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Project REAL

Redesigning for Equity & Advancing Learning

Developed in partnership with HSI Initiatives, IRAPS, and selected faculty, Project REAL is designed to provide faculty with a research-based program to engage in comprehensive equity-minded course redesign to improve teaching and learning and contribute to equitable outcomes for students at UC Santa Cruz.

  • Facilitated and closely supported opportunity to redesign a course
  • For key courses in the undergraduate curriculum — beginning with curricular “gateway” courses known to be barriers to student persistence within the major
  • Opportunity for individual faculty or for cohorts of faculty who participate as a team to make connections between sequential courses and/or address curricular coherence within and across major pathways
  • Focuses on student pathways, hidden curriculum, and bridging equity gaps, as well as foundational course design elements, such as aligning learning outcomes, assessments, and teaching and learning activities
  • At the end of the program, faculty will have key elements of their course redesigned and ready for use in the classroom

This program is made possible by generous funding and support from UCSC’s Chancellor and Executive Vice Chancellor/Campus Provost.

How to Participate in Project REAL

We encourage applications from teams of faculty (2–5 people per team) who teach “gateway” courses in the undergraduate curriculum that are sequential or could benefit from curricular coherence within a program and/or across departments. There will be two cohort programs in 2024, one in spring and one in summer.

Spring cohort

  • Application deadline: February 16, 2024
  • Meetings will take place during Spring 2024
  • Participants will meet once a week on Thursdays for two hours from 9:30 to 11:30 AM for nine weeks
  • Ongoing work on revising course materials and/or individual consultation between sessions is expected
  • Expected weekly time commitment is 4 hours (2 hours in facilitated sessions and approx. 2 hours of individual work) per week during the spring quarter
  • Follow-up support will be available before and after you teach your redesigned course
  • 15 participants
  • Remuneration: 1/2 GSR (25%) for senate faculty; partial appointment for lecturers with less than 100% academic year appointments

Summer cohort

  • Application deadline: May 1, 2024
  • Meetings will take place during the first three weeks of Summer Session II
  • Participants will meet twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for three hours from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM for three weeks
  • Ongoing work on revising course materials and/or individual consultation between sessions is expected
  • Expected weekly time commitment is 8 hours (6 hours in facilitated sessions and approx. 2 hours of homework and individual consultations per week) during Summer Session II
  • Follow-up support will be available before and after you teach your redesigned course
  • 15 participants
  • Remuneration: $5,000

2023–24 Facilitators: TBD

Nandini Bhattacharya

Associate Director for Teaching


Lecturer in Mathematics


nandini@ucsc.edu

Noori Chai

Education Specialist for STEM Equity


nrchai@ucsc.edu

Robin Dunkin

Faculty Director


Associate Teaching Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


rdunkin@ucsc.edu

Program Learning Outcomes

By partcipating in Project REAL, you will be able to:

  • Recognize the key elements of equity-minded course redesign for significant learning and apply them to your own course redesign
  • Analyze course level data to see historical student demographics, concurrent and previous enrollments, and comparative outcomes for key student groups and apply insights from the data to your course redesign
  • Construct student surveys to help you get to know your students as learners
  • Develop learning outcomes that clearly articulate the knowledge, skills, and enduring understandings you want students to gain from your course
  • Create a variety of appropriate assessments linked to the course learning outcomes that allow students to demonstrate learning in a variety of ways with ample feedback and many opportunities to reflect, correct, and revise
  • Explore and plan teaching activities that foster learning through student engagement and active participation
  • Collaborate with your teaching team to build a learning community where students are supported, actively participate, and are valued for their contributions
  • Integrate technology into your course to improve equity and accessibility and enhance your teaching and your students’ learning
  • Design a syllabus that communicates expectations and learning outcomes clearly and communicates equity as a value
  • Produce a newly designed course in Canvas that supports significant learning
  • Develop practices for reflection upon your own instructional choices, so that you can continue to enact these reflective processes as you teach and revise future courses