Tag Archive for Dierker

Dierker, Rose Win $2.8M NSF Award for Innovative Approach to Teaching Statistics

Lisa Dierker

Wesleyan professors Lisa Dierker and Jennifer Rose were recently awarded a $2.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to extend and disseminate their research on passion-driven statistics. The grant begins in the fall of 2018 and extends through 2023.

Recognizing the rapidly increasing importance of data-oriented skills in the modern workforce, passion-driven statistics was developed as a novel approach to make statistics and quantitative methods courses more accessible and engaging, particularly for traditionally marginalized students. It moves away from canned exercises, toward more applied, real-world, project-based learning experiences.

”An empowering curriculum needs to rise to many challenges,” Dierker said. “Those include promoting inquiry across a wide range of disciplines, building new skills as challenges arise, facilitating the use of modern computing tools, providing support for students regardless of educational background, and framing statistics as an exciting set of tools for understanding a complex world. We are confident in and excited about this project’s ability to do all of that.”

Dierker Authors Article on ‘Passion-Driven’ Approach to Teaching Statistics, Data Analysis

Lisa Dierker

Lisa Dierker

Lisa Dierker, the Walter Crowell University Professor of Social Sciences, professor of psychology, is the author of a new article, “Falling in Love with Statistics: Shaping Students’ Relationships With Data.” It was published in October in Scientia, a site that seeks to open a dialogue between science and society.

Dierker writes about the novel approach, called Passion-Driven Statistics, that she and her team at Wesleyan developed to teach statistics and data analysis to students from diverse backgrounds. According to the article, it is a “multidisciplinary, project-based approach that is both supportive and engaging for students at all levels of statistical mastery and those coming from diverse educational backgrounds.”

Wesleyan’s Passion Driven Statistics Curriculum Taught at Yale

This summer, Lisa Dierker, professor of psychology, taught high school students from Bridgeport, Conn. about passion driven statistics as part of the Yale University-Bridgeport GEAR UP Partnership.

This summer, Lisa Dierker, professor of psychology, taught high school students from Bridgeport, Conn. about passion driven statistics as part of the Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP Partnership.

Wesleyan’s Passion Driven Statistics curriculum introduces students to statistics by allowing them to ask and answer statistical questions that they care about.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Passion Driven Statistics model has been successfully implemented through the Applied Data Analysis course at Wesleyan, created by Lisa Dierker, professor of psychology, director of pilot programs for the Center for Pedagogical Innovation. The course is taught by several faculty from Wesleyan’s Quantitative Analysis Center.

“What I want is for students to do when get out of this course is to encounter data in the world and say, ‘I can’t wait to do something with it,’ and to have an understanding of what might be possible,” Dierker said.

The program includes 15 hours of video lessons and supporting materials. It’s adapted for virtual learning on Schoology, Moodle , EdX and Coursera and is offered free of charge for teachers and learners worldwide.

Passion Driven Statistics is a new way to approach statistics by shifting the focus from solely mathematics to a uniquely-applied learning experience. Topics come from a large range of disciplines including psychology, sociology, government and environmental science. Students generate hypotheses based on existing data, conduct a literature review, prepare data for analysis, conduct descriptive and inferential statistical analyses, present research findings to expert and novice audiences, and learn statistical analysis software packages.

This past summer, the Yale University-Bridgeport GEAR UP Partnership adopted Wesleyan’s Passion-Driven Statistics curriculum for their summer program at Yale. High school students from Bridgeport, Conn. benefited from the two-week program.

This film, below, which features Wesleyan’s Lisa Dierker, Jalon Alexander and Sarah Jeffrey, follows the Bridgeport students as they complete their Passion Driven Statistics projects and present their research posters:


 

Dierker, Mukerji Honored as Women of Innovation

Lisa Dierker

Lisa Dierker

Lisa Dierker, professor of psychology, director of pilot programs for the Center for Pedagogical Innovation, and Ishita Mukerji, the Fisk Professor of Natural Science, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, professor of integrative sciences, were both honored at the 12th annual Women of Innovation Awards. Presented by the Connecticut Technology Council, the awards celebrate the energy, creativity and success of women and students from Connecticut’s science and technology community.

Both professors were honored in the category of Academic Innovation and Leadership. The celebration was held April 6 in Plantsville, Conn.

Dierker was honored for her work developing a curriculum to introduce students to a passion-driven, project-based course in applied statistics, data analysis and programming. Through a growing network of high schools, community colleges, and universities as well as a massive open online course (MOOC), she is dedicated to creating real access for women and other underserved populations, both locally and across the globe.

Ishita Mukerji

Ishita Mukerji

Mukerji was recognized for her research focused on the study of protein-DNA interactions to understand the mechanisms of gene expression, DNA replication and DNA repair. She previously served as dean of science and mathematics at Wesleyan, where she helped to establish the Wesleyan Math and Science Scholars program and the College of Integrative Sciences.

Wesleyan MOOCs Topic of Academic (Technology) Roundtable

On Oct. 29, the Academic Technology Roundtable (AtR) focused on Wesleyan's Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), from design to implementation.

On Oct. 29, the Academic (Technology) Roundtable (A(t)R) focused on Wesleyan’s Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), from design to implementation. A(t)R lunches are designed to promote conversation, cooperation and the sharing of information, ideas and resources among faculty members, librarians, graduate students and staff.

Speakers included Jennifer Rose, professor of the practice and research professor of psychology, and Dan Mercier, instructional design director for the Center for Pedagogical Innovation.

Speakers included, at left, Dan Mercier, instructional design director for the Center for Pedagogical Innovation, and Jennifer Rose, professor of the practice and research professor of psychology.

Center for Pedagogical Innovation Creates Academy for Project-Based Teaching and Learning

Chris Othon, assistant professor of physics, is teaching a project-based teaching and learning course. (Photo by Rebecca Goldfarb Terry '19)

Chris Othon, assistant professor of physics, is teaching a project-based teaching and learning course. (Photo by Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19)

A new Academy for Project-Based Teaching and Learning will encourage students and faculty to build knowledge and skills by investigating and responding to complex questions, problems and challenges within and across disciplines.

Hosted by Wesleyan’s Center for Pedagogical Innovation, the Academy’s project-based approach includes teaching significant content at the heart of each academic discipline, and cutting edge competencies in problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity/innovation.

“The Academy will help us build capacity to increase the number of courses in the undergraduate curriculum that incorporate project-based teaching and learning methods,” said Lisa Dierker, professor of psychology and director of pilot programs at the Center for Pedagogical Innovation. “We hope that this initiative will further our efforts to provide students with a pragmatic liberal education that will serve them well beyond their four years at Wesleyan.”

Long Thanh Bui, visiting assistant professor of American studies, is teaching Asian American History, one of five project-based teaching and learning courses at Wesleyan this fall. 

Long Thanh Bui, visiting assistant professor of American studies, is teaching Asian American History, one of five project-based teaching and learning courses offered at Wesleyan this fall. (Photo by Will Barr ’18)

As part of the Academy, six Wesleyan faculty are teaching introductory project-based courses this fall, including Bill Johnston (HIST 381, Japan and the Atomic Bomb); Chris Othon (Physics 113, General Physics); Brian Stewart (Physics 115, Newtonian Mechanics); Kim Diver (E&ES 332, Introduction to GIS); Roger Grant (MUSC103, Materials and Design) and Long Bui (AMST 231, Asian American History).

Wesleyan’s commitment to project-based learning stems from its demonstrated effectiveness and opportunities for transformative education, Dierker said.

Davis Foundation Supports Academy for Project-Based Learning

Lisa Dierker, professor of psychology and director of pilot programs for the Center for Pedagogical Innovation, received a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation in July. The three-year grant worth $300,000 will support the new Academy for Project-Based Teaching and Learning.

The Academy for Project-Based Teaching and Learning, which is under development, will encourage students and faculty to build knowledge and skills by investigating and responding to complex questions, problems, and challenges within and across disciplines. The cornerstones of the project-based approach include significant content at the heart of each academic discipline, and cutting edge competencies in problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity/innovation.

Dierker will oversee this program and work with Wesleyan faculty, faculty at collaborating institutions, educational consultants, and supporting staff, to coordinate pedagogical and curricular development efforts. The Academy will be housed within and supported by Wesleyan’s new Center for Pedagogical Innovation and Life Long Learning Center.

The Davis Educational Foundation grant will support faculty stipends, course relief or course overload pay in the academic year for faculty participants, honoraria and travel support for outside consultants, travel support for faculty and collaborators, evaluation and a culminating meeting of project participants.

The grant was received from the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis’ retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarket.

Dierker, Rose, Alexander BA/MA ’14, ’15 Co-Author Article on Sexually Transmitted Infection Rates in Mississippi

Professors Lisa Dierker and Jennifer Rose, along with Jalen Alexander BA/MA ’14,’15, are the co-authors of an article titled “It Is Complicated: Sexual Partner Characteristic Profiles and Sexually Transmitted Infection Rates within a Predominantly African American Population in Mississippi,” published in the May 2015 issue of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Vol. 42, No. 5.

Dierker is professor of psychology, director of pilot programs for the Center for Pedagogical Innovation. Rose is professor of the practice and research professor of psychology for the Center for Pedagogical Innovation and director of the Institutional Review Board for Academic Affairs. Alexander is co-chair of the Center for African American Studies Advisory Board.

Mississippi has among the highest prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States. Understanding sexual networks can provide insight into risk factors for transmission and guide prevention interventions.

In this study, the co-authors obtained information from 1,437 participants, primarily African American (95 percent) adults presenting for care at an STI clinic in Jackson, Mississippi. Latent class analysis identified underlying population subgroups with unique patterns of response on a comprehensive set of 14 sexual partner variables, such as living with or having a child with a partner, partner dependence and trust, 1-time sexual encounters, multiple main partners, substance use, sexual concurrency, and incarceration.

Classes were compared on participant age, sex, sexual orientation, public assistance, lifetime partners, relationship status, and self-reported past-year STI.

The co-authors discovered that three classes emerged. Class 1 (n = 746) participants were less dependent on partners and less likely to live with or have a child with a partner; Class 2 participants (n = 427) endorsed multiple STI risk factors, including partner incarceration, 6 or more lifetime partners, sexual concurrency, one-time sexual encounters, and substance use at last sex; and Class 3 participants (n = 226) were more likely to be in dependent, committed relationships with children. Class 2 had a higher proportion of self-report past-year STIs (36.7 percent) compared with Classes 1 (26.6 percent) and 3 (26.1 percent). The researchers concluded that certain partner factors such as incarceration, substance use and concurrency may contribute to increased STI risk.

Wesleyan Announces New Data Science Specialization on Coursera

Jennifer Rose (shown here) and Lisa Dierker are leading a new specialization in data science on Coursera.

Wesleyan faculty Jennifer Rose, pictured above, and Lisa Dierker are leading a new specialization in data science on Coursera.

This month, Wesleyan will launch a new specialization on Coursera in the rapidly growing field of data science. The four-MOOC (massive open online course) sequence, together with a final capstone project, will offer learners a verified certificate of completion that they may share with prospective or current employers.

Wesleyan’s specialization, Data Analysis and Interpretation, is one of more than 30 new business, computer science, and data science specializations starting on Coursera on Sept. 15. (Learn more on Coursera’s blog.)

Wesleyan is continually expanding its offerings on Coursera, and in January 2016, plans to introduce a new Creative Writing specialization.

QAC Hosts Final Exam Evaluation, Poster Session

More than 100 students presented their quantitative analysis research Dec. 5 in Beckham Hall. 

More than 100 students presented their quantitative analysis research Dec. 5 in Beckham Hall.

On Dec. 5, the Quantitative Analysis Center (QAC) hosted its annual student research final exam evaluation event for its QAC 201 course. More than 100 students presented their projects at a poster session to fellow students, faculty, alumni and friends of Wesleyan.

Dierker, Beveridge Receive NSF Grant to Expand “Passion-Driven Statistics” Project

Lisa Dierker, professor of psychology, and David Beveridge, professor of chemistry and the Joshua Boger Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, have received a four-year grant for $599,995 from the National Science Foundation’s Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (TUES) program.

This Phase II grant, awarded in August 2013, will support their work on “Passion-Driven Statistics: A multidisciplinary project-based supportive model for statistical reasoning and application,” which began with the development of the QAC 201 “Applied Data Analysis” course and will soon be implemented at other institutions.

Wesleyan Offers Passion-Driven Statistics on Coursera

Lisa Dierker, professor of psychology, chair of the Quantitative Analysis Center, is bringing her Passion-Driven Statistics course to the online world, according to a story in Forbes. Thirteen thousand students have already registered for the MOOC, which allows students to use statistics to study topics that interest them.

“Thirteen thousand students have signed up…I could teach 13,000 people how to use SAS,” Dierker marveled. “The whole world of possibility is completely changing now.”