1. Justin Fair
  2. Associate Professor
  3. Better Preparing STEM Undergraduates for Employment: An Interdisciplinary, Problem-based Approach for Teaching and Assessing Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills
  4. Indiana University of PA
  1. Kenneth Bohl
  2. Assistant Professor
  3. Better Preparing STEM Undergraduates for Employment: An Interdisciplinary, Problem-based Approach for Teaching and Assessing Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills
  4. Indiana University of PA
  1. Rachel DeSoto Jackson
  2. Assistant Professor
  3. Better Preparing STEM Undergraduates for Employment: An Interdisciplinary, Problem-based Approach for Teaching and Assessing Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills
  4. Indiana University of PA
  1. William Farrell
  2. Associate Professor
  3. Better Preparing STEM Undergraduates for Employment: An Interdisciplinary, Problem-based Approach for Teaching and Assessing Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills
  4. Indiana University of PA
  1. Melanie Hildebrandt
  2. Associate Professor
  3. Better Preparing STEM Undergraduates for Employment: An Interdisciplinary, Problem-based Approach for Teaching and Assessing Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills
  4. Indiana University of PA
  1. Anne Kondo
  2. Chair, Professor
  3. Better Preparing STEM Undergraduates for Employment: An Interdisciplinary, Problem-based Approach for Teaching and Assessing Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills
  4. Indiana University of PA
  1. Robert Major
  2. Associate Professor
  3. Better Preparing STEM Undergraduates for Employment: An Interdisciplinary, Problem-based Approach for Teaching and Assessing Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills
  4. Indiana University of PA
  1. Gail Wilson
  2. Professor
  3. Better Preparing STEM Undergraduates for Employment: An Interdisciplinary, Problem-based Approach for Teaching and Assessing Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills
  4. Indiana University of PA
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Justin Fair

    Justin Fair

    Lead Presenter
    May 12, 2019 | 08:25 p.m.

    Welcome and thank you for checking out our project! 

    American employers are struggling to find STEM workers with technical skills and abilities AND with well-developed interpersonal and teamwork skills. In fact, 90% of employers report that interprofessional skills, concerning interpersonal, teamwork, and communication skills are equally or more important than their foundational coursework. To address this gap in the STEM workforce, our project provides university-wide comprehensive training, practice and evaluation of lifelong interprofessional skills necessary for effective teamwork and leadership.

    The result of our project crafted a teamwork and leadership minor that is rooted in: 1) redefining what true teamwork is and how it is different from group work; 2) utilizing general education courses and in-major coursework to provide training over a student’s 4-year education while not increasing credit bloat; and 3) incorporating interdisciplinary projects into required, in-major coursework that simulates team settings that mirror the 21st STEM workforce.

    Our research team would be interested in your feedback, especially in regard to the following: 

    • What institutional barriers limit the incorporation of teamwork and leadership training for your STEM majors?
    • How does your institution scaffold realistic teamwork and leadership opportunities over a 4-year education?
    • How do you differentiate teamwork and leadership opportunities from group work?
    • Are you interested in collaborating? We would love to work with institutions who are interested in learning more about our approach and interested in transforming it to work at other 4-year colleges and universities.
  • May 13, 2019 | 08:17 a.m.

    Great presentation! I am intrigued by your definitions of team work versus group work. Could you give an example of a T course and how it is designed to have students with different knowledge and skills working together? - Rebecca robert

  • Icon for: Anne Kondo

    Anne Kondo

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 09:08 a.m.

    Dear Rebecca,

           Thanks for your comments! One of our first attempts at a T-course involved students in an Organic Chemistry lab and a Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) lab.  The students in CMB explored the effects of alcohol on the ability of planaria to regenerate. They "commissioned" alcohols from the OCHEM students, who then synthesized, purified and gave the alcohols to the CMB students. The CMB students then placed slices of planaria in the alcohols and observed the impact on regrowth.  The students met several times outside of lab to teach each other what they were learning/doing. The full team had to make a unified poster presentation at the end of the project.  Other examples we have used: Food and Nutrition students (diagnosing and providing nutritional information) with Theater students (role playing simulated patients); and Pharmacology (drug treatments of cockroaches) and Psychology (observation of behavioral changes in cockroaches); Geography and Analytical Chemistry students have worked in teams to collect and assess local water samples, with GEOG students identifying sites of potential concern, and the CHEM students analyzing the water samples; joint reports are generated. More information about IUP's Teamwork minor can be found here: https://www.iup.edu/team-leadership/undergrad/teamwork-communication-minor/

    Cheers,

    Anne 

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Jonathan Lewis
    Rebecca Roberts
  • May 13, 2019 | 09:21 a.m.

    Anne -  that is great. I am trying to do something similar between two courses and have found some challenges around students abilities to get together outside of class and exchange the information. You have so many cross course collaborations going on it is truly astounding! Have you also started to look at how the students are learning from each other in this model?

  • Icon for: Anne Kondo

    Anne Kondo

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 10:02 a.m.

    Dear Rebecca,

       Because the Teamwork and Communication minor was funded by NSF (IUSE 1625429), course instructors assess student learning of teamwork skills in the T-courses. We will have an umbrella assessment at the end of the minor.  We have learned (the hard way) that asking students to identify skills is insufficient - the answers are pretty intuitive - but it's the PRACTICE of the skills that is harder, and that's what we try to capture in our assessments. Reflection papers show that students are getting it - working with others who have different knowledge/skills/priorities takes a different set of skills than group work.

    Cheers,

    Anne

  • Icon for: Holly Wiegreffe

    Holly Wiegreffe

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2019 | 04:33 a.m.

    Have you all incorporated service learning into your team work?  

    It seems to me that working in a team with others in the greater community might bring in a level of diversity that might be hard to achieve inside of the institution.  One example I can think of is generational diversity.  Generation Z working with Baby Boomers might be different than Generation Z working with Millennials.

    Your work is interesting and I hope to hear more about it.  Thanks, Holly 

  • Icon for: Anne Kondo

    Anne Kondo

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 07:50 a.m.

    Dear Holly,

        Thanks - that's a great idea.  Certainly the courses involved in water assessment are performing a public service, but I'm not sure it's cast that way, and probably should/could be.  The Teamwork minor has spread university-wide, beyond the sciences; there are some courses that likely incorporate service leaning anyway may develop teamwork courses around those projects.  Incorporating it explicitly in a science course is a great idea, and another way to achieve diversity.  I will forward your suggestion and Jay Labov's link (below) to our team members!

    Cheers,

    Anne

  • Icon for: Jay Labov

    Jay Labov

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 10:26 p.m.

    Thank you for preparing and submitting this video. I am impressed by the thought, planning, and perspective that has gone into this initiative, two of which are based on comments that others have posted:

    1. I applaud you for thinking about this problem and its solutions holistically and from a systems perspective. The minor that you've designed couple with the teamwork and related experiences that can accrue from the general education program to enhance the skills and related types of learning for STEM majors is really wonderful. Your emphasis on the need to allow students to acquire these skills without overly burdening them with additional requirements and doing so in ways that both complement and enhance what they learn in STEM courses is spot on. But what about the inverse, i.e., the extent to which what is learned in STEM courses can complement and enhance these other skills?

    Thus, my one question about this approach is how the STEM faculty view it. My concern is that it might be too easy for STEM faculty to think something like "I don't need to worry about helping students acquire these skills because they're getting them elsewhere." Without mutual reinforcement, students may see these as different sets of skills that are divorced from each other. Are you seeing that as a problem? If so, how are you addressing it?

    With regard to the comment posted by Rebecca Roberts about the number of collaborations across disciplines and the issues associated with developing them, viewers might be interested in knowing about a 2018 report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine called The Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Higher Education: Branches from the Same Tree. The report can be downloaded without cost by clicking on this link (I served as a staff member for the project). If you go to this website and scroll down to the Resources tab, you'll find a database of more than 200 examples of interdisciplinary connections in undergraduate and graduate education that the members of the authoring committee and staff examined.

    With regard to Holly Wiegreffe's question about service learning, a 2019 paper that I coauthored may be of interest to some viewers: Labov, J.B., Brenner, K.A., and Middlecamp, C.H. 2019. Integrating Undergraduate Research and Civic Engagement. Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. 11(1):64-78. http://new.seceij.net/articletype/review/integrating-undergraduate-research-in-stem-with-civic-engagement/

    Thank you again for submitting this video and catalyzing interesting discussion!

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Jonathan Lewis
    R. Bruce Mattingly
  • Icon for: Anne Kondo

    Anne Kondo

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 07:50 a.m.

    Dear Jay,

         Thank-you for your comments, and great suggestions.  I will forward your link to our team members.

    Cheers,

    Anne

  • Icon for: Justin Fair

    Justin Fair

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2019 | 05:21 p.m.

    Jay,
    You wrote: Thus, my one question about this approach is how the STEM faculty view it. My concern is that it might be too easy for STEM faculty to think something like "I don't need to worry about helping students acquire these skills because they're getting them elsewhere." Without mutual reinforcement, students may see these as different sets of skills that are divorced from each other. Are you seeing that as a problem? If so, how are you addressing it?

    Yes, we do see some STEM faculty who want to solely teach and promote their area of STEM. Many of them believe that their entire class/lab needs to focus entirely on technically rich content housed in a silo. Interestingly, these same faculty often have research that is discipline specific so the silo approach often encountered in academia, has worked for them. Yet, some of the most advancing science is conducted where multiple disciples merge and collaborations involving teams can make or break a company's bottom line. We can achieve mutual reinforcement through the core courses and the applied in major course, the teamwork-intensive course. As these are spread over the 4-years the student is with us, we hope that they start understanding the key processes that need to occur to form and work as teams.

    Although we have a handful of co-presenters listed in this conference, we have nearly 40 faculty with around half in STEM fields and involved in our Teamwork-Intensive courses. Not all faculty or courses are included in our minor. Course proposals and their accompanying faculty must enter the university curriculum process and be approved to teach via a proposal that illustrates how the teamwork and communication objectives will be applied. These classes are in-major, required courses in various majors that include an interdisciplinary research project where students are expected to use their teamwork and leadership skills. We have seen students who have taken the Teamwork-Intensive class, both who are and who are not in the minor, realize in their third year the importance of these skills and how they need to be integrated along with their technical skills. (Interestingly, having an in major course that includes students who are not in the major facilitates much of what they will experience in the real world and provides an environment for them to use their skills to work with members who can be developed into effective team members).

    The minor focuses more on teamwork skills rather than emphasizing leadership skills. Many academic programs boast that they prepare leaders for tomorrow, but our research has shown that employers seek employees with team member skills rather than leadership skills. At a recent advisory board meeting, I was asked why the team member focus. Most if not all BS-level graduates will assume an entry-level position where they will not initially be in a supervisory role. Even at graduate school, where there is an even larger skills gap, team member skills are critical not just while in graduate school, but also when leading your own project team.

  • Icon for: Judith Dilts

    Judith Dilts

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2019 | 10:10 p.m.

    The word leadership does not have to mean only positional leadership. One can use leadership skills in a variety of ways — for example, as a servant leader or in situational leadership. 

  • Icon for: Anne Kondo

    Anne Kondo

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2019 | 07:46 a.m.

    Dear Judith,

       Yes, thank-you for pointing this out. Leadership is an integral part of all teamwork, and can take many forms. The students are taught about its role in the early courses in the minor.  We include a full course on leadership later in the minor, in part so team members recognize the importance of both challenging and supporting the leader.  Employers told us in our surveys that they didn't want students fresh off their degrees assuming they would take leadership positions in chemistry labs - in other words, that they needed to be primarily team members until they had more work experience.

    Cheers,

    Anne

  • Icon for: James Mihelcic

    James Mihelcic

    Researcher
    May 14, 2019 | 11:29 p.m.

    I enjoyed this video and the comments.   I am curious how educators assess teaming, this is because ABET accreditation for engineers now requires our degree programs demonstrate how our graduates are able to function on multidisciplinary teams.  

  • Icon for: Anne Kondo

    Anne Kondo

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 09:01 p.m.

    Dear James,

        Assessment of teamwork skills has been challenging. In early attempts, we asked students multiple choice questions - and found no difference between before and after team-work training, probably because the qualities to be a good team player are pretty intuitive. It's the application/execution of the skills that is that challenge.  We turned to reflection papers, and found these to be more informative, and also a learning experience for the students - the act of reflecting on their and their teams' behavior allowed them to identify their own contributions to problems and solutions.  As an assessment tool, though, reflection papers are not easy to grade.  We now have the students complete a short team task (which we video) and we assess the task using a rubric that focuses on their interactions. Using the rubric is faster than grading reflection papers, but requires some training, so that all analyzers apply it the same way.  

    Cheers,

    Anne

  • Icon for: Anne Kondo

    Anne Kondo

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 09:05 p.m.

    The rubric was based on The Teamwork Minor Learning Outcome Program Assessment Matrix provided by Dr. Beverly Davis, a consultant from Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, and the Teamwork Value Rubric created by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). It was developed under the guidance of Dr. Mimi Benjamin and her graduate students Kevin Crawford and Katie Byers.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Judith Dilts
  • Icon for: R. Bruce Mattingly

    R. Bruce Mattingly

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 15, 2019 | 11:14 a.m.

    What an outstanding program! I am particularly impressed by your efforts to reinforce interdisciplinary teamwork and communication across your students' entire four year experience.

    You might be interested in our video on the Common Problem Project. (Just follow the link under my headshot!) While our primary focus is on cross-disciplinary problem solving, the teamwork and communication skills are absolutely vital. My colleagues and I would definitely be interested in further conversations with you about the goals and objectives that our two projects appear to share.

    Finally, you might be interested in the video from Westminster College on their Environmental Project Management Academy: 

    https://stemforall2019.videohall.com/presentati...

     

  • Icon for: Ivory Toldson

    Ivory Toldson

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2019 | 12:20 p.m.

    Hello All! My name is Ivory Toldson, professor at Howard University, president of Quality Education for Minorities, and one of the facilitators for the STEM for All Video Showcase. The conversation is off to a great start and I will be chiming in with my own input this afternoon and over the next few days. I'm excited about what we can achieve for the next generation of STEM learners!

  • Icon for: Ivory Toldson

    Ivory Toldson

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2019 | 04:51 p.m.

    I expect that implementing a project such as this at the university level was quite challenging. With that, I applaud the collaborative work that made this possible. I understand that employers and faculty are likely to understand this impact a project such as this would have however, I don't anticipate that many students will recognize its value immediately. With that I wonder, how have you been able to communicate the importance of developing these skills to students? 

    Is it possible to complete the program more quickly than in four years? I am thinking about second-year students and beyond who may be interested in taking advantage of this opportunity. 

  • Icon for: Justin Fair

    Justin Fair

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 09:27 a.m.

    Ivory,
    Thank you for your comments. Our project has been included as a highlight in our admission process. Our team comes to weekday and weekend events that are aimed at incoming freshmen to showcase the advantages our campus has that can make our students more marketable to either graduate schools or the workforce.
    Parents at these events are more keen on the advantages of the minor and the skills that come with it. Students initially are mainly concerned with selecting a major, a residence hall, and a roommate. Students not in the minor, coming from high school, have only experienced group work and told it was teamwork.
    We use the double dipping of credits (up to 12 credits of 18) to entice their interest. Our discussion started off much like our video.... in 4 years you will walk across the stage with a diploma, how do you differentiate yourself from others? The attainment of not just the theory, but actually using these skills in the field your being hired for is a great way!
    We do have students in their 2nd year wanting to start the minor. It is easy from there to catch up, but sometimes these students can not utilize all of the double dipping. We are making a greater effort this year in mailers to incoming students before they come to summer orientation when they register for courses to help spread the word.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Ivory Toldson
  • Icon for: Judith Dilts

    Judith Dilts

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2019 | 11:59 p.m.

    I enjoyed hearing about this project, particularly the sequencing from Liberal Studies to STEM courses. It's great you are attending to this -- we tell students they work in teams in labs, but rarely give them any help in doing so. I wonder about how you teach/ students' learn to work in teams? Other than knowing the theory, how do they practice working in teams and when? You mentioned a "short team task" -- when does that happen? Do you use experiential learning exercises -- short, fun team activities followed by a debrief (reflect) -- to help that practice?

  • Icon for: Justin Fair

    Justin Fair

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 09:14 a.m.

    Judith,

    We try early with our students to redefine the difference between group work and teamwork. Group work is completed by 2-4 students who have the same knowledge and skills, who do not need to rely on one another to complete a task or care about the people/process that the project takes. We all have experienced grading these types of projects: we are often asked to mediate a point of conflict or grade a patchwork type lab report written by many without a thought beyond an assigned portion of the work. Teamwork can only be fostered by forming a team with different skills and abilities that force them to communicate. Such communication is only successful if students can use their interpersonal skills to foster the entire process. Our teamwork-intensive courses typically span two disciplines in the student's junior year. These teams must communicate with each other to complete their project.
    The teaching portion is completed in the first two years using the 4 core courses prior to the teamwork-intensive course. The core courses ask students to learn about themselves in relation to the topics of interpersonal skills, diversity, communication, and leadership. Within these courses, mainly group work is completed to simulate teamwork. I say group work because the students are all in the same course with mostly the same skills and abilities. The tasks used to simulate teamwork are focused on the content of the course. Yet, many topics are used in each including a team contract, team expectations, dealing with conflict, and self and team assessments.

  • May 16, 2019 | 07:58 a.m.

    I am interested in learning more about this.  You mention that the new minor "utilized general education courses and in-major coursework to provide training over a student’s 4-year education while not increasing credit bloat".   Does this mean that they can double dip and use classes for the minor that they would have to take for their major and gen ed requirements?  Are there any classes that they need for the minor that are not part of their major?    

  • Icon for: Justin Fair

    Justin Fair

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 08:52 a.m.

    Melissa,

         At IUP, our minors are a minimum of 18 credits. The first two courses of the minor double dip with the general education requirements needed for graduation. The course that introduces interpersonal skills is a 3 credit Theater course that counts toward the minor and toward the Fine Arts general education requirement. The course that introduces diversity, inclusion, and how to leverage diversity on a team is a 3 credit Sociology course that also counts towards two general education requirements: the Social Science (3 of the 9 credits in this area) and the Global and Multicultural Awareness. 

         Within the major, students take a course that is required for their major that includes applications of teamwork and leadership fundamentals that they pratic in their field of study. We call this the "Teamwork-Intensive" course.  The 3-4 credits double dip between their major and the Teamwork and Leadership minor. We also include upper-level research and thesis credits (2-3 credits) for the students to practice their skills further. With the introductory courses teaching the skills and these in-major courses used for the application of their skills, we are able to keep all of the technically rich material of our in minor coursework. 

           Typically 12 of the 18 credits are double counted in either the general education or in major coursework. The other 6 credits are mostly covered in free electives in those fields that have those.  

     

         

  • Icon for: James Liszka

    James Liszka

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2019 | 08:35 a.m.

    Hi Justin,

    Enjoyed watching your project. Just to follow on what Bruce Mattingly said above, our Common Problem Project also focuses on cross-disciplinary teamwork. We focus on using the teams to analyze regional problems relevant to the class work and have them propose solutions, often in cooperation with community partners. The real-life problems seems to give some impetus to the teams. I'd really like to learn more about how you organize the teams and any strategies you have for enhancing teamwork.  P.S. give my regards to Mike Driscoll--i worked under him as Dean, when he was Provost at University of Alaska Anchorage.

  • Icon for: Justin Fair

    Justin Fair

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2019 | 04:29 p.m.

    James,
    First, thank you for Driscoll! He is a great president.

    We originally just had out teamwork-intensive courses where two courses would be paired to complete an interdisciplinary project. The nature of the student teams was such that no pair from either class could solve the project on their own and would need to communicate and work with all team members. To do this, it requires each member to use their interpersonal, communication, teamwork, and leadership skills. During this initial proof of concept, we found that teams would behave mostly like groups as they did not have an understanding of how to build a team. The second iteration of the proof of concept inserted too much material on how to function as a team that we sacrificed technical material, but the outcome of this was that students had less conflict, students illustrated key aspects of team behavior, and completed the semester believing that the teamwork portion of the project was as important that the outcome of the scientific research.

    Our core courses in the minor all focus on topics including a team contract, team expectations, dealing with conflict, and self and team assessments. The inclusion of this material into general education requirements provides not just a way to ensure we cover the necessary technical material of our in major courses but also allows those fine arts and humanities faculty teach the skills from their disciplines making the general education requirements more applicable. With 15 of the 18 credits reinforcing these topics, we hope to see in the upcoming year that students are able to form their teams (via contract, expectations), normalize team processes (deal with conflict), and self-assess what is working for them and what might need to be adjusted.

  • May 17, 2019 | 10:11 a.m.

    Hi Justin

    Exciting project and a very nice video description!  Thanks for sharing it. 

    Building on one of Jay's thoughts about how faculty have responded, I wonder if certain disciplines have been more (or less) attracted to promoting the minor?  I ask because some fields would seem to have a natural attraction to fostering teamwork, e.g., Military Studies, Criminology.  If so, are faculty mentoring practices changing?  I realize measuring that could be difficult and would take some time.  

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.