Dr. Lisa Stoddard, Environmental & Sustainability, Dr. Kathy Chen, STEM Education Center, and Dr. Tiffany Butler, Office of Multicultural Affairs and Biomedical Engineering, develop assessment techniques for PIT learning outcomes.
Within the last 50 years, WPI has invested in, expanded upon, and institutionalized its groundbreaking approaches to STEM education. In the current model, students who are interested in STEM, Public Interest Technology, and social justice issues can pursue a STEM major to gain skills and knowledge in one area as well as adding a double major in Social Science and Policy Making or Humanities and Arts. While this logistically makes sense in terms of WPI faculty disciplinary expertise and training, students may not be aware of how connected these concentrations are or how beneficial they are when combined. As a result, students do not learn how to integrate these areas of knowledge and skills to see how they complement and challenge each other, and how – together – they can create new possibilities in understanding problems and developing novel, innovative global situations.
In 2018-2019, Dr. Tiffany Butler, Dr. Kathy Chen, and Dr. Lisa Stoddard led a group of 7 STEM faculty and 3 social sciences and humanities faculty to develop modules or redesign full courses to integrate STEM and social justice into the courses, which reached a total of 445 students. This group has not yet had an opportunity to fully tackle the question of both short term and long term assessments of the impact of their pedagogical innovations. Analyzing the data from the modules and courses developed in 2018-19 (student reflections, course evaluations, informal student-faculty conversations, etc.), this project focuses to develop and test assessment tools for an integrated STEM-Social Justice-PIT curriculum.