Presidential Chair Fellows 2021-'22

The Presidential Chair Fellows Grant Program provides an opportunity for a team of two or more faculty members from a department to develop, improve, transform, and examine core areas of the undergraduate learning experience. The grant is a means to engage in a systematic, forward-looking curriculum project expected to render fundamental and breakthrough ideas which will enhance and transform Berkeley's undergraduate education. For the upcoming grant cycle, we are especially interested in supporting projects that address a specific opportunity for fostering equity, inclusion, and community (e.g., projects that implement inclusive teaching strategies, culturally responsive approaches to course (re)design, or equitable grading methods).

The grant program will fund up to four projects, each up to $22,000 over the one-year grant period from August 2021 to June 2022. Funds are intended to make educational research projects possible at the department or program level that may involve curricular revision or the introduction of new curricular components that address a specific need or opportunity in support of undergraduate education. 

PCF Curriculum Grant Projects, 2021-2022

Activating History of Art Teaching: Bringing Connect, Capstone, and other Student Research Experiences into the Curriculum

Whitney Davis, Jun Hu, Anneka Lenssen, Sugata Ray (History of Art)

The fellows worked to develop and test curricular pathways within the History of Art department meant to more immediately bring intending majors and transfer students into a learning community based upon sharable research questions and transferable skills. We focused on the goals of 1) strengthen student opportunities to understand the scope of the field and acquire discipline-specific skill in research methods and theories; and 2) explicitly link courses with the co-curricular opportunities that arise from our faculty members' community- and museum-based work, including student involvement in curatorial projects, museum education programming, the development of accessible and inclusive online content and guides to visual and built culture, etc. Participating faculty and GSRs created and ran two pilot courses meant to test strategies for integrating research into undergraduate teaching. The first followed a “Connect” model oriented to transfer students, and the second offered students a chance to complete a guided “Capstone” research and communication project meant as an opportunity to start synthesizing elements of their B.A. studies.

Enhancing Equity in Molecular & Cellular Physiology by Enriching Upper-Division Courses with Active Learning & Low-Stakes Assessments

Madeline Arnold, Diana Bautista, Polina Lishko, Ellen Lumpkin, Danielle Spitzer (Molecular Cell Biology)

The goal of this project is to overhaul the design of two, upper-division MCB courses in order to close the learning gap between students from historically underrepresented and majority groups in STEM, and to benefit all students by increasing science identity and sense of belonging. The Fellows worked to develop active-learning lesson plans, short video modules that can be assigned for asynchronous lectures, exercises that support active engagement of students and instructors, and equitable learning assessment tools.

Scaffolded Learning for Code Writing Exercises

Michael Ball, Akshit Dewan, Pamela Fox, Tommy Joseph, Anirudh Kothapalli, Roy Zhou (Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences)

CS61A is the first required class in the CS major at Berkeley, and students often have a hard time coming up with a correct solution for the code writing exercises. To scaffold the learning journey and help students be more successful in code writing, we integrated Faded Parsons Problems into the labs and homework this semester. Faded Parsons Problems give students a way to rearrange provided blocks of code into the final solution and fill in blanks to complete the code. Their goal is to guide students toward the construction of an expert solution, so that they can more easily find a correct solution when confronted with a code writing exercise where they must write the code from scratch. We will present our analysis of how student performance was affected by the integration, survey results from students, and key learnings from the integration.

Social Practice with Data - Integrated Curricular Materials for Data Science

Renata Barreto, Andrew Bray (Statistics), Cathryn Carson (History), Ari Edmundson (Data Science Undergraduate Studies), David Harding (Sociology)

This project collaboratively develops interdisciplinary Data Science course materials that use real-world practice to knit together human, contextual, and ethical (HCE) learning with computational and inferential learning. Our course materials help students move through rigorous multidimensional analyses of compelling, socially relevant context -- for instance, on home valuations and property tax assessment in historically redlined Chicago, IL -- to highlight areas of data science that open up socially reflective practice and social justice. Course materials designed on this model are demonstrably engaging to students and help create a class environment where students' diverse identities and experiences are welcomed. Through the project, we show how instructors with different expertise can partner as equals to create and deliver integrated learning experiences that no single discipline can convey on its own. We also show that successfully teaching this integrated material at scale -- for instance, in the junior-level gateway class Data 100, with 1000+ students each semester -- requires changes in pedagogy and course staff (GSI/UGSI) training.