The Grand Challenge: Overcoming the Calculus Barrier to STEM Success
To help close equity gaps in STEM fields, Learning Lab is inviting faculty teams from California’s public higher education institutions to reconceptualize the role of and approach to calculus in a student’s first year introductory STEM experience. By the end of the grant period, awarded projects should demonstrate significant positive impacts for students and faculty alike.
Calculus is considered to be foundational to many STEM fields. Students are often required to enroll in this course series in their first year as they pursue life sciences, physical sciences, computational sciences, and engineering degrees. However, the college calculus sequence often poses considerable barriers for prospective STEM students. Retention and degree completion gaps are especially prevalent for Black/African Americans, Latinx, Native American, and Pacific Islander groups and women, despite showing high levels of interest in STEM.
To help close these gaps, Learning Lab is inviting faculty teams from California’s public higher education institutions to reconceptualize the role of and approach to calculus in a student’s first year introductory STEM experience. Learning Lab intends to award up to five grants of approximately $1 million to $1.5 million over three years to support new, innovative ways to teach calculus, or reimagine the role of calculus in STEM majors where calculus is a prerequisite.
Awardees will join the Grand Challenge Cohort through which they will share ideas, approaches, findings, data, and outcomes over the three-year grant period. Grounded in their experiences, awardees will collaboratively produce, by the end of the grant period, recommendations for model first-year STEM curricula with effective pedagogical approaches and faculty professional development components built in. A coordinating institution or project team will be selected to receive $500,000 over three years to foster collaboration among grantees and serve as the Cohort Facilitator.
- Public Agency
Teams must include faculty and/or administrative co-principal investigators (PIs/co-PIs) from at least two of California’s public higher education segments. Additional partnerships, such as with private independent/nonprofit institutions and/or industry partners, are permitted. One institution must be identified as a host institution, which will be responsible for receipt/administration of the grant funds.
Learning Lab funds are intended to be used in California. If the project necessitates the use of Learning Lab funds outside of California, provide a brief justification and estimate of the funding that will leave the state. The amount of funds that can leave the state will be subject to the final award agreement.
How to Apply
State agencies/departments recommend you read the full grant guidelines before applying.
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