PDP Teaching Venues

PDP participants design and teach an inquiry activity in a PDP “teaching venue.” These teaching venues are opportunities for PDP participants to put what they have learned about teaching into practice in an environment that is supportive, open to innovative teaching, and relatively unconstrained. Venues are arranged each year, and may be in flux during the PDP application process, right up until the Inquiry Institute, so we encourage those interested to check back in for the most current information. Applicants are welcome to update their preferences throughout the process. Typical venues are listed below.

PREP          Summer Schools          Technical Short Courses                        
WEST         Bridge Programs           Demonstration Labs

Preparation for Research Experiences Program (PREP)

Teaching dates: May-June, depending upon program

PREP is designed to prepare undergraduates for scientific research and engineering design experiences. The program is based on the “short courses” designed by the Center for Adaptive Optics and used by the Akamai Internship Program. ISEE offers PREPs in a range of fields, and most often these programs are tailored to support undergraduates’ summer research or engineering experiences. Each PREP is designed and taught by a small team of participants in the Professional Development Program (PDP). These teams of instructors work with the mentors and/or program staff to identify background knowledge, skills and attitudes that will help undergraduate researchers to successfully integrate into the research environment and be a productive researcher. PREPs can be 1-5 days in length depending upon the identified needs and availability of the PDP instructional team. For example, the 4-day Akamai Short Course is our longest version of a PREP. PREPs include one or more inquiry activities, and the team is encouraged to design and teach other components that build research, design, teamwork, and/or communication skills; prepare students for socio-cultural norms in the STEM research environment; expose students to academic or career pathways; or build community amongst the students. A variation of PREP is the EXPRES (Explaining Project Results) program, which is offered mid-way through a summer research experience and focuses on explaining results.

Past PREPs have been taught for:

  • Akamai Internship Program (“Short Course” Hilo, Hawaii)
  • University of Colorado Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics REU Program (Boulder)
  • Dunlap Institute (Toronto, Canada)
  • Center for Science & Engineering Partnerships (Santa Barbara)
  • Carnegie Observatories (Pasadena, CA)
  • Minority Access to Biomedical Careers (Santa Cruz)
  • ACCESS Biomedical Bridge program (Santa Cruz)

Workshop for Engineering and Science Transfers (WEST)

Teaching dates: mid to late September, depending on academic year

WESTs are held every year in September, just before the start of classes at UCSC. WEST is designed to give students who are transferring from other institutions a jump-start on entering UCSC as science and engineering majors. WESTs include inquiry activities, introduction to diverse STEM majors and research opportunities, information on support programs, and more. WESTs can focus on any science or engineering discipline, and are a great way to expose incoming transfer students to interdisciplinary fields of study, or to fields in which they may have had little previous experience.

Opportunities and expectations for PDP participants on WEST teams: WEST is an opportunity to contribute to the success of students coming to UCSC primarily from community colleges. Attrition rates for these transfer students are high, and programs like WEST can make a big difference in their success at the university. PDP participants on WEST teams are invited to be involved in other aspects of WEST, such as putting together panel presentations, arranging faculty or industry speakers, offering lab tours, or other new ideas. The teaching experience for PDP participants is approximately two days.

Past WESTs have included:

  • BioWEST participants practiced scientific analysis and technical skills relating to cytogenetics, the central dogma, and the discoveries of Watson and Crick.
  • EcoWEST explored how abiotic factors structure ecological communities. Based on actual fieldwork in the UCSC forests and meadows, students experienced concepts, inquiry processes, and technical skills fundamental to the science and practice of ecology.
  • EngineeringWEST engaged learners through the application of engineering methods to understand fundamental concepts in working with digital images. Students worked with digital encoding, spatial brightness and resolution, and evaluated tradeoffs to solve a real-world problem.
  • EcoDesignWEST examined sustainable development and renewable energy systems in the built environment.  Students learned about energy alternatives and ecological design principles through interactive, hands-on activities in sustainable engineering.

Summer Schools

Teaching dates: varies

Summer schools are fairly common within technical communities, and are often 1-2 week programs focused on a specialty of the host institution. Audiences are often graduate students, postdocs, and professionals, although some summer schools target undergraduates. PDP teams enhance the overall short course by bringing high quality lab and/or project experiences into summer schools.

Opportunities and expectations for PDP participants on summer school teams: PDP participants teaching in summer school venues might teach just their inquiry activity, but they could be involved in teaching other aspects of the summer school as well, or perhaps the entire session. For PDP participants, summer schools are good opportunities to teach at the graduate level and above, and on a topic that is very closely related to their own work. In some cases, advisors are more supportive of participation in summer schools because they provide additional training closely related to participants’ research, and serve a community that provides rich networking opportunities.

Past Summer Schools:

  • CfAO Summer School on Adaptive Optics
  • Dunlap Institute Instrumentation Summer School
  • West African Young Astronomers Summer School

Bridge Programs

Teaching dates: usually summer, specific dates depend upon program

These programs help students “bridge” the space between one step in their education and another. Often the bridge programs of ISEE partners serve community college students who are transferring to four-year institutions, or recent high school graduates who are embarking on STEM college degrees. PDP participants may design an entire bridge program, or design a segment of an extended program.

Past Bridge Programs:

  • Summer Institute in Mathematics and Science at UC Santa Barbara
  • Summer programs for entering and transferring students at Kapiolani Community College on Oahu
  • Summer Undergraduate Math and Science (SUMS) program at Hartnell College

Technical Short Courses

Technical Short Courses are aimed at college students and recent graduates, and are designed to build participants’ technical, problem solving, and professional skills. Courses also include a career development activity (e.g., resume review, mock interviews), which provides an excellent opportunity for participants to network with prospective employers.

Past Technical Short Courses:

  • Akamai/National Solar Observatory (NSO) Short Course: Offered each November on Maui, which focuses on job skills and opportunities with NSO and the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, as well as local job opportunities.

Demonstration Labs for Transforming Courses

Teaching dates: May-June, with additional teaching in Fall or Winter Quarters

This new ISEE venue was stimulated by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI; #52008112; P. Koch, PI) to transform UCSC undergraduate introductory courses in biology, chemistry and physics. PDP teams will work with course instructors to identify specific course learning outcomes that can be addressed through an inquiry lab activity. The team will design and teach the activity as a freshman workshop (outside of a formal course), demonstrating a full laboratory experience. The workshop will be carefully designed to be aligned with PDP themes and curriculum, and will prioritize the professional development of participants, as do all PDP venues.

Based on the workshop, team members will then design and teach an activity in one of UCSC’s new transformed courses, including the following possibilities:

  • A revised version of the demonstration workshop broken out over multiple course periods
  • A component of the demonstration workshop
  • An activity based on the demonstration workshop

These possibilities are currently under discussion, and because this is part of an innovative project, participants teaching on these teams will help in defining the best ways to apply PDP in larger course formats. Applicants to the PDP should note that participants funded to be on one of the HHMI teams will have an additional expectation beyond the regular time commitment. However, the exciting opportunity to test the flexibility of different components of the activity in live application to the transformation of undergraduate introductory courses will immediately allow participants to apply what they learned in the PDP in new ways.