Social Networks in Undergraduate STEM

Exploring the Role of Instructors’ Social Networks in Undergraduate STEM Instructional Improvement

Principle Investigators:
Chris Rasmussen, Charles Henderson, Alexis Knaub, Kathleen Quardokus-Fisher. Funded by the National Science Foundation. Funding period: September 2015 – March 2017

This project will convene a series of workshops to accelerate knowledge development about the use of Social Network Analysis (SNA) in studying department-level change by bringing STEM education researchers who have been early users of these methods together with established SNA experts. Our goals are to: 1) develop a theoretical and practical foundation for SNA research related to department-level instructional change, 2) identify key metrics and measurement techniques, 3) develop a coherent research program among early users of SNA methods in undergraduate STEM education research and 4) pool several data sets to begin articulation of normal values for key metrics. We will explore the extent to which the tools of SNA can be productively used to determine the current state of academic departments, target participants for involvement in change initiatives, and inform higher education reform efforts to support quality teaching.