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Developing Integrated Science Curriculum- CSIE Program
Ellene Tratras Contis, Kathleen Stacey, Joanne Caniglia, and Claudia Petrescu
CSIE
05-25514
CSIE Description
Outcome 1: Improving Retention in STEM
Outcome 3: Improving Factors that Effect Retention and Progress
The Creative Scientific Inquiry Experience (CSIE) Program is retaining
and increasing the number of STEM graduates. Our focus is an
innovative approach that includes faculty professional development,
academic service-learning, and curricular reform. CSIE Faculty
Fellows are energizing their teaching through development of CSIE
experiences— successfully helping students make connections
between core courses, and with their faculty, peers, and community.
The CSIE Program tracks retention of students within STEM fields to monitor progress
towards graduation. The program examines STEM course-work rather than major
declarations because EMU policy does not require declaration of major until students
apply for graduation. CSIE has identified 36 core courses across STEM departments that
indicate a student is following a critical path towards graduation with a STEM degree.
The evaluation of the CSIE program for the 2007-2008 academic year assessed the
impact that the program has on faculty and students, with a focus on retention.
The evaluation analyzed pre and post surveys administered to CSIE and non-CSIE
students and follow-up focus group transcripts. The results indicate the strong positive
influence that the CSIE program has on the students it has been serving at EMU.
CSIE Goals
 Improve student success rate in STEM programs by developing
CSIEs: clusters of courses based on a common theme.
 Support student academic-career development and subject-mastery skills
by producing integrated experiential learning activities for the CSIEs.
 Offer faculty a wide range of professional development, course
released-time, and support to produce and sustain integrated content
and pedagogical shifts in course and content delivery.
Table 1: Percent CSIE Students Progressing in STEM
FA06
WI07
FA07
WI08
FA08
WI09
29
72%
66%
52%
41%
41%
21
19
15
11
11
Graduated with STEM degree
-
-
-
1
-
 Evaluate the results of CSIE on STEM students’ recruitment, retention,
academic progress, and graduation rates, and broadly disseminate
the results of this effort to other universities nationally.
New CSIE Students WI07
21
90%
76%
67%
67%
19
13
10
10
Graduated with STEM degree
-
3
1
-
New CSIE Students FA07
36
86%
75%
78%
Retained in STEM at EMU
29
23
24
Graduated with STEM degree
2
2
-
New CSIE Students WI08
47
81%
70%
Retained in STEM at EMU
35
30
Graduated with STEM Degree
3
-
New CSIE Students FA08
59
75%
 Improve Academic Progress to Graduation (long term)- number of STEM credits/
term, timely completion of pre-requisites courses, correct course sequencing within
major/minor programs, reduced course repeats due to E grades and withdrawals.
 Improve factors that effect the above including faculty relationships,
student commitment to STEM study and careers, student
connection to the community with science as means of meeting
community needs and solving community problems.
CSIE Strategies
Faculty incorporate specific teaching strategies to make the connections among
classes more transparent and accessible to first- and second-year students.
Strategies developed during CSIE Faculty Fellows Institutes include:
 Interdisciplinary, theme-based experiences,
 Research-specific skill development and team building,
 Academic service-learning (AS-L) experiences and community-based research,
 Timely academic advising, long-term academic planning, and
 Career exploration and opportunities for mentorship
with faculty and community professionals.
CSIE Clusters and Stand-Alone Seminars
CSIE clusters include two STEM courses, anchored by a one-credit seminar.
Faculty identify interdisciplinary connections and incorporate academic
service-learning experiences and research activities that will serve both
course content and the needs of a local non-profit community partner.
Convenient block scheduling is an attractive benefit of the CSIE clusters for both
students and faculty. Scheduling the lectures, labs, and seminar back-to-back
during midday allows extended discussions through the breaks and across class
periods. Students also enjoy the chance for less structured social time with both
faculty and peers and occasional "pizza days" worked into the schedule.
The cluster’s composition– whether all of the CSIE seminar students are
enrolled in both core classes, depends upon program requirements and how
closely students have followed prescribed sequencing of courses.
Stand-alone seminars fulfill a need in the academic progress of students
by allowing more flexibility and academic challenge. These seminars focus on
timely, relevant, and complex issues that require interdisciplinary solutions.
 The popular Scoop on Poop seminar explores the effects of high-intensity
factory farming on groundwater. Students work with the Washtenaw Land
Conservancy and local farmers to test well water for E. coli and other
contaminants. Students from a wide variety of academic disciplines, and grade
levels work together to apply their knowledge to real-world problems.
 Science Olympiad Coaches’ Clinic partners EMU students with
6th-12th grade teams to compete in multi-disciplinary events. The
CSIE Program also supports EMU faculty and students
who volunteer as event sponsors to judge for
the Washtenaw Regional competition.
1.107
40
1.17
Faculty Interaction Post
2.609*
67
4.35
1.02
7.67
Encouraged Persistence Pre
1.516
39
0.40
-0.13
Encouraged Persistence Post
2.942*
65
0.92
Rely on for advice Pre
1.125
60
Rely on for advice Post
2.366*
 Attribute significantly higher value and importance to faculty interaction,
Using office hours Pre
1.018
 Perceive higher levels of faculty encouragement to
persist in science and mathematics majors,
95% CI
Lower Upper
-0.67 0.73
t
df
∆M
.099
55
0.03
Confident will graduate Post 3.099**
64
0.98
0.35
1.60
0.93
EMU encouragement Pre
57
0.23
-0.36
0.82
0.30
1.55
1.50
0.43
-0.33
1.18
EMU encouragement Post
2.658** 66
0.86
0.21
* significant at the .05 level ** significant at the .001 level
66
0.81
0.13
1.49
58
0.40
-0.39
1.19
Using office hours Post
3.770** 60
1.43 0.67
* significant at the .05 level ** significant at the .001 level
2.19
Confident will graduate Pre
.776
 Indicate a greater reliance on faculty advice for choosing courses,
Retained in STEM at EMU
 Improve Retention in STEM (short term)- number of majors declared
and retained in STEM one year after CSIE experience.
Faculty Interaction Pre
CSIE students:
 Institutionalize key project components to ensure that the CSIE Program is
brought to full scale by the fifth year and sustained beyond project completion.
CSIE Measurable Outcomes
95% CI
Lower Upper
-0.96 3.30
∆M
 As of Winter 2009, 119 of 192 CSIE alums are on a critical path (62%) and
12 have graduated (6%) for a combined progress rate of 68%.
Retained in STEM at EMU
Table 3: Commitment to STEM
df
Summary of findings- Student Perspective
CSIE Students FA06
Table 2: Faculty Related Variables
mong peers, and in the community!
t
 237 students have participated or are currently participating in the CSIE program.
Table 1 below shows the detailed progression of CSIE students through successive
fall and winter terms over the last 3 academic years– from Fall 2006 to the present.
h faculty, a
Retained in STEM at EMU
44
Graduated with STEM degrees
-
New CSIE Students WI09
45
Data as of March 1, 2009
Outcome 2: Improving Academic Progress— Course Sequencing
 Report an improved learning experience by making use of faculty office hours,
 Possess significantly higher potential of persisting in
and completion of a degree in STEM,
 Possess significantly higher confidence in graduating with a
bachelors degree in science or mathematics, and
 State that their EMU experience had encouraged them to persist in science
and mathematics at a significantly higher level than do Non-CSIE students.
Tables 2 and 3 at right show survey results for the faculty related variables and the
commitment to STEM variables from the June 2008 CSIE Evaluation Report.
Summary of Findings- Faculty Perspective
 Faculty members have a higher expectation for CSIE
students than for non-CSIE students which has a positive
impact on retention and research interest.
 The program encourages curriculum innovation
and development and leads to the building of
a learning community formed by faculty,
students and the general community.
 The structure of the program creates a
strong faculty-student relationship,
with positive outcomes for
both faculty and students.
Comparative Retention in Biology and Chemistry
One-way ANOVA was used to evaluate the differences in mean retention of students
between CSIE, Honors, and General Population students. Retention examined
progress within 2 academic years through the first-3 required courses for Biology
and Chemistry programs of study. The prescribed course sequences are:
 Introductory Biology I  Introductory Biology II  Genetics
 General Chemistry I  General Chemistry II  Organic Chemistry I
For example, students enrolled in Introductory Biology I or General
Chemistry I in the FA06 term would be expected to complete Genetics
or Organic Chemistry I respectively by the end of WI08.
 CSIE students and Honors students did not differ significantly.
 Both CSIE students and Honors students had significantly higher
retention than the General Population students.
 CSIE had a significantly higher mean retention than General Population
students progressing from Intro Biology I to Intro Biology II.
(CSIE mean retention 0.56 compared with 0.34 in General
Population. n= 525, ∆M = .220, 95% CI = .05 to .39)
 CSIE had a significantly higher mean retention than General
Population progressing from General Chemistry I through
to Organic Chemistry. (CSIE mean retention 0.32
compared with 0.11 in General Population.
n=702, ∆M = .201, 95% CI = .05 to .35)
Photography Credits:
Randall J. Mascharka, Steve Pernecky,
Steve Francoeur, Marianne LaPorte,
Cara Shillington, Marty Brown,
and Anne Seaman.
CSIE Information Available Online
Project reports, course descriptions, and
schedules are available online.
For 2009,
the CSIE project
team is focusing on
sustainability concerns,
normalizing courses,
recruiting new faculty,
and increasing
enrollment.
Go to www.emich.edu/csie
or contact us via email at
[email protected]
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