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Sponsored Programs - Proposal Abstract

This abstract was retrieved from theNSF's FastLane Awards Database, where abstracts of projects which have received funding from the National Science Foundation can be retrieved from an on-line searchable database.

Title       : MPWG: Pedagogical Transformation to Restructure Introductory
               Physics Courses and Retain Women and Minority Students
Type        : Award
NSF Org     : HRD
Date        : June 29,  1995
File        : a9553630

Award Number: 9553630
Award Instr.: Standard Grant
Prgm Manager: Lola E. Rogers
Start Date  : September 1,  1995
Expires     : August 31,  1996 (Estimated)
Total Amt.  : $99,701  (Estimated)
Investigator: Milan C Buncick
              Dianne D Horgan
              Lynn   Weber
              Phyllis G Betts
              Corinna A Ethington
Sponsor     : University of Memphis
              Memphis, TN  38152                          901/678-2000

NSF Program : 1544     EHR ACT FOR WOM & GIRLS IN SEM
Fld Science : 13       Physics
              59       Engineering NEC
Fld Applictn: 0000099  Other Applications NEC
Abstract    :
     Buncick  9553630    The Physics Department and colleagues from the
     Department of Counseling, Educational  Psychology and Research of the
     College of Education, the Center for Research on Women, and  the
     University Honors Program propose a model program to improve learning and
     retention of  all students, but particularly women and minorities, in
     introductory physics courses.  Currently  many instructors are aware of
     the underrepresentation of women and try to encourage women  by increasing
     the visibility of women in science and providing them with role models.
     The  purpose of this proposal is to move beyond these standard strategies
     and focus on removing  some of the  psychological barriers.  This effort
     focuses on calculus-based introductory physics  courses.  Students who
     attend these courses major in all areas of science and mathematics, but
     are primarily engineering and physics majors.  Some straightforward
     pedagogical changes that  will address these barriers are to be
     implemented.  The proposed teaching techniques are  designed:  (1) to
     increase the comfort level in the classroom by establishing a sense of
     community; (2) to build confidence in women and people of color; (3) to
     increase the perceived  value and utility of science and mathematics; (4)
     to reduce the competitive nature of the  classroom; (5) to develop
     self-assessment skills; and (6) to encourage risk taking to enhance the
     learning process.  In addition, faculty are to engage in workshops and
     discussion sessions to  raise their awareness of the barriers that women
     and minorities face.  Faculty also are to be  involved in the development
     and refinement of pedagogical techniques that help to remove those
     barriers.  The advantage of the structural and pedagogical approach,
     compared to other models  of comprehensive, often course-specific
     curricular reform, lies in:  (1) its portability from course  to course
     and from discipline to discipline, and (2) its emphasis on "techniques"
     rather than  content, thus making is likely to b e more easily and readily
     embraced by a broader range of  faculty.  A focus on pedagogical
     techniques and class structure is a unique aspect of this  program.    The
     intention is to use this project as a foundation for long-term pedagogical
     and faculty  development.  The program seeks:  (1) to reduce the overall
     dropout rate from the introductory  physics course through increasing the
     number of women and people of color who complete it,  through raising the
     grades of those completing it, especially the women and people of color,
     through increasing satisfaction with the course; (2) to increase the
     proportion of women and  people of color who choose to continue in
     science, engineering, or mathematics; and (3) to  introduce to the
     science, mathematics and engineering faculty pedagogical techniques
     designed  to make classes more supportive, and to improve learning.  These
     efforts, hopefully, will lead  to a cooperative and mutually supportive
     network of faculty from engineering, science,  mathematics and education
     who share a commitment to increase the diversity of students who  take and
     succeed in science and mathematics courses at the University.

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 Last Modified 3/20/18