Interdisciplinary STEM Collaborative: Developing New Capacities

Purpose and Description

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a report in February 2012, Engage to Excel, which calls for engaged teaching practices and faculty development in order to prepare a million STEM graduates by 2020, needed to maintain US dominance in the global scene. Specifically, the report calls for improving education during the first two years of college (when attrition is rampant), engage students to excel in their learning and to provide multiple pathways for entry into STEM careers, particularly in the context of increasing representation. These recommendations are aligned with goals of the 20/20 Miami Strategic plan, as they relate to recruitment, retention, and inclusion, as well as the unifying goal of promoting a vibrant learning and discovery environment that produces extraordinary student and scholarly outcomes. Membership of this Faculty Learning Community (FLC) will be drawn from STEM departments across the institution and the goals of the FLC will be aligned with the CTE mission to support learning and teaching in the Engaged University by creating a community that crosses boundaries, nurtures excellent educators, promotes innovative teaching, and elevates the priority of effective teaching and learning.

The academic environment at Miami University provides unique opportunities to integrate research and educational efforts in ways not possible at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) or Research One (R1) institutions.  The STEM FLC will be utilized as an avenue to bring together STEM educators across the institution, so that we can identify mechanisms that can integrate pockets of excellence in undergraduate education, graduate education, and K-12 focused efforts (students, teachers, and administrators) to impact the STEM pipelines into higher education, and pathways to STEM majors and careers.  The FLC can help shape a vision for a Center for Excellence in STEM, that currently does not exist at Miami, but one that we are well poised to get started. 


The activities will be framed by a long-term goal of identifying the mission of a STEM center that builds on existing successes, and pockets of excellence at Miami

  1. Conduct a seminar series during the year that raises awareness of STEM education and outreach efforts across the institution.
  2. Engage in interdisciplinary collaborative projects that have a bearing on undergraduate education. Themes may include
    • Instructional pedagogies for retention
    • Strategies to showcase the integration of research and educational outreach
    • Professional development of faculty and graduate student
  3. Identify funding mechanisms to support interdisciplinary STEM projects.
  4. Conference presentations, at disciplinary conferences, National STEM Conferences (such as AACU/PKAL STEM).
  5. Miami University is scheduled to host the May 2017 Ohio PKAL STEM conference- Establish a Planning Collaborative for the conference.



  • Helaine Alessio, Kinesiology and Health
  • Nazan Bautista, Teacher Education
  • Timothy Cameron, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Amanda Diekman, Psychology
  • Michael Edwards, Teacher Education
  • Joyce Fernandes, Biology, Co-facilitator
  • Susan Hershberger, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Lynette Hudiburgh, Statistics
  • Tom Poetter, Educational Leadership
  • Bonita Porter, Biology
  • Julia Robinson, Biology
  • Robin Thomas, Psychology
  • Jennifer Verdolin, Biology
  • Ellen Yezierski, Chemistry