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Open Access Publications from the University of California

This is a section of Leaders in Effective and Inclusive STEM: Twenty Years of the Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators edited by Scott Seagroves, Austin Barnes, Anne J. Metevier, Jason Porter, & Lisa Hunter. See the introduction for a more complete discussion and outline.

Articles on impacts and future directions:

At the meeting "Advancing Inclusive Leaders in STEM: 20 Years of the PDP," panels reflected on the impact of the ISEE PDP from different perspectives, and looked ahead to future ways in which this work might continue. This section features contributions from the meeting's panels, and our recommendations for the future.

Our recommendations

The last article in this section on impacts and future directions — and in the entire collection — is the PDP team’s review of the impacts and lessons learned from 20 years of the program. We describe what we feel are the essential features of the PDP, its impacts, and our recommendations for those who want to adapt or expand this work.

Cover page of Impact of PDP on Training for Astronomical Instrumentation

Impact of PDP on Training for Astronomical Instrumentation


The Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators (ISEE) Professional Development Program (PDP) has led to the generation of several activities geared toward training in astronomical instrumentation. These include activities developed for the Center for Adaptive Optics summer school and the AstroTech Instrumentation Summer School. The goal of these activities has been to provide the participants with hands-on experience to convey challenging concepts in instrumentation. The inclusion of practices from PDP led to activities that prioritized inquiry-based approaches over the more traditional formulaic lab-based training and activities. Our panel will review the design of these activities and discuss approaches that increase the likelihood of achieving the learning goals. We will also discuss ways in which these activities can help encourage students with little previous experience in instrumentation to consider additional studies in instrumentation. Finally, we will reflect on the importance of facilitators for these activities and the role PDP plays in training facilitators.

Cover page of Integration of Authentic STEM Practices in Real-World Education and Research Environments: Lessons from the PDP

Integration of Authentic STEM Practices in Real-World Education and Research Environments: Lessons from the PDP


A significant focus of the ISEE Professional Development Program (PDP) is identifying authentic STEM practices, so that educators and scientists can develop and assess these practices as intentionally as they would scientific content knowledge. In addition to the classic inquiry-based learning activities, PDP alumni also find themselves using and teaching these STEM practices in other contexts. Many PDP participants have benefited from recognizing "STEM practices" as its own category of specific skills and knowledge, allowing them to build these practices into their work intentionally, rather than simply expecting these skills to develop naturally as a by-product of learning STEM content. We present four instances where PDP lessons have been put to work by alumni of the program in this manner, either in teaching and mentoring students, performing real-world scientific research, or both. First, we consider two instances of alumni using their PDP training to inform the way they build authentic STEM practices into college classrooms and college mentorship, at the College of St. Scholastica and at UC Santa Cruz. Next, we describe a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) in which students learn and employ authentic STEM research practices at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Finally, we present an example of an alumna who has used her identification of widely-applicable STEM practices to broaden her own research horizons at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Cover page of The Value of Teaching Leadership Skills to STEM Graduate Students and Postdocs

The Value of Teaching Leadership Skills to STEM Graduate Students and Postdocs


To create and achieve awesome things in the world together, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals need to be able to lead effectively. Leadership can be thought of as “a process of social influence through which an individual enlists and mobilizes the aid of others in the attainment of a collective goal” (Chemers, 2001). In the Institute for Scientist & Engineers Educators’ Professional Development Program (PDP), STEM graduate students and postdocs learned, practiced, and reflected on leadership skills and strategies explicitly. Design Team Leaders (DTLs) practiced leading their teams, all participants facilitated inquiry (led their students in learning), and some (in later years) learned through the inclusive leadership PDP strand. In this panel paper, we reflect on what we learned from these experiences and discuss how we apply PDP leadership training daily in our work beyond the PDP. We review key principles about inclusive leadership, such as building an image as a credible leader; how to lead meetings; and how to build feelings of motivation, belonging, trust, and shared ownership among team members. We also share case studies of our experiences applying PDP leadership training in roles as co-director for an African summer school, facilitator for a physics equity project, middle/high school math and science teacher, mentor for new teachers, teaching professor and online curriculum designer, and project manager for a non-profit. Last, we offer recommendations for stakeholders who want to support STEM graduate students’ and postdocs’ development as inclusive leaders.

Cover page of Applying Principles of the PDP Towards Mentoring

Applying Principles of the PDP Towards Mentoring


In this paper, we explore how core principles of the mentoring training offered by the Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators (ISEE) Professional Development Program (PDP) have been adopted by PDP alumni and applied in different contexts. The core themes of the mentoring work conducted by ISEE, which are Inquiry, Equity & Inclusion, and Assessment, form an extensible basis for PDP participants to use as they develop their own mentoring programs. The panel/paper is structured to briefly identify core components of mentoring in the PDP model and then discuss how former PDP participants have applied these in a variety of other venues. With the goal of broadening access & persistence in STEM, the PDP emphasized: the role of ownership and agency, the practice of explanations, the creation of opportunities for recognition, providing formative assessment, and a recognition of and introduction to STEM culture. The PDP has had a unique way of “staying with” participants and provided a framework for mentoring in other modalities including: peer-to-peer, informal, and in the development of new formal programs. These offshoots include key PDP ideas such as: providing support for belonging in STEM, placing value on teaching, promoting adaptability and cultural relevance, and a “training the trainers” modality of mentorship. The panelists will provide examples from programs for undergraduate students, graduate students, teaching professionals, and faculty. The session also provided opportunities for attendees to share their experiences and take-away lessons from the PDP model of mentoring and some of the panel feedback is included in this paper. The ISEE community has a shared vocabulary, toolset, and ethos that continues to inform alumni mentoring since the inception of the PDP.

Cover page of Value of the Array of Returner Roles within the Professional Development Program

Value of the Array of Returner Roles within the Professional Development Program


In addition to educating participants about inquiry instruction, equity and inclusion in STEM, and assessment, the Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators’ (ISEE’s) Professional Development Program (PDP) is intentionally designed to provide opportunities for participants to return in subsequent years to observe (shadow), practice, and train in a variety of roles (e.g., design team leader, discussion group leader, apprentice facilitator, apprentice instructor). Returning participants not only receive instruction to guide them in these roles, but also receive feedback from core team designers and experienced facilitators and instructors while conducting and after performing these roles. Panelists will discuss one or more roles they engaged in as a PDP participant and how these experiences shaped their approaches to learning, teaching, and working with others as part of their professional careers. Topics to be covered will include leadership, facilitating dialogues and group discussions, the process of active listening, and the intentional design of ideas around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Cover page of Applying PDP Lessons Learned About Inclusive Teaching and Assessment

Applying PDP Lessons Learned About Inclusive Teaching and Assessment


Much of the ISEE Professional Development Program (PDP)’s long-term value arises from participants transferring teaching approaches they develop in the course of designing and facilitating a PDP inquiry activity to other contexts throughout their careers. PDP participants encounter frameworks such as the inquiry framework and the equity and inclusion focus areas, and are encouraged explicitly to become informed consumers of further scholarship on teaching and learning. Many participants resonate especially with the PDP’s emphasis on equity and inclusion in STEM teaching, and meld lessons from the PDP with their lived experiences as well as other scholarship on equity-minded or culturally responsive educational practices. Our panel shares four perspectives on extending lessons from the PDP to new contexts: mentoring students and developing interactive lessons in molecular biology, designing astronomy activities from a culturally relevant and culturally responsive standpoint, incorporating inquiry activities into a large astronomy lecture course, and helping academic programs across a university adopt equity-minded practices for assessing learning outcomes.

Cover page of Applying the PDP to Government and Industry Career Pathways

Applying the PDP to Government and Industry Career Pathways


Transitioning from graduate student roles in academia to professional careers in industry and government affords ISEE’s Professional Development Program (PDP) alumni the opportunity to apply lessons and techniques learned at the PDP to new environments with new goals. In mission-focused government roles, PDP alumni apply their expertise in inquiry-style teaching to mentor junior staff and develop projects that meet governmental requirements, while preserving STEM learner identities. Alumni find that the principles of inquiry-style teaching have applicability across professional development spectrums — from mentoring high school interns through training postdoctoral researchers and managing teams of diverse career stages. In industry, where fast-paced corporate goals drive innovation, alumni have found that PDP principles in developing explicit content and practice learning outcomes have helped them develop unique roles within their companies. Additionally, across both industry and government roles, all PDP alumni on this panel report that PDP’s focus on leadership development, effective meeting strategies, and inclusive management practices have readied them for their post-academia careers.

Cover page of The Unseen Impact of Inclusive Professional Development and Pedagogic Training on Underestimated Minority Graduate Students

The Unseen Impact of Inclusive Professional Development and Pedagogic Training on Underestimated Minority Graduate Students


Ostensibly, the main goal of the ISEE Professional Development Program (PDP) is to teach scientists and engineers how to be intentional, inclusive educators by experiencing and designing inquiry-based learning activities. However, the PDP program has many indirect, positive effects on its participants as well, including building community and a sense of STEM identity, fluency to understand and discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion topics, and recognizing the importance of psychological safety in learning, academia, and industry. We present four narratives from past participants with underestimated minority identities, who discuss how the PDP program had a positive impact on their growth as scientists and engineers. In each case, the PDP provided critical tools, knowledge or support that enabled their success as graduate students and into their respective career and life journeys.

Cover page of Pedagogical Training for Graduate Students: Applications in Academia and Beyond

Pedagogical Training for Graduate Students: Applications in Academia and Beyond


The ISEE PDP program offers vital support to graduate students that is often missing in the U.S. doctoral training tradition. This panel will explore some of the advantages and uses of the ISEE methodology in a variety of educational and also professional settings. First, we explore the relationships between learner identities and outcomes, including the benefits of “facilitation for equity” in the classroom, to facilitate research discussions, and beyond. Second, the paper delves into “backward design” as a method for establishing learning outcomes, curricular plans, and translating theory into practice. Finally, we discuss how ISEE concepts can help all learners of all ages and backgrounds to navigate their career goals and vision, including teaching educators and researchers how to use goal-oriented curricular development. While each vignette approaches the subject from different angles and professions, the structured planning and theory behind curricular design holds true across a variety of settings.

Cover page of From Akamai Intern to PDP Instructor: The Coupled Impact on Becoming a STEM Professional

From Akamai Intern to PDP Instructor: The Coupled Impact on Becoming a STEM Professional


The Akamai Internship in Hawai‘i and the Professional Development Program (PDP) address key issues of sustaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive STEM workforce in industry and academia. Established in 2002, the Akamai program builds capacity to overcome the brain-drain workforce problem that Hawaiʻi faces by connecting local undergraduate students with internship opportunities in the STEM industries on the islands of Maui and Hawaiʻi. The PDP provides opportunities for graduate students, early-career scientists and industry leaders to learn effective andragogical practices for teaching science and engineering to the next generation at the undergraduate level. A unique, grounding aspect of the Akamai program across all cohorts is a week-long course preparing interns to work with their local industry partners and build an inclusive community. The course is co-led by Akamai program staff and PDP alumni in collaboration with PDP design teams who run complementary inquiry learning activities. Since the first cohort of 2003, 451 interns and around 100 design team members have participated in Akamai. Of the 451 interns who participated in the Akamai program, at least 8 participants have become PDP design team members. The purpose of this panel discussion is to feature four of those alumni that participated in both Akamai and PDP programs. The panelists will share the factors that influenced them to become a PDP instructor as well as highlight the impacts that both programs had in shaping their respective life and career pathways.