Resources and Time for Exploration

FIRST is a five-year collaboration with strong emphasis on faculty development to enhance inclusion in STEM at Davidson.  Two curricular innovation programs are included: 

1) a significant redesign of gateways physics courses through a collaboration of all physics faculty members (redesign beginning summer 2019 with the debut of PHY125 in Fall 2019) that will create new studio style introductory courses that infuse inclusive and interactive engagement teaching practices, integrate lecture and laboratory, and emphasize how basic mathematics and physical principles are directly relevant to everyday life including applications to the life sciences.  Through this redesign, physics faculty members will create new curricular materials including kinesthetic, peer instruction, and laboratory exercises, hands-on mini-labs, video analysis and interactive simulations, and a new electronic course book.

2) support for individual STEM faculty members to infuse inclusive pedagogies throughout all levels and disciplines of Davidson’s STEM curriculum through FIRST’s resources and time for exploration (RATE).  Specifically, FIRST RATE provides time (course release), community (a cohort), and assistance (FIRST Analyst; professional development fund) for each of Davidson’s permanent STEM faculty members to expand their knowledge of diversity, inclusivity, equity, and social justice to implement specific interventions, strategies, and/or topics in new and existing STEM courses sustainable and lasting ways.

Download the FIRST RATE application here.

Specific Projects of the 2019-20 FIRST RATE Cohort:

Dr. Tim Gfroerer (PHY) will develop a new non-majors lab course titled Energy, the Environment, and Engineering Design (En3D).  En3D will introduce engineering design through a focus on energy and the environment.  Classes will meet in a combined discussion/laboratory setting where students will work in teams to create computer-controlled models of energy-efficient buildings.

Dr. Kevin Smith (BIO) will develop a new research-intensive, group investigation course with the working title of Data Science in Biology.  This course will introduce students who have no college exposure to biological data analysis to the basic principles of data analysis as applied in the biological sciences.  Students will work with Excel and the R programming language to gain skills in data importing, cleaning, and manipulation, data visualization, and foundational statistical principles.

Dr. Erland Stevens (CHE) will bring a greater sense of belonging, community, inclusivity, and equity into his organic chemistry classes (CHE 250/350) to represent a healthy and welcoming learning environment for all interested students.  He will significantly revise instructional videos and classroom exercises so that both courses are fully flipped.


10.01.19 = Intent to apply for the 2020-21 FIRST RATE cohort due
11.01.19 = Application for the 2020-21 FIRST RATE cohort due
ansadlerFIRST RATE