Icon for: Helen Burn

HELEN BURN

Highline College
Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: Patricia Marsteller

    Patricia Marsteller

    Facilitator
    Professor of Practice Emeritus
    May 10, 2021 | 10:37 a.m.

    This is a very exciting project.  I'd love to hear more about the impact on different groups and also about the changes to curricula you have made.

    Do you also know about the QB@CC project?  Maybe we can talk about some potential collaborations?

     
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    Helen Burn
  • Icon for: Jillian Miller

    Jillian Miller

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 04:44 p.m.

    As a member of the QB@CC project, I'd love to talk with you about a collaboration! Thank you for sharing the assessment tool; I'm going to share this with our math faculty so that we can assess our program!

  • Icon for: Helen Burn

    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
    May 11, 2021 | 08:22 p.m.

    Thanks for connecting! I'll find your video and let's follow up with each other. 

  • Icon for: Jay Labov

    Jay Labov

    Facilitator
    Senior Advisor for Education and Communication (Retired)
    May 11, 2021 | 09:31 a.m.

     I agree with Patricia that this is an exciting project. I also have 4 questions:

    - Improving math education in higher education, especially for populations of students which historically have been underrepresented in STEM, has been a focus of education reform for many years, beginning with the reform of calculus many years ago. More recently, programs such as StatWay and QuantWay focused on such efforts at community colleges. It's difficult in a 3 minute video to fully describe your program. Could you comment on how your efforts both build on and differ from previous initiatives? 

    2. Could you offer some additional detail about what was involved in the case studies of minority serving institutions that you conducted? How much was direct input from students involved in this phase of your work?

    3. Could you offer some additional information about how institutions have changed their approaches to teaching and learning math for future STEM majors as a result of using your institutional assessment?

    4. Issues with math literacy and proficiency extend far beyond students who are focused on STEM. Do you have any data that institutions are using your assessment tool to improve teaching and learning in math for non-STEM majors?

     
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    Wonmai "Maia" Punksungka
  • Icon for: Helen Burn

    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
    May 11, 2021 | 08:42 p.m.

    Dear Jay, Thank you for your inquiry into the TLC3 project. The Tool we developed was aimed at transforming the way colleges identify and remove barriers for racially minoritized students in STEM math. The Tool is transformative in identifying the multiple domains with equity practices with each as there is no magic pill here. You have asked many wonderful questions and my response requires a bit more time so I will be responding tomorrow. Thank you for your patience. 

  • Icon for: Helen Burn

    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
    May 13, 2021 | 01:25 p.m.

    Dear Jay,

    Thank you for your patience. In your first question, you asked how TLC3 is unique from other related efforts. Our project is unique in focusing on a comprehensive set of practices that span the STEM math pathway, in contrast to projects that tend to focus on a single area (e.g. instruction or student support). The project is also unique in taking the approach that’s been used in higher education for the past decade of developing Self-Assessment Tools or inventories that colleges can use to reflect, foster discussion, or do long-term planning. Here, we were inspired by work done at USC and SDSU around developing such tools. Your second question asked about our case studies. We developed initial domains and practices based on the literature and the brain trust that was the PI team for the project, and then we approached four minority-serving community colleges (PBI, HSI, and AANAPISI) and a tribal college. We interviewed key admin and staff, conducted classroom observations and faculty interviews, and student focus groups. The student focus groups were used as a source of evidence around the different practices. For example, the AANAPISI college I visited in the fall term, and the students in focus groups we conducted emphasized the very easy onboarding they received through math placement and college orientation, the satisfaction and comfort they felt with their current instructors, and in this case the importance of the campus space to work together on mathematics. The student focus groups were less informative in, say, our institutional responsibility domain. In that area, the faculty and admin interviews played a larger role. To your question 3, I will share what I wrote to Patricia in a separate post that we published the Tool only last fall, and our initial dissemination plan engaged our networked community that comprises mainly math chairs and engaged math faculty who have engaged with the project since 2017. We also have a strategic partnership with the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC). For example, I am chair of AMATYC’s Pathways Joint Subcommittee, Equity Committee, and Committee that focuses on STEM math. This year we have created more awareness among these groups around the Self-Assessment Tool, as the last year has been spent doing major conference presentations (all Zoom now), AMATYC committees, and work with individual colleges. The work is being very well received as the field is looking for solutions and to better understand how to positively impact racial equity in college math. What impact it ultimately will have is to be seen. In those presentations, I provide much more detail about why these practices would disproportionately benefit racially minoritized students. Here, the field of community college math seems to have grasped the twin impact of math placement reform + dev math reform. But the other areas: student support, STEM math courses, instruction, and institutional responsibility are novel concepts for folks based on the experiences I’ve had in disseminating. And overall the field is yet to understand and embrace the notion that learning mathematics is a racialized experience.  I was fortunate to have a bit of funding left and I received a 3rd year No-Cost Extension in order to further the dissemination and advance the work. Long-term, this work is morphing into a larger project around racial equity in college math that will be housed through my Curriculum Research Group at Highline College (my home institution). The website can be found at crg.highline.edu.  This brings me to your final question around extrapolating or generalizing this work to math in general. That’s a very interesting question, as if you look at the practices there is some face validity to the idea that these practices are good for most students. This project may be finished after 2022-23, but it’s not finished, ever. I’ve spent my professional career championing and creating positive change in mathematics at my college and also nationwide (one of my other areas of focus is introductory statistics). The TLC3 project was transformative to me in building my capacity to promote racial equity in college mathematics; whereas prior I didn’t have the knowledge to do this with authenticity. And to be sure, it’s a journey with no clear end point. But it’s my journey and focus for the foreseeable future. 

     
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    Patricia Marsteller
  • Icon for: Jay Labov

    Jay Labov

    Facilitator
    Senior Advisor for Education and Communication (Retired)
    May 16, 2021 | 10:16 p.m.

    Helen, Sorry for the delay in reading and responding to your very thoughtful and detailed response to my questions. I greatly appreciate your taking the time to do so and know that this additional information has allowed everyone who is following these discussions to better appreciate the comprehensiveness of what you and your colleagues have set out to do. Thank you very much! Jay

  • Icon for: John Coleman

    John Coleman

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 02:42 p.m.

    So many of our students are underprepared for success in college math classes, and this impacts their chance for success in other STEM courses. I’d like to learn more about your program, and its outcomes.

     
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    Jillian Miller
  • Icon for: Helen Burn

    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
    May 11, 2021 | 08:53 p.m.

    Dear John, I just watched your video. Wow, what a really amazing learner-centered project you have!  In the TLC3 project, assessment was initially singled out as a domain where we could develop equity practices; but our data didn't provide evidence of its importance (revealed in the case studies of minority-serving institutions).  That was not necessarily unexpected. However, anyone who teaches math knows that our assessment practices make or break students both in terms of passing but also in terms of directing student learning. I have so much to say here but will stop. You are really doing outstanding work and I look forward to connecting!

  • Icon for: Wonmai "Maia" Punksungka

    Wonmai "Maia" Punksungka

    Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 03:49 p.m.

    Helen--

    This sounds like an excellent project and is along the lines of a research study my team and I are doing. Our research is looking at how community colleges promote adults’ basic skills (e.g., literacy, numeracy, and digital problem solving skills) to meet labor market demands in the STEM field (beyond the technical skills in STEM programs) (please see our video for further details). In your video, you mentioned addressing mathematical and relational practices within the classroom using the institutional self-assessment tool. I am curious, what is relational practices? How are mathematical and relational practices being captured in this institutional self-assessment? Lastly, what are some professional development approaches that departments and institutions have already come up with based on this institutional self-assessment tool?

    I'm curious to learn more about this tool and how it has alleviated barriers to equitable learning! 

    Best regards, 
    Maia 

  • Icon for: Helen Burn

    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
    May 11, 2021 | 09:01 p.m.

    Dear Maia--

    Thanks for finding our project. I just watched your video and see some connections. I will check back tomorrow to provide a bit more info about our relational and mathematical practices. 

  • Icon for: Helen Burn

    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
    May 13, 2021 | 01:06 p.m.

    Dear Maia,

    Around the mid 2000s I became aware of the work coming out of San Diego State University around teaching men of color in community colleges, and I felt very strongly that this work needed to be brought into the math education space. So when we designed the grant, we framed it around the multiple domains that impact student transition into, through, and out of STEM math courses. One area, of course, is classroom instruction. Here, we sought to separate Instruction that is “mathematical” from instruction that is “relational.”  We used the literature as a springboard and then triangulated with data collected from classroom observations. So in the end the practices that we identified are realistic to accomplish as we actually saw faculty doing this. Our Self-Assessment Tool (there’s a link up top) shows the specific practices that are relational compared to those that are mathematical. I’ve also posted them below. 

     

    Distinguishing between the two (relational versus mathematical instructional practices) has been powerful for faculty to consider, and the ideas could be used to develop a professional development program for equitable mathematics teaching in community colleges. This work is only just beginning; and there is currently a lot of attention to this issue but under Covid it’s difficult to understand how the field is or is not responding to calls for racial equity in STEM math. Our dissemination thus far has focused on creating awareness on the overall Tool. This includes national webinars and work with individual colleges, and this will change and morph as we move into next year. 

     

    The relational practices are:

    Authentic care and welcomeness to engage are expressed to students

    Student questions and concerns are validated and addressed in a timely fashion

    What students find helpful or hindering in their college and math courses is well-known and

    understood by mathematics faculty

    Performance monitoring techniques are used consistently (e.g., feedback on learning,

    reminders about deadlines, etc.)

    In contrast, the mathematical practices are:

    Student active involvement in problem solving is central to mathematics instruction

    Students are invited to discuss or share their thinking about mathematics with each other

    The relevance of mathematics (to careers, personal lives, etc.) is made explicit to

    students during class or in class materials

    The mathematical content and tasks are challenging in terms of cognitive demand

     
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    Patricia Marsteller
  • Icon for: Talia LaTona-Tequida

    Talia LaTona-Tequida

    Graduate Student
    May 11, 2021 | 06:21 p.m.

    What an interesting and valuable tool. I wonder if your group has addressed issues of buy-in, either in relationship to using the assessment tool or in regard to implementing changes for the challenges identified as a result of the tool.

    -Talia

  • Icon for: Helen Burn

    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
    May 11, 2021 | 09:06 p.m.

    Dear Talia,

    The issue of buy-in is key. We finalized the Tool last fall, and since covid I have been disseminating through national conferences (Zoom webinars) and also through one-on-one sessions with groups of faculty. The Tool is appealing because it identifies multiple domains where a math program could focus its attention. Also, the equity practices are realistic, we believe. I didn't provide details in the video about our methods for developing the practices. I am happy to provide that. I think it's the first Tool at the math department level that takes a holistic approach to the student transition into, through, and out of the STEM math pathway. Since the Tool just launched, it is too early to know how it will be implemented. Dissemination will continue apace next year. 

  • Icon for: Patricia Marsteller

    Patricia Marsteller

    Facilitator
    Professor of Practice Emeritus
    May 11, 2021 | 07:05 p.m.

    As Jay points out there is such a long history of calls for bio math integration and for addressing the very real differential needs of students.  There's a nice new  special issue..https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s1153...

    that has a lot of cool data on biomath integration and its history.  I still think we have to deal with stereotype threat for many students in this area.

    Do you all have any strategies to address this?

  • Icon for: Helen Burn

    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
    May 13, 2021 | 12:55 p.m.

    Dear Patricia, Indeed the environment of science can be hostile to/for racially minoritized students. There are general strategies that come in different forms and have different sorts of benefits to students. Not triggering stereotype threat is one strategy.

    Just like the TLC3 Self-Assessment Tool identified multiple domains so, too, we have to identify the different areas of the bio curriculum (e.g., textbooks, tasks, assessments) that require intentional anti-racist actions on our part to the benefit of students of color.  

    I think we are in the day and age where STEM faculty should have a basic knowledge of racism and how it manifests and some ideas about how to be anti-racist in their STEM pedagogy.  I'd be happy to discuss this if you'd like to. I've been following the QB@CC video on the showcase and notice a lot of attention to this from the feedback they've received. 

     

     
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    Patricia Marsteller
  • Icon for: Helen Burn

    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
    May 11, 2021 | 09:14 p.m.

    Dear Patricia, Indeed the environment of science can be hostile to/for racially minoritized students. There are general strategies that come in different forms and have different sorts of benefits to students. Not triggering stereotype threat is one strategy.

    Just like the TLC3 Self-Assessment Tool identified multiple domains so, too, we have to identify the different areas of the bio curriculum (e.g., textbooks, tasks, assessments) that require intentional anti-racist actions on our part to the benefit of students of color.  

    I think we are in the day and age where STEM faculty should have a basic knowledge of racism and how it manifests and some ideas about how to be anti-racist in their STEM pedagogy. 

  • Icon for: Judith Dilts

    Judith Dilts

    Facilitator
    Retired Associate Dean, College of Science and Mathematics
    May 12, 2021 | 11:16 a.m.

    Dear Helen, This is an important project and an interesting method for addressing the issues of racial equity in STEM, particularly at community colleges. You list institutional responsibility as an equity practice. How do you envision encouraging an institution to use your tool and to support long-term programs needed to achieve racial equity? Thanks! Judy

  • Icon for: Helen Burn

    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
    May 17, 2021 | 07:42 p.m.



    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
     





    Edit Delete

    May 13, 2021 | 12:53 p.m.

    Dear Judith,


    Thank you for your question and positive comments about the project. Our institutional responsibility domain includes three practices:  permanent base funding for URM programs in STEM, providing faculty PD on racial equity, and programs for housing and food insecure students. You are correct in assuming that a main audience for our work is STEM deans or math chairs. We finalized the Self-Assessment Tool in August of 2020 and were fortunate to be able to conduct our subject matter expert content validation under covid conditions in spring of 2020. Our initial dissemination plan engaged our networked community that comprises mainly math chairs and engaged math faculty who have engaged with the project since 2017. We also have a strategic partnership with the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC). For example, I am chair of AMATYC’s Pathways Joint Subcommittee, Equity Committee, and Committee that focuses on STEM math. This year we have created more awareness among these groups around the Self-Assessment Tool, as the last year has been spent doing major conference presentations (all Zoom now), AMATYC committees, and work with individual colleges. The work is being very well received as the field is looking for solutions and to better understand how to positively impact racial equity in college math. In those presentations, I provide much more detail about why these practices would disproportionately benefit racially minoritized students. Here, the field of community college math seems to have grasped the twin impact of math placement reform + dev math reform. But the other areas: student support, STEM math courses, instruction, and institutional responsibility are novel concepts for folks based on the experiences I’ve had in disseminating. And as we know, curricular innovation in STEM math is not widespread as compared with developmental math. As this academic year wraps, we are also working on two major publications. I was also fortunate to have a bit of funding left and I received a 3rd year No-Cost Extension in order to further the dissemination and advance the work. Long-term, this work is morphing into a larger project around racial equity in college math that will be housed through my Curriculum Research Group at Highline College (my home institution). The website can be found at crg.highline.edu. Again, thank you for your inquiry and please let me know if you'd like to discuss this further. 



     + Reply

  • Icon for: Lindsay Palmer

    Lindsay Palmer

    Graduate Student
    May 12, 2021 | 06:49 p.m.

    As a former community college student (and now a graduate student studying STEM diversity), I was thrilled to see your project and loved learning about your work! Can't wait to hear more about it in the future. 

     
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    Abigail Helsinger
  • Icon for: Helen Burn

    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
    May 13, 2021 | 12:53 p.m.

    Dear Judith,

    Thank you for your question and positive comments about the project. Our institutional responsibility domain includes three practices:  permanent base funding for URM programs in STEM, providing faculty PD on racial equity, and programs for housing and food insecure students. You are correct in assuming that a main audience for our work is STEM deans or math chairs. We finalized the Self-Assessment Tool in August of 2020 and were fortunate to be able to conduct our subject matter expert content validation under covid conditions in spring of 2020. Our initial dissemination plan engaged our networked community that comprises mainly math chairs and engaged math faculty who have engaged with the project since 2017. We also have a strategic partnership with the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC). For example, I am chair of AMATYC’s Pathways Joint Subcommittee, Equity Committee, and Committee that focuses on STEM math. This year we have created more awareness among these groups around the Self-Assessment Tool, as the last year has been spent doing major conference presentations (all Zoom now), AMATYC committees, and work with individual colleges. The work is being very well received as the field is looking for solutions and to better understand how to positively impact racial equity in college math. In those presentations, I provide much more detail about why these practices would disproportionately benefit racially minoritized students. Here, the field of community college math seems to have grasped the twin impact of math placement reform + dev math reform. But the other areas: student support, STEM math courses, instruction, and institutional responsibility are novel concepts for folks based on the experiences I’ve had in disseminating. And as we know, curricular innovation in STEM math is not widespread as compared with developmental math. As this academic year wraps, we are also working on two major publications. I was also fortunate to have a bit of funding left and I received a 3rd year No-Cost Extension in order to further the dissemination and advance the work. Long-term, this work is morphing into a larger project around racial equity in college math that will be housed through my Curriculum Research Group at Highline College (my home institution). The website can be found at crg.highline.edu. Again, thank you for your inquiry and please let me know if you'd like to discuss this further. 

  • Icon for: Patricia Marsteller

    Patricia Marsteller

    Facilitator
    Professor of Practice Emeritus
    May 14, 2021 | 05:15 p.m.

    Love to hear more about how to encourage deans and chairs to permanently support programs.  We should talk...for a long time I had great success with Deans, but then encountered one that was into cutting long established programs.  Let's talk ...offline?

     

  • Icon for: Helen Burn

    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
    May 14, 2021 | 07:10 p.m.

    Thank you, Patricia. I will follow up off line.

  • Icon for: Megan Davis

    Megan Davis

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 17, 2021 | 11:28 a.m.

     Thank you Helen, for this tool. I've shared it with the math department as well as within our college of engineering, as we're developing a pilot math "bootcamp" for one week in July to help address the calculus-readiness of our incoming freshmen in engineering and computer science. https://www.lipscomb.edu/academics/programs/nis...

    I think it will help shape our approach to the intervention, and hopefully lead to wider discussion beyond the summer.

  • Icon for: Helen Burn

    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
    May 17, 2021 | 07:44 p.m.

    Hi Megan, Thank you for exploring our project. The math bootcamp is an example of an Institutional Responsibility practice, and kudos to your college for providing this program. I hope it comes with permanent base funding!  That would be ideal.  Thank you for sharing the tool and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any additional questions.

  • Icon for: Helen Burn

    Helen Burn

    Lead Presenter
    Instructor, Department of Mathematics; Director, Curriculum Research Group
    May 17, 2021 | 07:44 p.m.

    Hi Megan, Thank you for exploring our project. The math bootcamp is an example of an Institutional Responsibility practice, and kudos to your college for providing this program. I hope it comes with permanent base funding!  That would be ideal.  Thank you for sharing the tool and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any additional questions.

  • Icon for: John Coleman

    John Coleman

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2021 | 10:50 p.m.

    This is certainly an excellent project. I am anxious to see the results of any outcomes. Thank you for your project.

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