September 29, 2021

Yvonne Cartwright
Whatcom Community College
(360) 383-3312

Whatcom Community College receives National Science Foundation Grant in collaboration with Western Washington University

Whatcom Community College (WCC) is one of three institutions receiving a total of $3 million from the National Science Foundation to fund collaborative research for embedding the use of inclusive, research-based instructional strategies within undergraduate STEM courses and departments.

“WCC STEM faculty have been implementing research-based instructional strategies for years, primarily in the form of student-centered activities that provide multiple ways for students to discover and demonstrate their learning. These strategies are proven to improve learning in STEM courses, particularly for first-generation college students or students from traditionally underrepresented groups”, noted Ed Harri, VP of Instruction at the college.

Titled “ Collaborative Research - Building Educational Theory Through Enacting Reforms (BETTER) in STEM”, the project centers around creating and testing an instructional framework that STEM faculty and departments can use to define and adopt inclusive, student-centered STEM teaching and learning. To increase the applicability of the research findings, this study will be conducted at WWU, WCC, and the University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley, a large, predominantly Hispanic-serving institution.

Project leaders at WCC are Tran Phung, Ph.D, Pat Burnett, and Leslie Glen, Ph.D, with Xyan Neider, Ph.D serving as the Equity and Inclusivity advisor. This study has the potential to significantly impact how STEM departments at two- and four-year institutions across the country encourage and support faculty members’ use of inclusive, research-based instructional strategies in their courses. 

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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