....and what a great way to start our weekly reminders to write every day than on MLK Day!!! Among other things, this day marks the bringing of something noble and noteworthy into the world that previously existed only as hopes and dreams. I know that in many ways we are STILL hoping and dreaming for "justice for all" but the point I wish to make is that everything aimed at making sustained change starts as a product of imagination, a vision and then coupled with unified and committed action, there is manifestation. Dreams do become reality but it takes work. The Bible puts it this way...first the seed, then the corn, then the seed in the corn.
So, in this case, the seed is your vision of how you contribute to all of your students graduating from college. You may have thought about what skills your students are lacking and what could possibly help them. You may have even instituted changes in your teaching over the years and collected some data on how things were improving but never thought it could be published. OR you may have stopped trying due to sheer overwhelm. Either way, this is a new day. It's time to plant or re-plant that seed.
In the spring of 2022, the Analytic Hub of the HBCU Undergraduate Success Research Center, created a small community of practice to envision a published paper. We came together on the tail end of the Pandemic and so we were all tired. However, the tenure clock was still clicking and so we decided to create and publish a manuscript in 6 months. Starting from conversations, we began conceptualization, then journeying through basic outline, annotated outline, zero draft, first draft, edited drafts, we made it to final submission. The paper was published as a collaborative work.
Success breeds success.
For the 2023 Cohort, we are targeting our first NSF grant proposal. The proposal for the Education and Human Resources CORE program and is due in October. This work focuses on assessment and will build upon findings already gathered at Virginia State University. Preliminary analysis was provided by psychometric consultants associated with the STEM-US Center, including validation of the STEM-US Assessment. ( More about the assessment's development can be found in the Hub's 2023 Research Summary.) The 57 item assessment provides a characterization of protective factors and risk factors reported by incoming STEM students at VSU. Nearly 3000 students have now taken the assessment and the findings are helping us to develop a profile of students who are most likely to have a high GPA during their first semester. The results are now being used to inform intervention efforts across the campus, including a version of Supplemental Instruction currently housed in the Biology department. In-class interventions informed by the findings are being piloted in Spring 2023. Faculty from several departments are involved including, Psychology, Math, Chemistry and Political Science. The data is also informing efforts led by the Provost to encourage student-centered learning in courses with high DFW rates
Unlike the 2022 CareFull Scholars Program cohort, this 2023 effort does not start from a blank page. We are actually beginning this project with a lot accomplished. Thanks, in part to the project co-leads, Drs, Avis Jackson and Damon Bryan from Morgan State University we have a theoretically derived research rationale; conceptualization of the research design based on previous findings; a data management plan with a new validated instrument; and plans for the FIRST EVER data repository on affective characteristics of HBCU and MSI students. What we don't have is your ideas as to how to use this information to make a difference in your classroom or at your institution. For the required part on Broadening Participation we need you and....and your writing.
The first step in joining our grant efforts is to join the Spring 2023 CareFull Scholars Program Cohort. Participants will meet every other week from mid February until June. For five months we work to establish writing as a habit, a daily practice, not just for this project. We include in our discussions, the physical, mental, emotional and technical structures of support for your writing. This means we include in the training, time management, task management and idea management techniques. We never meet without checking in on how you are doing. We encourage you to pause and take a breath...or a walk, or knit or nap.. We are about co-creation and therefore your individual well-being is important to our collective effort.
Like last year, we hope to complete the bulk of the document during our In-Person Writing Retreat that is held at the Maritime Conference Center outside Baltimore MD. Tentative dates for the Writing Retreat are the evening of Thursday July 20-Sunday morning July 23. Participants are compensated as part of the HBCU STEM-US Research Grant.
If you have ever wanted to be a co-PI on an NSF funded grant and you are willing to join a community of practice that is committed to your well-being and not just what you produce, then this is the professional development activity for you....but you don't have to wait until next month. You can get started. Just write for 15 minutes minimum, 30 minutes optimum, Monday-Friday, starting today.