At Dominican, we support student success in STEM classes and majors with the support of grants from the National Science Foundation.
NSF STEM Success Project

Dominican University has been awarded a 5-year National Science Foundation grant from the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI Program) to enhance undergraduate STEM education and build capacity at our university. In January 2019, Dominican University began the fully funded project titled: “Building Capacity: The Dominican University STEM Success Model to Support Students through Critical Transitions.” This $1.5 million grant project implements teaching and student supports to increase the success of undergraduates in early STEM courses.

The project has three major goals:

  • To improve STEM student achievement and transitions from the first to second year 
  • To improve faculty and tutor capacity to support STEM students’ success 
  • To facilitate student access to academic and nonacademic supports 

To achieve these goals, the project implements two components: 1. Gateway STEM course pilots during the academic year and 2. a STEM Bridge program held during the summer for incoming STEM-interested students. Curricular enhancements common to both project components include Peer Led Team Learning, Inclusive Pedagogy, and Student Success Case Management. 

Students can participate in this project as employees (approximately 12 undergraduate positions and one graduate position per semester), and as participants in either a Gateway STEM course or the STEM bridge. See below for details about how to get involved!

Learn more

The Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL) approach places successful, experienced students as “peer-tutors” in gateway STEM courses. The tutors are embedded within the course lectures and lead small student groups in weekly workshops to discuss and work on problem solving for the course. The workshops are a space that are additional to class time, the workshops are designed to encourage student collaboration and exploration outside of the classroom. Current STEM Gateway pilot courses that may include peer tutors are CHEM 120 (General Chemistry I), CHEM 121 (General Chemistry II), MATH 130 (College Algebra), BIOL 111 (General Biology I), and BIOL 112 (General Biology II).

How do I take a PLTL course? If you are planning to take one of the courses above and are interested in taking a PLTL version of the course you can speak to your advisor, the course instructor, or the STEM Learning Specialist, Kate Powers, to find out more information.

How do I become a PLTL leader? If you have taken and excelled in one of the courses listed above and are interested in becoming a PLTL leader please email Kate Powers to find out more information.

The Star Summer Science Institute (S3 Institute) is a two-week, residential program for incoming Dominican first-year students who are interested in pursuing a STEM major. The two-week program features opportunities to experience hands on research in STEM labs on campus, thorough preparation for studying STEM at DU and a chance to build relationships with future classmates. The program has no participation cost for the student and the student will receive a $500 scholarship upon completion.

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The DU STEM Success Project facilitates the adoption of inclusive pedagogy, to promote inclusive classrooms, student belonging and comfort in developing relationships with near peers and course instructors. Annually, the project hosts professional development workshops from  experts in inclusive pedagogy. Further, STEM Gateway faculty participate in a community of practice dedicated to learning, reflection, planning and refinement for our STEM gateway faculty. Inclusive approaches also form an important component of the ongoing training that PLTL tutors engage in weekly during each academic term.

The Student Success Case Management (SSCM) approach in the DU STEM Success project is part of a larger Academic Support Team on Dominican’s campus. A STEM-dedicated case manager helps faculty and students navigate non-academic challenges that can interrupt a student’s academic progress. STEM gateway course pilot students and their faculty can turn to the case manager or other members of the Academic Support team for help with financial problems, health requirements and beyond. Faculty can request the case manager’s assistance on behalf of the student, or the student can seek out help directly from the team.

Learn more about the Academic Support team. 

Christopher Anderson, PhD
Principal Investigator
Associate Professor
Department of Biological Science

Tina Taylor-Ritzler, PhD
Co-principal Investigator
Department Chair, Professor
Department of Psychology

Barrington Price, PsyD
Co-principal Investigator
Vice President
Student Success and Engagement

Chad Rohman, PhD
Co-principal Investigator
Dean
Rosary College of Arts and Sciences

Kate Powers
STEM Learning Specialist
Student Success and Engagement

Jen Stockdale
Director
Academic Enrichment Center

Sara Furlette-Koski
Intern
School of Social Work

Bridget Bakke
Intern
School of Social Work

 
Promotion of Underrepresented Minorities in Academic STEM Alliance (PUMA-STEM)

Dominican University, along with seven other four-year institutions and one community college in the Greater Chicagoland region, have formed the PUMA-STEM alliance. The PUMA-STEM Alliance (lead institution, Elmhurst University) is focused on strengthening underrepresented minority student success in STEM at primarily undergraduate and regional institutions. The main goals of the program are to provide quality, near-peer mentoring programs for STEM students and undergraduate STEM research opportunities. The PUMA- STEM Alliance is funded by a 5-year $1.5 million grant award from the National Science Foundation through the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program.

Students can participate in this project as employees (four undergraduate positions per semester), and as participants in either the LSAMP scholar mentoring program or High-Quality Research Experiences. See below for details about how to get involved!

To find out more, visit Elmhurst PUMA-STEM Alliance.

The LSAMP Scholar program matches first-year STEM interested students with an experienced student mentor. The mentees form a small cohort and meet weekly with the mentor to work on goal setting and problem solving, as well as making connections and friends. In addition to the weekly mentorship program the students are also invited to participate in campus-wide activities such as STEM career interviews and research opportunities

How do I sign up to be matched with a mentor? If you are an incoming first year student and are interested in participating in the program you can contact the STEM Learning Specialist, Kate Powers, to find out more information.

How do I become a mentor? If you are a second-year or older STEM student and are interested in applying to be a LSAMP Scholar Mentor you can contact the STEM Learning Specialist, Kate Powers, to find out more information.

Participating students will experience high-quality scientific research, build identity as scientists, learn about STEM graduate programs, and gain STEM career development and professional skills. The eight-week summer program will involve weekly meetings of research students and faculty from alliance institutions. Weekly meetings will rotate among the institutions to build a community of research scholars.

To find out more, visit Elmhurst PUMA-STEM Summer Research Experiences

Jeffrey Carlson, PhD
Co-Principal Investigator
Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs

Christopher Anderson, PhD
Faculty Site Lead
Associate Professor
Department of Biological Science

Kate Powers
STEM Learning Specialist
Student Success and Engagement

 

The DU STEM Success project is supported by the National Science Foundation through the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program under Award Number 1832237. The PUMA-STEM project is supported by the National Science Foundation through the LSAMP Program under Award Number 1911271. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.