For Immediate Release

Dawn Michele Whitehead
Interim Senior Director for Communications

AAC&U Announces New Interdisciplinary Approach to STEM Higher Education Reform

$4.8M from NSF will support new approach to retaining talented low-income students in STEM
Dec 6, 2017

Washington, DC—The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today that it has received $4.8 million from the National Science Foundation to implement a new interdisciplinary approach to STEM higher education reform. AAC&U’s Project Kaleidoscope will lead a five-year-long professional development experience for disciplinary STEM faculty and STEM education researchers to develop and more precisely pinpoint metrics for accurately and easily documenting quality undergraduate STEM teaching that broadens the participation of talented low-income students.

Despite quality teaching being identified as one of the strongest and most consistent predictors of student interest and retention in STEM, modern STEM teaching strategies continue to vary significantly. Moreover, current professional development efforts aimed at providing STEM faculty with the capacity to integrate STEM education research and evaluation methods into their successful teaching strategies often lack the theoretical, iterative, and long-term approaches needed to yield dramatic and sustained changes.

“This work represents a unique opportunity for aligning education research and evaluation with proven undergraduate STEM teaching practices that contribute to diversifying the STEM disciplines,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “AAC&U is grateful to the National Science Foundation for supporting our work focused on broadening the participation of low-income students in STEM.”

This initiative will substantially accelerate STEM higher education reform through a uniquely-designed professional development model that represents an interwoven cycle of highly integrated face-to-face and virtual interactions. Through the creation of knowledge studios, regional clinics, and a robust online platform, a national community of scholars and practitioners will be supported in establishing and maintaining a shared interest in, knowledge of, appreciation for, and proficiency in broadening the participation of talented low-income STEM students.

Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) is AAC&U’s STEM higher education reform center dedicated to empowering STEM faculty to graduate more students in STEM fields who are competitively trained and liberally educated.

For more information about Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), visit