Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ideas for the future of GROW

As we approach the end of our first year, it would be wonderful to reflect on the program and on possible improvements for the future. I would love to generate some discussion on the blog around:

• How we can recruit new GROW grads
• The notification system for open requests/Response system
• Obstacles to participation (how can we support your outreach, encourage participation? What do you need?)
• System of follow-up/feedback
• Additional aspects you'd like to see added to the program
• How to sustain this program (e.g. Do we need a defined leadership structure? )

A group of GROW grads met last night to discuss these issues. Several of the ideas we had:
1. Hold 1-2 workshops a quarter to assemble activity kits and to discuss presentation and general teaching skills.
2. Ask teachers making requests to define a 2-week window to help structure planning (and emphasize urgency of requests).
3. As part of a sustainable leadership structure and to aid in recruitment: designate liaisons for each of PBSci departments and Engineering. This would also help us collaborate with several outreach groups that are housed within specific departments.
4. Consider holding class visits days to several departments, including lab tours and hands-on activities, as part of the GROW offerings.

In addition, we are going to have a poster at the Graduate Research Symposium publicizing all the great outreach GROW grads have accomplished. I would love some help a) from individuals who would be willing to man the poster for part of the time and b) anyone with AI skills who would like to assist in making a poster. I may not be able to attend that day, so I would greatly appreciate some help from others!

In general, everyone agreed that having a resource closet of readymade activities would greatly facilitate participation. This has long been the goal, but activation energy on putting together these kits is high. In part to address this, Expanding Your Horizons is starting an Undergraduate Program to recruit science- and education-minded senior-level undergrads to be involved in assembling (and eventually helping present) hands-on science activity kits. Pending funding, we will begin this Program and kit assembly process in the Fall, but we can definitely plan a grad-led kit assembly workshop earlier than this. I will send out a more specific email query on this in the near future.

I welcome feedback on these ideas and any other responses to the questions listed above!


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