College of Education researcher Leslie Gonzales has received one of the first grants from NSF INCLUDES, a new National Science Foundation initiative aimed at increasing participation in the STEM fields.
Gonzales, assistant professor of Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education (HALE) at Michigan State University, is one of four principal investigators of a multi-university collaboration that will address faculty preparation in support of women and historically underrepresented minorities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
“Faculty are well prepared in terms of disciplinary content, but they often experience struggles with regard to teaching, generally, and instructional strategies that can allow them to support historically underserved students,” she said.
Gonzales also noted that many new faculty members obtain jobs in institutions where expectations for teaching and working with students and/or communities are greater than the research universities from which they received their PhDs. “To this point, our project will bring together an array of organizations with colleges and universities, with the goal to have people with diverse knowledge bases around the same table talking through how we can improve faculty preparation.”
The INCLUDES work will leverage the knowledge base on faculty preparation and professional development established by the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL). CIRTL encompasses its own broad network of universities working together to improve how STEM faculty members are trained to be strong teachers as well as researchers.
Gonzales’s project is one of 37 Design and Development Launch Pilots funded through two-year grants and 11 grants for conferences. Another MSU faculty member, Kyle Whyte, associate professor of philosophy and community sustainability, received an NSF INCLUDES grant to create new opportunities for Native American students through partnerships between tribal communities and STEM institutions.