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University of Michigan STEM Education Initiatives

FCI participation model

Foundational Course Initiative (FCI)

With an investment of $5 million over 5 years from the President’s Academic Excellence Fund, the University of Michigan’s Foundational Course Initiative (FCI) aims to create a 21st-century model of teaching at scale. Housed at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT), FCI focuses on large enrollment courses that introduce students to a major or discipline. FCI is committed to ensuring the success of students with a wide range of backgrounds and goals in these large enrollment courses. FCI consultants provide the time, resources, and infrastructure to make course transformation feasible and successful.

FCI courses participate in a three-year, collaborative course design (CCD) process. Departments sign MOUs with FCI to establish a partnership between a multi-generational departmental instructional team and educational professionals from CRLT in four areas: assessment and analytics, instructional design and pedagogy, instructional technology, and student support and classroom climate. The goals of course transformation are specific to each course in the initiative, driven by the vision of the departmental team and informed by relevant institutional data and research from evidence-based, inclusive teaching practices. While the specifics of course transformation vary by course, an overarching goal of FCI is to examine strategies to address issues of (in)equity, and to develop strategies and structures that enable students from all backgrounds, and especially students from historically marginalized groups, to succeed.

As of September, 2019, FCI is working with 11 courses across 5 U-M schools and colleges with a total enrollment of over 8,000 students. 

For more information, please contact:

Denise Galarza Sepúlveda
Director of the Foundational Course Initiative
Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT)
Email: [email protected]

Matt Kaplan
Executive Director
Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT)
Email: [email protected]

SEISMIC summer 2019 meeting

Sloan Equity and Inclusion in STEM Introductory Courses (SEISMIC)

The Sloan Equity and Inclusion in STEM Introductory Courses (SEISMIC) project is a national collaboration made up of 10 large research universities dedicated to equity and inclusion in STEM education. Participants come from a wide range of disciplines, from STEM fields to teaching and learning centers to institutional research teams. These participants connect across the collaboration through parallel data analyses and data sharing, coordinated experiments, a continuous exchange of speakers and graduate student researchers, and extended annual meetings. Parallel analyses and data sharing focus on studies of equity and inclusion and STEM persistence across all institutions. Coordinated experimentation is explored across multiple campuses and in multiple disciplines. The continuous exchange of speakers and annual meetings accelerate research, build community, enhance the spread of ideas, and reinforce our focus on equity and inclusion as a central metric for STEM reform success.

SEISMIC takes advantage of a Working Group structure to accomplish its goals. Each Working Group represents a theme of work, such as measurements with institutional data or experiments in classrooms, and oversees a handful of specific projects. Participants join Working Groups and project teams to accomplish work together they cannot do alone. For example, one project seeks to implement brief, in-class interventions to support students’ sense of belonging. Through SEISMIC, this project can be executed on a large scale and allows for comparisons to be made on what environments and structures at the different institutions make this intervention more or less successful.

SEISMIC is managed at the University of Michigan for the Participating Institutions, which include Arizona State University, Indiana University, Michigan State University, Purdue University, University of California Davis, University of California Irvine, University of California Santa Barbara, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, and University of Pittsburgh.

For more information, please contact:

Timothy McKay
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Professor of Physics, Astronomy, and Education
Principal Investigator of the ECoach, and SEISMIC projects
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Email: [email protected]

Nita Kedharnath
Project Manager, SEISMIC
Email: [email protected]