Collaborative Research: Extending the Coherent Gateway to STEM Teaching and Learning Grant

Collaborative Research: Extending the Coherent Gateway to STEM Teaching and Learning .


  • There is compelling evidence that introductory gateway courses are often significant barriers to student success, persistence, and graduation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Drawing on work supported by the Association of American Universities, this collaborative R&D project is designed to implement an innovative teaching and learning model, Three-Dimensional (3D) Learning, and investigate the factors (e.g., supports and challenges) affecting the adoption and implementation of instructional innovation in introductory and upper level courses in STEM. The approach is based on an adaptation of the National Research Council's document, A Framework for K-12 Science Education, for postsecondary education. Rather than focusing on developing faculty awareness and implementation of high impact practices as a means to transform STEM courses, the 3D Learning framework focuses on engaging faculty in identifying core ideas in the disciplines, including scientific practice in the classroom, and incorporating crosscutting scientific concepts in course materials with the goal of building faculty capacity and departmental/institutional infrastructure to improve student learning. The project concentrates on two major efforts: (1) the propagation of 3D Learning, development and validation of assessment tools, and implementation of faculty support structures across Michigan State University and its partner institutions, Grand Valley State University, Florida International University, and Kansas State University and (2) research using a variety of methods to examine how instructional innovation is adopted and implemented across different disciplines, department cultures, and institutional ecologies and their affect on student outcomes. The project focuses on faculty as key change agents in higher education and draws on the literature on institutional change that emphasizes the importance of the human, social, and cultural capital of individuals in establishing and sustaining institutional change and the propagation of instructional innovation in the classroom. The quantitative and qualitative mixed methods research project is designed to identify factors and conditions that support or prevent faculty from broadly adopting and implementing 3D Learning. By examining differential levels of adoption and implementation of 3D Learning across disciplines and institutions, the study will test assumptions found in the theoretical and empirical research literature on faculty development and instructional change. The research team will use student assessments, classroom observation, surveys, and interviews with students to identify, track, and examine how these different levels of adoption and implementation affect student outcomes, such as persistence, motivation, and knowledge (e.g., core ideas in the disciplines, scientific practices, and crosscutting concepts in the sciences).

date/time interval

  • September 1, 2017 - August 31, 2023

sponsor award ID

  • 1725609