Calculus is considered to be a foundational learning block for many STEM fields. Students are often required to enroll in this course series in their first year as they pursue life sciences, physical sciences, computational sciences, and engineering degrees. However, the college calculus sequence often poses considerable barriers for prospective STEM students. Retention and degree completion gaps are especially prevalent for Black/African Americans, Latinx, Native American, and Pacific Islander groups and women, despite showing high levels of interest in STEM.
To help close equity gaps, Learning Lab invited faculty teams from California’s public higher education institutions to reconceptualize the role of and approach to calculus in a student’s first year introductory STEM experience. Learning Lab awarded five grants of approximately $1.2 million to $1.4 million over three years to support new, innovative ways to teach calculus, or reimagine the role of calculus in STEM majors where calculus is a prerequisite.
Awardees will form the Grand Challenge Cohort through which they will share ideas, approaches, findings, data, and outcomes over the three-year grant period. Grounded in their experiences, awardees will collaboratively produce, by the end of the grant period, recommendations for model first-year STEM curricula with effective pedagogical approaches and faculty professional development components built in. A coordinating institution or project team was selected to receive $500,000 over three years to foster collaboration among grantees and serve as the Cohort Facilitator.
THE APPLICATION PERIOD FOR THIS GRANT OPPORTUNITY HAS EXPIRED. Below for reference, you can view the details of the Grand Challenge RFP. If you are interested in applying for future Learning Lab grants or participating in future Learning Lab events, please join our Listserv to receive announcements.
On May 27, 2021, the California Education Learning Lab (Learning Lab) announced that it is awarding four Grand Challenge proposals and one Cohort Facilitator proposal, in response to Learning Lab’s Grand Challenge: Overcoming the Calculus Barrier to STEM Success, which aims to boost STEM retention and completion in California, particularly for historically minoritized students.
Scroll to the bottom to view the funded proposals.
The awards were based on recommendations from Learning Lab’s 2021 Selection Committee in a two-stage review process. The Selection Committee’s recommendations were approved by the Director of the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Kate Gordon.
The Grand Challenge grant opportunity attracted interest from 56 California public higher education institutions from across the state. More than 35 unique institutions from the California Community Colleges, California State University, and University of California systems were part of 20 project teams that applied for the Grand Challenge and Cohort Facilitator grant opportunities. Fourteen distinct institutions of public higher education, including five CCCs, five CSUs, and four UCs, and two systemwide offices were included in the final awarded projects.
|BioCalculus Preparation, Engagment, & Application Program
|CSU Fresno & CSU Fullerton
|Equitable Calculus for Life Sciences
|LA Valley College, LA Mission College
|A New Mathematics Gateway
|Saddleback College & Yuba College
|“Why, What and How” Calculus
|UC Office of the President
|CSU Monterey Bay & UC Santa Cruz
To apply for a Learning Lab Grand Challenge Grant, projects must:
Additionally, a PI or co-PI must participate in at least one meeting sponsored by Learning Lab on racial and gender equity. Learning Lab will host a web-based conversation series on race and gender equity between mid-December 2020 and mid-February 2021. Learning Lab will send out notifications and post information on our website about the schedule. Attendance at one of these meetings will be required by the project’s PI or one of the co-PIs.
Learning Lab’s 2021 Grand Challenge Selection Committee collectively represented the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges, and a national higher education organization committed to excellence in undergraduate education. The Selection Committee was purposefully assembled due to the range of their disciplinary and professional expertise aligned with the theme of the grant proposal, as well as their demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, & inclusion in STEM. To read more about their academic and professional profiles, click the link below to view their bios.
The Learning Lab Grand Challenge grant application process consisted of three parts:
All applicants were required to submit a Statement of Intent as well as a Self-Assessment and Concept Proposal. Learning Lab’s Selection Committee then invited a select group of applicants to submit Full Proposals.
Additionally, a principal investigator (PI) or co-principal investigator (co-PI) was required to participate in at least one meeting sponsored by Learning Lab on racial and gender equity. Learning Lab hosted a web-based conversation series on race and gender equity between mid-December 2020 and mid-February 2021.
Click the links below to view the Grand Challenge Request for Proposals and the RFP Rubric.
One institution or project team was selected to receive $500,000 over three years to foster collaboration among the Grand Challenge Cohort. The Cohort Facilitator application process consisted of three parts:
All applicants were required to submit a Statement of Intent as well as a Cohort Facilitator Application. Learning Lab’s Selection Committee then invited a select group of finalists to fill out an additional questionnaire. The Cohort Facilitator was selected in tandem with the Grand Challenge Cohort projects.
Click the buttons below to view the Cohort Facilitator Follow-up Questionnaire and the Questionnaire Rubric.