THE 2018 STATION1 CURRICULUM
We live in an exciting era of transformation in science and technology, with ever increasing global connectedness that has both the potential for tackling the enduring problems of humanity, but also is rife with ethical and social perils. Education and research in science and technology, rooted in social inquiry, inclusion, and equity is more important than ever to our societal, economic, and cultural survival, let alone progress. Station1 is addressing these key issues through an educational model based on socially-directed science and technology inquiry.
The core of the model is a science and technology-focused research project, which provides a foundation of inquiry. The Station1 shared curriculum integrates critical perspectives on the history and social studies of science and technology, computation in a social context, equity and inclusion, sustainability, ethics, social change and innovation, and inclusive leadership and collaboration, into the science and technology research project (see schematic below).
The integration of STEM with humanistic perspectives has been highlighted in a recent study convened by National Academies of Engineering, Science, and Medicine titled “The Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Higher Education: Branches from the Same Tree” . The Station1 educational model has drawn inspiration from methods in science and technology studies [2-3], community-based participatory research , equity-based design , social innovation , service learning , course-based undergraduate research , the connected curricula , and graduate education . Active learning , inclusive pedagogies  and mentoring , and reflection and metacognition  were utilized throughout. The combination of a state-of-the-art STEM research project with a contextual, humanistic, and integrative shared curriculum constitutes many high impact pedagogical educational practices (e.g. experiential, project-based learning, community-engaged learning, collaborative inquiry, undergraduate research, internships, interdisciplinary perspectives, etc. [15-16]) which are known to foster the deep and significant learning valued by employers [17-19] and graduate schools.
The learning objectives of the Station1 educational model include:
To understand and gain experience with scientific and technological inquiry and research as a process from conception to knowledge generation to dissemination;
To gain technical, conceptual, and practical frontier knowledge and experience in a STEM field;
To understand the broader context of science and technology in relation to society, to gain knowledge of the mechanisms and methods for social change, innovation, and impact, and to increase commitment and ability to foster the development of thoughtful, responsible, equitable, and ethical science and technology; and
To gain intellectual, personal, and professional experience necessary for socially-directed scientific and technological research and development.
For the first four days of the 2018 Summer@Station1 program, students participated in an immersive inclusive leadership and collaboration institute (35 hours), in partnership with LeaderShape®, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating a just, caring, and thriving world. The curriculum took students on a journey of self-discovery that included cultural awareness and collaboration, identity work, strategies for effective feedback, ethics and values, exploration of dynamics of power and influence, and co-creation of collaborative norms. The orientation also included custom curricular components developed by Station1 that focused on foundational concepts for personal and professional advancement which serve as a bridge to the Fellows’ frontier science and technology internship research projects and the full Station1 shared curriculum. The Station1 orientation created a cohesive, inclusive, and supportive learning community which served as a strong foundation for student participation and success. More information on the Station1 orientation can be found here.
Students participated in 270 hours (Tuesdays-Fridays) of research project experience in their internships and 100 hours of instruction in the shared curriculum (Mondays and evenings) delivered by 5 lead instructors and 10 guest instructors over 10 weeks. 30 integrative modules were developed and delivered and the students completed 30 assignments including three major project deliverables that integrated their internship project with the shared curriculum, and which created a more consistent and effective internship learning experience. The curriculum, involved a combination of learning at the unique Station1 learning space and activities out in the City of Lawrence (see photos below).
Through the shared curriculum, The Station1 Fellows were able to construct a systems view of their research project and their field of study in STEM situated in a broader social context. They were provided with integrative knowledge, tools, and methods with which to elucidate root causes, contributing factors, dynamics, interrelations, incentive structures, ethical and equity issues, stakeholders, historical trajectories, and unintended consequences. The students were challenged to interrogate the complexity, ambiguity, trade-offs, and compromises of social structures and systems that shape science and technology, in particular related to their own STEM research project.
The Station1 Fellows were also provided with a curriculum focused on continuous personal and professional advancement. Early in the program, students identified personal and professional goals, which they refined throughout the program with their peers to promote accountability and self-directed learning. Practical aspects of employment were covered such as review of online application strategies including resources and use of application systems, interview preparation, resume/cover letter writing, and conducting self-initiated outreach. Key topics related to long term career advancement included inclusive mentoring (from both a mentor and mentee perspective), scientific and technical writing and speaking, the creation of a professional online digital presence, professional relationships and networking, intercultural communications and collaboration, professional ethics, resources for global education experiences, and fundamentals of graduate education and admissions.
Dedicated time was allocated for reflection to foster self-directed learning, mentorship, and support as students shared and provided feedback with each other on their professional experiences at their internships. The weekly curriculum was complemented by one-on-one advising appointments made available to students which allowed students to discuss personalized academic and career plans, support advancement in the internship, and allowed the students to self-direct their professional learning. These sessions both elevated the students’ performance in the internships and set a foundation for future personal and professional growth.
Drawing upon the Association of American Colleges and Universities VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education)  rubrics for liberal arts education and employer survey data [17-19], the learning activities for all programmatic components for Summer@Station1 were mapped to the following intellectual, personal, and professional learning outcomes: inquiry, research, technical, and problem-solving, social context, responsibility, and engagement, critical thinking, creative thinking, computational thinking, multimodal communication, inclusive leadership and collaboration across cultures, intercultural knowledge, experience, and competence, ethical reasoning, integrative learning, analytical, quantitative, information, and data literacy, and personal and professional abilities. To promote efficacy of learning, these learning outcomes were contextualized to and integrated with the students' research project and specific STEM field of study, rather than being provided in a separate, disconnected manner.
Adapted from existing methods [8-9, 21], evaluation data included direct assessment of student learning by instructors through student generated work and retrospective (post) student and internship mentor surveys that evaluated experiences and perspectives on the quality, satisfaction, and inclusiveness of the internship and Station1 learning environment. These data indicated that the program was academically, personally, and professionally transformative for the Fellows, providing students with a rigorous foundation for implementing thoughtful, responsible, equitable, and ethical scientific research and technological development, an enhanced internship project experience, and enormous personal and professional growth. The program and its’ intellectual, personal, and professional learning outcomes set a foundation for academic success, employability upon graduation, social responsibility, engagement, and impact, lifelong learning and long-term career advancement in dynamically changing STEM fields.
The Station1 team is currently building out STEM discipline-specific versions of the social inquiry curriculum at MIT through two grants from the MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (MIT J-WEL) and will be hosting a short course for educators in the Fall of 2019. For further information on the Station1 curriculum and the Fall 2019 short course, please contact Dr. Ellan Spero, co-founder and Chief Curriculum Officer at Station1.
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