasing and improving STEM service-learning courses at Cal Poly.
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California State University, San Marcos assessed STEM faculty and students' knowledge of service learning and interest levels via a survey; hired six STEM students (one from each discipline) as service learning and STEM activists; and hired a dynamic STEM faculty guest speaker (and invited accompanying students) to hold separate workshops for our faculty and students. Their goal was to determine the best ways to increase the number of STEM faculty who include service learning in their course(s) and foster more student interest in STEM disciplines.
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Sonoma State University reached out to STEM departments to better understand what service-learning activity was already occurring and determine what opportunities and resources existed by attending each of the ten departmental meetings and sharing information. Additionally, they hosted a "Tips & Trends in Service-Learning" workshop especially for STEM faculty.
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California State University, Stanislaus increased awareness of service learning in STEM by showcasing a service-learning project in geography. CSU Stanislaus geography students informed the K-12 community about the value and use of geospatial technology. This included outreach and training to middle school students and teachers on how to use geospatial technology. Then CSU geography students created a STEM Map of CSU Stanislaus. This map highlighted all science, math and technology activities, including buildings where science activities take place. The map was shared with incoming students and undeclared majors and posted on the CSU Stanislaus campus website.