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NSF Division of Undergraduate Education – Hispanic Serving Institutions

The STEM Zone project seeks to build institutional capacity for improving undergraduate STEM teaching and learning. It will support efforts to improve the teaching effectiveness of STEM faculty and to advance knowledge about strategies that lead to increased use of evidence-based and equity-minded teaching strategies.

Start Date: October 1, 2018


  • Lynn Tashiro, Department of Physics & the Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Mary McCarthy Hintz, Department of Chemistry & Science Educational Equity Program
  • Di Xu, UC Irvine Department of Education

The STEM Zone Project consists of three Parts:

  1. Implementation of three types of professional development
  2. Study of STEM faculty professional development and student success
  3. Administrative Advisory and Support

I. Implementation of three types of professional development

Professional development is matched to the zone of proximal development (ZPD) of STEM faculty and includes:

  1. The STEM Zone: ACUE Effective Teaching Practices – Online format
  2. The STEM Zone: UC Berkeley FLP: Teaching and Learning Applied Research– Hybrid format
  3. The STEM Zone: CSUS Equity Professional Learning Community – Face to Face format


Figure 2: Developmental map of ZPD and existing faculty professional learning at Sacramento State. White boxes denote programs already in place; blue boxes denote programs proposed for the ZPD program, and is offered on the below timeline:

Table 5: Implementation Sequence

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Faculty Learning Program ACUE UCB FLP ACUE Sac State FLC 1 ACUE UCB FLP ACUE Sac State FLC 2 ACUE UCB FLP or FLC 3
Faculty target population 10 New Faculty
15 STEM Educator or Early adopters
10 New Faculty
15 Math gateway and remediation
10 New Faculty
15 Chemistry and Biology Faculty
10 New Faculty
15 Engineering & Physics Faculty
10 New Faculty
15 SoTL Faculty
Target courses Any STEM gateway Math 10, 12, 29, 30 Chem 4, 1A, 1B Physics 5A/B, 11A/B/C
Engr 17A
Any STEM course

II. Study of STEM faculty professional development and student success

Table 6: Four Quadrant (4Q) Research Plan: Research Questions and Data Sources

Four Quadrant (4Q) Research Plan

III. Administrative Advisory and Support

Project Communication & Management

Two hour weekly project meetings with the Sacramento State Co-PIs and the ZPD faculty associate will be held to plan, launch, and implement the ZPD program. Two face to face meetings and monthly zoom meetings will be held with the Sac State and UC Irvine Co-PIs to set up, deploy, track, and analyze data and research findings. The external evaluator will meet quarterly and as needed during critical momentum points of the project. Finally, an internal advisory committee will oversee the project and include:

  • Dean of Natural Science and Mathematics (NSM)
  • Dean of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS)
  • Associate Vice President of Faculty Advancement
  • Provost of Academic Affairs
  • Associate Vice President of the Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development
  • Department Chairs from NSM and ECS including Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, Math, Chemistry, Biology, and Geology

The purpose of the advisory committee is to ensure alignment with college and institutional expectations for STEM faculty and faculty professional development, and to leverage programmatic, institutional, and CSU system initiatives or opportunities to impact institutional change.