Enabling Underprepared Students to Succeed in STEM Majors

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STEM subjects are challenging for all students. Underpre-pared students face even greater challenges. Often “under-preparedness” does not reflect native ability, but results from prior schooling, compounded by students’ psycho-socio-economic environment. Such students are unlikely to succeed without carefully designed support. I will describe how STEM learning environments and curricula can be de-signed to promote the holistic development and success of underprepared students.

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Diane Grayson is Senior Director of Academic Affairs at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, where she is leading the development of an institutional frame-work for student success. Her PhD in Physics is from the University of Washington, where she was a member of the Physics Education Group. Since returning to South Africa in 1990 she has played numerous roles at several universities, the national quality assurance agency and on national and international committees, all related to helping students succeed, particularly underprepared students.