Full List of Current and Past STEM Initiatives
UCLA is the largest campus in the University of California system, enrolling over 30,000 undergraduates. UCLA has a long history of developing innovative educational programs that support its large and diverse student body with faculty in the College of Letters and Science, the School of Engineering, the School of Medicine, and the Graduate School of Education collaborating in these efforts. Current programs include those that strengthen undergraduate science education at UCLA by broadening access to research opportunities as well as better preparing undergraduates, especially those from underrepresented groups, for college success. Programs also promote workforce training and preparing future faculty for successful careers in STEM:
Evidence-Based Instructional Design
UCLA is among 12 universities nationally to be awarded a grant from the Association of American Universities (AAU) to fund workshops on campus over the next year, bringing together stakeholders and program leadership to share and discuss all co-curricular programs and curricular interventions that support and retain undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The first workshop was held on June 2, 2017. It focused on advising, tutoring, career and professional development, research and mentoring activities and other co-curricular student support programs. A second workshop, to be held on May 2, 2018, will examine changes in how courses are taught, how student outcomes are assessed, and how grades are assigned, as well as explore ways to change the culture in and outside the classroom to better support students in their educational goals. A third workshop, held in fall 2018, brought all relevant stakeholders together to discuss best practices and identify opportunities for collaboration.
Transforming Teaching in Life Sciences Core Education: The introductory biology courses are undergoing major changes in pedagogy and curricular content to flip the series and embrace active learning pedagogy. All new courses in the LS7ABC series are taught in a highly-structured, flipped (HSF) format, which has been shown to decrease achievement gaps among students.
Quantitative Biology Initiative : The first-year mathematics and statistics series for UCLA Life Science majors (LS30A/B and LS40) is being transformed into a curriculum that incorporates biological examples and computational exercises using student-centered teaching methods.
Diversifying Career Pathways for Life Science Students : A professional development curriculum has been created for undergraduate students with diverse career interests in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The new course, LS110, engages UCLA alumni and faculty in a career development process designed to raise awareness of and create pathways to emerging and exciting STEM careers.
Students, please visit our course information page: ceils.ucla.edu/ls110
Undergraduate Learning Assistant (LA) Program: This interdepartmental program is an evidence-based, multidisciplinary instructional strategy that benefits science majors and faculty teaching large introductory science and math courses. Undergraduate students who serve as LAs help facilitate active learning and collaborative instruction in class and outside of lecture during office hours and discussion/lab sections. LAs complete a 4-unit teaching practicum (course 192) in which they are trained by expert facilitators to implement these student-centered pedagogies and create a more inclusive, interactive learning environment.
The Big Data To Knowledge (BD2K) Concept Network: Online Active Learning Tools: Creating open educational resources that include online teaching materials, services, and training for instructors and students in bioinformatics and computer science. Development of the Open-Response Concept Test (ORCT) module for UCLA’s course management system, CCLE, is underway so that this technology can be used by UCLA instructors campus-wide.
Video Production in Introductory Life Science Curriculum: UCLA students enroll in a series of 3 seminar-style classes where they learn to produce short documentary videos on topics of societal interest in evolutionary biology. Students are chosen from among those identified as underrepresented in STEM disciplines and who have experienced life challenges.
Competency-based Research Laboratory Curriculum (CRLC) : This interdepartmental laboratory program provides all undergraduate majors in two Life Sciences departments meaningful exposure to authentic, inquiry-based research. Goals include fostering student excitement about the discovery process central to scientific research, actively engaging students in the creative process of scientific inquiry and the collaborative nature of research, developing skills necessary for students to analyze data and make evidence-based conclusions, and mirroring how results are communicated in a modern research laboratory.
STEM Collaborative Learning Center Pilot : The main mission is to provide a central space to foster collaborative learning among STEM majors, while introducing students to library facilities and research resources.
Biomedical Research Minor: This interdepartmental program incorporates a structured curriculum to introduce students to independent laboratory research early in their college careers, provides didactic instruction to complement the research, and oversees student progress to ensure that the research experience is productive and meaningful.
Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Program (HHURP): In this rigorous scientific training program, undergraduate participants work in faculty research laboratories in UCLA’s College of Letters and Science and the School of Medicine. Student researchers (“scholars”) are required to participate in two seminar courses, each with unique yet substantial requirements that are tailored to the learning goals of the program.
Transitions to College
Program for Excellence in Education Research in the Sciences (PEERS): PEERS is a two-year program that serves newly admitted STEM majors during their freshman and sophomore years. PEERS is designed to facilitate the transition to UCLA, prepare students to excel as science majors, and promote undergraduate research. A major goal of PEERS is to increase retention of underrepresented and under-served student populations.
Towards Improving Persistence in STEM: CEILS has coordinated an assessment project funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF); this project encompasses evaluating the roles that research mentoring and math preparation play in the effectiveness of PEERS. This information has been compiled into an online handbook made available to academic institutions wishing to replicate this highly successful PEERS program.
Outreach to K12
Science and Mathematics Achievement and Research Training for Students (SMARTS): This outreach program recruits and develops students from low-performing urban schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) who have high potential for rigorous STEM subjects to increase the number of SMARTS students who can compete for admission in STEM programs at top-tier University of California campuses.
Pre-K Teacher Training
One Degree, Many Careers: Opening Doors for STEM Majors: This scholarship program is providing financial, academic, and peer support of high-need STEM majors who, because they desire both to be trained as a professional scientist or mathematician and seek a career in teaching, are traditionally marginalized by the culture of the research university.
Opening the Teacher Pipeline: The UCLA California Teach program has developed five service-learning courses consisting of an academic seminar supported by a science- or math-focused field internship. Opening the Teacher Pipeline has created a Science Education minor within the College of Letters and Science. A Math for Teaching minor is under development.
SUMMER INTERN PROGRAM: Tipping the Balance provides a one-week, paid summer internship for STEM students interested into teaching. The synergistic confluence of a late September start for the UCLA quarter system and the social-justice focus of the UCLA Teacher Education Program provides ideal Noyce-type environments for internships for our STEM students who are considering teaching careers.
JOINT B.S.-CREDENTIAL-M.ED.: UCLA offers students the opportunity to earn their credential concurrently while completing their baccalaureate degrees. Noyce scholarships allow these talented STEM majors the time and resources to compress a rigorous B.S. degree with a year of graduate work including student teaching in a high-need school. Teachers earning their credentials at UCLA stay in teaching longer than average.