PROfessional Development and Uptake through Collaborative Teams (PRODUCT NSF DUE-1525058) is a $2.8 million, five-year project to expand the professional development capacity in undergraduate mathematics One of the major challenges PRODUCT addresses in STEM education is the rate of uptake of empirically validated teaching methods. The project directly addresses this challenge by offering intensive workshops based on a proven model to undergraduate mathematics instructors, and by building teams of leaders who are skilled and effective in planning and guiding these workshops and in providing follow-up support to participants.
PRODUCT will conduct 12 four-day intensive IBL workshops, 15 short, skills-based workshops, and five Professional Development Preparatory Meetings, and will host a STEM Professional Development Summit for 50 STEM professional developers. Through these activities, PRODUCT will develop three new teams of faculty developers, provide professional development for 320 undergraduate math faculty, adapt and improve IBL workshop materials, and develop a framework for building professional development capacity. A research-with-evaluation study will provide formative feedback, study the process and outcomes for PD teams’ development, gather data to benchmark workshops led by new teams against a model known to be effective, and investigate the classroom practices of workshop participants to understand how the PD shapes their teaching.
The intellectual merit of PRODUCT is advancing knowledge and practice in professional development in undergraduate mathematics. The project will produce new knowledge about scaling up professional development programs through a careful and collaborative process to prepare teams of faculty developers and provide them with well-supported leadership experience that simultaneously offer professional development to hundreds of faculty and be applicable to other STEM disciplines. PRODUCT will also provide knowledge about instructors’ uptake of IBL methods, by examining their actual classroom practice before and after participation.
PRODUCT’s broader impact includes significantly increasing the professional development capacity in mathematics, developing a framework and materials for increasing professional development capacity, and significantly increasing the number of math instructors who are well prepared to use IBL methods in their teaching. The four-day intensive workshops will reach 320 math faculty during the five-year project, who will affect some 6500 undergraduates in the near term, and thousands more in the long run.
PRODUCT will also develop and deploy short workshops (half and full day) to increase the profession’s capacity to conduct cost-efficient outreach. Short workshops will be used to reach regions and departments not actively using IBL, thereby increasing awareness of IBL methods and potentially bringing more faculty into the IBL community.
Additionally, a significantly expanded professional development capacity, a library of workshop materials, and multiple sizes of workshops will continue to be a resource for the profession after the project ends, as these new and skilled leaders will make it possible to offer more workshops and new kinds of professional development opportunities.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.