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Project Kaleidoscope Regional Networks

The PKAL Regional Networks provide a platform for professors to come together, share knowledge, and collectively work towards fostering an inclusive and equitable environment in STEM education. By leveraging the resources, knowledge, and collaborations offered by these networks, professors can design and implement targeted DEI opportunities that directly address the retention rates of low-income STEM students on their campuses.

The PKAL Regional Networks, which were created by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) were designed to enhance undergraduate education by fostering collaboration and partnerships among higher education institutions. The focus is on developing effective, affordable, and sustainable strategies for advancing STEM education and broadening participation of low-income students. The networks also provide opportunities for university partners to engage in regional professional development events, collaboration opportunities, and to promote excellence in STEM teaching and learning, and by closing gaps and creating opportunities to retain low-income STEM students in several ways:

  1. Collaboration and Partnerships: Through the PKAL Regional Networks, professors can establish collaborations and partnerships with other institutions and organizations that share similar goals of promoting DEI in STEM education. By working together, they can exchange ideas, resources, and best practices for creating inclusive and supportive environments for low-income students.
  2. Professional Development: The PKAL Regional Networks offer opportunities for professors to engage in regional professional development events. Attending these events can enhance their understanding of DEI principles and strategies, enabling them to implement inclusive teaching practices in their classrooms to better support and retain low-income STEM students.
  3. Sharing Best Practices: Professors can learn from the experiences and successes of other institutions within the PKAL Regional Networks. This sharing of best practices can help them identify effective methods and initiatives that have been successful in retaining low-income STEM students, and they can adapt and implement these approaches on their own campuses.
  4. Resource Exchange: Within the PKAL Regional Networks, professors can access a wealth of resources related to DEI in STEM education. These resources may include research papers, toolkits, case studies, and practical guides that can assist them in creating targeted initiatives and support systems to address the unique challenges faced by low-income STEM students.

5. Data Collection and Evaluation: The PKAL Regional Networks encourage data collection and evaluation of initiatives related to STEM education. Professors can use this data to assess the impact of their DEI efforts on the retention rates of low-income students. Evidence-based decision-making will allow them to refine their strategies and ensure that their initiatives are effective in supporting the success of underrepresented students.