Factors Influencing Change Initiatives to Improve K–20 STEM Education at California State University, Dominguez Hills: Final Case Study of SCALE Activities

WCER Working Paper No. 2010-6

Matthew T. Hora

April 2010, 66 pp.

ABSTRACT: The System-Wide Change for All Learners and Educators (SCALE) project—funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation Mathematics and Science Partnership program—sought to effect change in its partner institutions of higher education by creating a “transformative culture” through the development of “cross-cultural teams” that worked at the intersecting nodes among K–12 districts, colleges of education, and colleges of mathematics, science, and engineering. This paper presents findings on the effects of the SCALE project, along with the Department of Education–funded Quality Educator Development (QED) project, at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) between May 2004 and May 2007. SCALE/QED achievements included changes in the CSUDH science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum and course structure; applications for state-approved subject matter programs for preservice science teachers; professional development workshops for STEM faculty; creation of five science immersion units for Grades 4–8; and increased collaboration between CSUDH STEM and education faculty and teachers and science experts in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Based on interviews with faculty and administrators and documentation data, the paper identifies aspects of the institutional context that supported and inhibited achievement of SCALE/QED goals and makes recommendations for further changes to help ensure the long-term sustainability of SCALE/QED initiatives.

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keywords: Institutional Change; STEM Education; Organizational Culture; Faculty; Higher Education