Tuesday, January 21, 2020 - 9:53am
By:
Alan Flurry

Funded by a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the Department and Leadership Teams for Action program, or DeLTA, will engage more than 100 University of Georgia faculty across multiple departments to transform STEM education at institutions of higher education nationwide.

Principal investigator Paula Lemons, an associate professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology, explained that she and her colleagues have initiated a plan to organize action teams and train faculty participants.

“We’re taking a distributed leadership approach to planning,” said Lemons, who leads an interdisciplinary center on campus known as Scientists Engaged in Education Research, or SEER. “We first had to come up with a training method for facilitators geared toward answering the question ‘How do you lead change?’ From there, our leadership team can work to provide tools and guidance needed for our facilitators to succeed.”

Every two years, DeLTA will incorporate and train a new cohort of facilitators. The multi-disciplinary faculty members will spearhead new initiatives in their respective departments to gradually expand the reach of DeLTA’s efforts. Facilitators are then broken up into three different action teams—instructional, leadership and strategic—to tackle different goals in the planning and implementation processes.

“This project is designed to allow STEM faculty an opportunity to collaborate with other faculty to address challenges that they are finding in their teaching,” said Peggy Brickman, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor in the department of plant biology and leader of the project’s instructional action team. “In addition to their own perspectives, they have the opportunity to examine student work on assignments and tests to examine where students are having difficulties.”

Congratulations to these colleagues who have worked along multiple lines for several years to improve STEM education. The broad emphasis on engagement with students and instruction will strengthen teaching and learning capacity across the sciences, ultimately supporting sustained student achievement and faculty effectiveness. Great work from any of our best.

Faculty participating in the Department and Leadership Teams for Action, or DeLTA, project as part of a $3 million National Science Foundation grant to help students develop STEM knowledge and skills. (Photo credit: Dorothy Kozlowski)