Effectively Managing Your Project

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Effectively Managing Your Project. Renata Engel, Penn State University; Veronica Guajardo, University of Washington; Kandethody Ramachandran , University of South Florida University of South Florida Program A STEP to Grow in Science-Engineering-Mathematics Undergraduate Degrees. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Effectively Managing Your Project

Renata Engel, Penn State University; Veronica Guajardo, University of Washington; Kandethody Ramachandran, University of South Florida

University of South Florida Program

A STEP to Grow in Science-Engineering-Mathematics Undergraduate DegreesEffectively Managing Your Project

The University of South Florida (USF) is a large, multi-campus national Research I university with over 47,000 students. At USF Tampa campus, there are over 30,400 undergraduates, more than 8,400 graduates, over 550 Doctor of Medicine candidates and more than 1,500 non-degree-seeking students . USF is ranked 8th as an 'Up-and-Comer' among the country's national universities in the 2012 edition of U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges edition. USF ranks 10th worldwide among universities granted U.S. patents.The STEP project at University of South Florida (http://www.math.usf.edu/resources/step/) is based on the premise that success in calculus is the gateway to success in the STEM fields. This project is aimed at increasing STEM graduates through intervention programs in the Engineering and Life Science Calculus sequences. Through this project we have developed and are implementing several transportable strategies such as one-stop extended-hour tutoring (STEM Mart, http://lib.usf.edu/smart-lab/stem-center/), project-based teaching, and peer leading. These multiple strategies have transformed the teaching of calculus at USF and are leading to increased retention and pass rates for students. Challenges faced Not understanding the seriousness of IRB requirements and the problems that pose.It is important that from day one, we should have plan for IRB approvals for all the different aspects of the project, that involve approval for what type of data the project team can access, type of survey that can be administered, etc.

2. The biggest of the challenges was/is difficulty in obtaining necessary data. It was real challenge to obtain necessary data from the registrars office. Only with the Provosts intervention did we able to obtain the data.

3. Have a clear picture of evaluation. It is important to have a competent external evaluator and work with the evaluator right at the stage of proposal writing and identifies most important short, medium, and long term evaluation questions. Identify a person from the grant team whom the evaluator can have continuous contact and rely on data analysis. Factors that contributed to USFs STEP grant success Factor 1: Coalition of faculty, administrators, and staff Effectively managing the project starts at assembling a team of strong faculty with diverse interest and passion that the PI can work with. USF team includes: Scott Campbell (Chemical Engineering), Arcadii Z. Grinshpan (Director of Center for Industrial and Interdisciplinary Mathematics), Catherine Beneteau (mathematics & Statistics), Gordon Fox (Integrative Biology), Jennifer Lewis (Chemistry), and Marcus McWaters (Mathematics & Statistics). Administrators that take direct interest in this project include the Provost, Vice Provost for student success, and the registrar, Director of Learning Commons, Associate Deans from College of Arts and Sciences, and from the College of Engineering, and Office staff from the Mathematics and Statistics department to oversee all the paper work.Factor 2: DecentralizationCreated subcommittees based on the interests of the Co-PIs and entrust all decision and implementation aspects to that committee. For instance, we created subcommittees on Projects, evaluation, STEM Mart, and peer leading. Some members served in more than one subcommittee.

Factor 3: Aggregation and feedbackIn addition to continuously interacting through the e-mails, the team meets many times during the year and discusses how to integrate various individual aspects that supports the other aspects. For instance, the peer leaders also serve as tutors in the STEM Mart that resulted in substantial support structure to the student success. Many of the tutors are chosen from students who did projects earlier, thus helping new students with their projects.Most important in this process is to adapt and adjust the project implementation as necessary. Factor 4: Assess impactThere are basically two types of impact: contribution of project methods on student success, and long term institutionalization.Project activities have resulted in a new center (Center for Industrial and Interdisciplinary Mathematics, http://ciim.usf.edu ) at USF- being directed by Dr. Grinshpan. This center, serving the local industry and research, is a long term resource for the community. Also, that team oversees the electronic journal Undergraduate Journal of Mathematical Modeling: One + Two. Peer leading activities lead by Dr. Beneteau resulted in securing funding for peer leaders.STEM Mart activities lead by Dr. Campbell resulted in a structure that attracts huge amount of students and will be permanent part of USF learning commons.The overall pass rate in Calculus increased from 55% in 2006 (before project inception) to 70% in 2011. In follow up engineering courses, it went up by 25%.

Empirical summary of impact

pass rate of calculus students (blue) pass rate of calculus students with 5or more visits

Image from STEM MartImage from poster presentation at the WorkshopTHANK YOU