The Central Indiana STEM Talent Expansion Program at IUPUI, funded by the NSF, is creating a central Indiana pipeline and a university culture change to increase the number of IUPUI students obtaining STEM degrees. Our project addresses initiatives needed for transforming undergraduate STEM education by propagating, expanding, and creating new research-based educational innovations in undergraduate STEM education at IUPUI.

The primary goal of our project is to employ and assess the impact of several intervention strategies on student success, leading to higher numbers of students graduating with STEM degrees. These intervention strategies include:

Research has established that students who take courses that use active learning outperform students in traditional classes and develop a greater conceptual knowledge of the course content (Astin, 1993; Hake, 1998).  Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) is an innovative, research-based method that has significant effects on student learning and retention via the creation of a continuous feedback loop between the web and the classroom (Novak et al 1998).  Peer-led Team Learning (PLTL) has been successfully established at universities nationwide, including IUPUI, and increases student success by recruiting recent successful students from the course to serve as peer leaders to coach small student groups in a workshop setting devoted to problem-solving (Gaffney and Varma-Nelson 2007).  Summer bridge programs are known to be an effective way to achieve first-year student success, particularly for first generation and minority students (Meyers 2003).  Research on the success of the community college experience as a gateway for first generation and underrepresented minority students has shown the importance of creating a seamless academic pathway for students to successfully transition into a four year college (NCES, 2009), with mathematics being one of the key subjects that determines a student’s future success in a STEM program  (NAS, 2005). 


IUPUI is located in downtown Indianapolis, and is the state's only urban research university, with 22 schools offering over 200 degree programs. IUPUI has a national reputation for its involvement with the City of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis public school systems through the IUPUI UCASE center (Urban Center for the Advancement of STEM Education). Created in 1969 by Indiana legislators, IUPUI embodies the unorthodox partnership between Indiana and Purdue Universities to serve the educational needs in the largest metropolitan region of the state, representing one-fifth of the state's population. IUPUI has grown substantially in its 40-year history, becoming the third largest campus in the state, and is the only 4-year public institution of higher education in this region. More than 60% of IUPUI's 30,100 students are first-generation college attendees and 16% of its student body belongs to minority groups.

Hours employed 25.8 hr/wk 7.2 hr/wk
% new students full time 69% 96%
Top 10% HS class 17.90% 31.20%
1 yr retention rate 68% 90%
6 yr graduation rate 32% 73%
Degrees awarded/total undergraduates 3,356/21,423 (15.7%) 6,352/31,626 (20.0%)
* Indiana University being used to compare IUPUI to a traditional campus.  Source: student retention at IUPUI: Enrollment report and analysis, Fall 2008.

The School of Science (SoS) and the School of Engineering and Technology (SoET) are two of the three largest undergraduate schools by headcount at IUPUI: both schools award Purdue University degrees. Together the two schools are known as leaders in undergraduate STEM education. Both schools have leadership roles in implementation of Project Lead the Way (Engineering and Bio-Medical Sciences) in school districts state-wide, and faculty from both schools are principle investigators of the Indiana-STEM  resource Network. The SoS received two NSF grants for its innovation in teaching science through the Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) and Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) projects. The Math Assistance Center provides a technology-rich environment for collaborative learning, peer mentoring, and supplemental instruction for students in all levels of mathematics. The School of SoS’s Project SEAM, a collaborative effort involving fifteen central Indiana school districts and five postsecondary institutions teamed to create a "seamless" transition between high school and college for all students and funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., has a strong record of providing science and mathematics professional development to hundreds of local high school teachers since the partnership was established in 1999.

Astin, A. W. (1993). What matters in college? Four Critical Years Revisited San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Gafney, L. and Varma-Nelson, P. (2007). Evaluating Peer-Led Team Learning: A Study of Long-Term Effects on Former Workshop Leaders, Journal of Chemical Education, 84, 535-539.

Hake, R. R. (1998). Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: A six-thousand student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses. American Journal of Physics, 66:64-74.

Meyers (2003). Academic-Support Strategies For Promoting Student Retention & Achievement During The First-Year Of College

National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP). (2005). Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. Washington, DC: National Academic Press.

National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). (2009). Students Who Study Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in Postsecondary Education, July 2009.