Thursday, December 19, 2013

"Success in the Classroom Sharing Practices that Work" Conference & Workshop - February 19 & 20, 2014

Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs in the College of Biological Science
Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development
University of Minnesota

Robin Wright is Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs in the College of Biological Sciences and Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development at the University of Minnesota.  Over the past 21 years, she has mentored more than 100 undergraduate researchers.  She is currently working exclusively on undergraduate education research and initiatives.  Prof. Wright has experience teaching both large and small classes, including freshman seminars, large introductory biology courses, and skill-oriented courses for honors students.  She helped to develop and co-teaches in an orientation/enrichment course required for all 500 incoming freshmen in the college.  She has also been a leader in development of Foundations of Biology, an innovative, team-based introductory biology course for biological sciences majors. Prof. Wright is recognized nationally as a leader in the development of team-based, active-learning pedagogy in large (>100 seat) Active Learning Classrooms.  Among many contributions to life-science education scholarship, she is a member of the Advisory Committee for the HHMI/National Academies of Science-sponsored Summer Institute on Biology Education, and has served as a mentor and presenter at each annual workshop since the first one in 2003.  She is currently the founding editor of a new biology education journal, CourseSource, which will publish biology curriculum materials that are linked to learning outcomes established by biological sciences professional societies.  In 2012, she was named as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
"Success in the Classroom Sharing Practices that Work"
Keynote Speaker, Dr. Robin Wright

Space Matters!  How Active Learning Classrooms Affect Teaching and Learning 
Have you heard the excitement about UNM's Learning Studio classrooms? Last year, more than 12,000 undergraduates at the University of Minnesota took at least one class in similar “Active Learning Classrooms.”  In these classrooms, groups of 9 students sit at a round table that has access to a large LCD which they can control and a whiteboard panel for keeping notes.  Classrooms have from 5 to 21 tables, accommodating 45 to 171 students. There is no front or back in these rooms, and students can face each other as easily as they can face the teacher.  What happens in an Active Learning Classroom?  What is easier there? What is harder?  Is it worth the money?  In this interactive presentation, we’ll take a look at what Active Learning Classrooms can do to promote learner-centered teaching and explore why they do it. Then, you will want to set your goal to teach in a UNM Learning Studio! 
Select the link below to RSVP for the luncheon

CTE/STEM Gateway Workshop
Thursday, February 20, 2014
  • 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
  • 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Start Where You Are: Moving from Lecture to Active Learning
In this workshop, we’ll explore some effective strategies for designing learning activities that engage students and promote learning.  We’ll begin with a brief introduction, some examples, and a rubric.  Then each participant will begin to transform one of their favorite (or most challenging) lectures into an active learning modality.  Participants should bring a copy of the lecture they want to work on, in their format of choice (i.e. on their electronic device or printed out).  Participants will define their learning objectives and the type of assessments they would use to evaluate students’ mastery of those objectives.  Then they will map what students should do before class, what they still need to tell students, and what the students can do in class to achieve those objectives.  And consider how to have fun teaching this class and help students to have fun, too!
Select the link below to RSVP for the Workshop

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mission: Graduate Initative at UNM

The Mission: Graduate initiative is a cradle-to-career education partnership. The focus is on Central New Mexico counties which include Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, and Valencia. Based on 2010 Census data, these four counties are home to 32% of the children and youth living in New Mexico. This region comprises 43% of all age groups in New Mexico’s total population.  

The Vision is to create a seamless and coordinated education system that provide equitable opportunities for all children and youth to succeed In school, graduate with a postsecondary degree, and obtain a career of their choosing in Central New Mexico. The overarching goal is to add 60,000 new postsecondary credentials in Central New Mexico by year 2020.

You might be wondering why 60,000 degrees? This number is based upon the New Mexico projected five-year population estimates by 2020 and the need to increase degree attainment by 50% in the population.  Data from the American Community 2010 US Census survey shows when compared to other progressive communities in the Southwest, we fall much lower in degree attainment of adults 25-64 years of age. The Mission Graduate initiative aims to increase our ability to attract new business opportunities by having the educated population to support such investment.

Mission: Graduate set the following five objectives as defined by the educational compact:

  1. Eliminate achievement gaps that persist throughout the educational continuum
  2. Increase high school graduation rates
  3. Increase college and university enrollments
  4. Increase college and university graduation rates
  5. Align these objectives with efforts to recruit new businesses  

Mission: Graduate is a community partnership that receives backbone support from the following organizations.

United Way of Central New Mexico (UWCNM) serves as the lead backbone organization for the initiative. UWCNM is now part of a national “learning cohort” of United Way organizations in 12 communities that are receiving technical assistance from the Strive Cradle-to-Career Network and United Way Worldwide.

The UNM Center for Education Policy Research serves as the data manager and convener of our community-wide data committee.

The UNM Network for Educational Renewal is helping to coordinate our community engagement efforts.

These organizations are not directing the work of the partners, but are working to help the partners chart a common vision, use data more effectively, communicate regularly, and develop a set of mutually reinforcing activities for collaborative action.

To read more, please visit

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Are PLFs in your classes next spring?

We are serving the following classes and sections:

32232    Math 120-020    Casson (online)
44963    Math 120-023    Casson (online)

17970    Math 121-002    Andrew
17976    Math 121-005    Padilla
17980    Math 121-008    Andrew
17983    Math 121-010    Sorge
17986    Math 121-012    Andrew
17977    Math 121-013    Martinez
27342    Math 121-015    Andrew
38390    Math 121-019    Casson (online)
39270    Math 121-020    Watts
38390    Math 121-022    Casson (online)

18372    Math 150-005    Andrew

18414    Math 180-004    Schwartz
18418    Math 180-008    Schwartz
18421    Math 180-011    Schwartz

14050    Chem 121-001   Sorenson-Unruh
14049    Chem 121-002   Smith

14111    Chem 122-001   Yang
23446    Chem 122-002   Knottenbelt
25534    Chem 122-003   Smith

Earth and Planetary Sciences
18474    EPS 101-001        Pun
18472    EPS 101-002        Pun
46581    EPS 101-006        Pun (online)   

Friday, November 22, 2013

Collaboration between PLFs and STEM Advisement!

As diligent students and hard-working staff members, we have many reasons to “TGIF” here at Stem Gateway! But admittedly, one of our favorite things about Fridays is weekly training with our Peer Learning Facilitators. During these sessions, PLFs further develop their skills as peer-tutors and receive programming on how to become better students themselves.  

On October 18, 2013 PLFs got a break from their typical training routine to host a special visitor, Kelli Hulslander! 

Kelli is the new Student Advisement Coordinator for STEM majors in the UNM College of Arts and Sciences. Since taking her new position, Kelli was kind enough to stop by our training session to get feedback from the PLFs about what improvements could be made to STEM advisement. As tutors in STEM classes and students of those disciplines themselves, the PLFs had quite a lot to share! Overall, it was a very upbeat and enlightening meeting for both parties. The PLFs were very excited to share personal anecdotes with Kelli, and she had the unique opportunity of connecting with students willing to assess her program.

Since that training, Kelli has continued to support our PLFs. Through email correspondence, booking rooms for study sessions and more, she has become an invaluable resource at STEM Gateway. 

Kelli is going above and beyond in her new position and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to connect with her this semester!

Have questions about Arts and Sciences advising?  Start here:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Focus on Success

 As we move into the holiday season, it is easy to let the academic focus fade.  But this time of year is when we most need to reinforce our academic goals.  Final exams are closer than they appear, and final projects will be due soon.

Here is a quick "how to" study guide for college STEM courses.

Enjoy the Turkey and pie... Have fun picking out gifts for your loved ones... And be sure to schedule study-time when your calendar begins to fill up.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Check out STEM Gateway courses for Spring 2014

The STEM Gateway Academy courses and STEM Student Interest Group courses are now available.  Check out the following link for more information:  Sign up today!

Friday, October 4, 2013

PLFs Pitch In at Men of Color Study Hours!

Here at STEM Gateway, we take advantage of any possible chance to brag about our awesome Peer Learning Facilitators! From helping to solve in-class iclicker questions to holding Friday afternoon review sessions, PLFs can be found all over UNM encouraging student success in STEM courses. Fortunately, PLFs aren’t alone in these efforts. 

PLF Mike Lynam works with students at the MOCI Study Hours.
UNM’s Men of Color Initiative hosts weekly BOSS UP! study hours that are open to all students interested in working on their assignments alongside PLFs and other tutors.

 A member of our PLF team, Katy Sears, holds office hours at the MOCI study session every Thursday evening and is quick to endorse the effectiveness of the events:
Katy says: If I can't answer a question as a PLF, there are always other people who can help explain ideas to a student.

“There is a diverse group of people coming to the MOCI study hours.  Chemistry and Math are the popular subjects, but there have been a few students for English, Biology, or just to study. We can help with a range of subjects.  Math, Chemistry, Biology, English, History, Languages … most of us are happy to help with anything outside of what class we PLF in.  

I like having my office hours at the GRC because it feels like a big group study session.  There is usually a decent amount of people there, so you feel like you can ask anyone for help on anything.  If a PLF doesn't have a student or a student who needs help, they will work on their own tasks and it feels more like you are a "peer" rather than a "teacher".  Its fun when a few students from the same class come because they can bounce ideas off of one another and feel more comfortable working together in class.  

It is a really good group-learning environment because everyone is having fun, but still able to work on various tasks they need.”

Learn more about Study Hours and other events from MOCI here.