ENE 69500

Leadership, Policy, and Change in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education


MEETING TIME (Spring 2015):  Thursday 10:30 – 1:20 P.M., ARMS, Room 1028


Monica F. Cox
ARMS 1329 
(765) 496-3461

OFFICE HOURS:  Thursdays 1:30- 2:30 or by appointment


This course is targeted to graduate students who are interested in exploring and expanding their understandings of leadership, policy, and change in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) education at all levels.


This course will be framed around a historical and current perspective of STEM policy across various educational domains (e.g., secondary and postsecondary), political organizations (state, national, and international governments), and across different groups of people (e.g., students, teachers, and policymakers) and will examine the relationships among education policy, leadership theories, models of systemic change and STEM constituents and organizations. The class involves a combination of lecture, experiential exercises, discussion, in-class presentations, videos, individual assignments, and team assignments. At the end of the course, students will have opportunities to complete projects and/or produce deliverables (e.g., research proposals) that explore ways that they might add to the scholarship of STEM education policy and influence leadership, policy, and organizational change as it relates to STEM education topics of their choosing.


As a result of taking this course, participants will develop the knowledge and skills to:

  • Identify preconceptions and misconceptions about leadership, policy, and change
  • Develop new ways to think about the leadership process
  • Explore factors that contribute to effective and ineffective leadership within STEM organizations
  • Explore and understand the political and policy dimensions of leadership via theoretical approaches to policy analysis
  • Investigate the roles of STEM education policy at local, state, national, and international levels
  • Develop skills in analyzing policy alternatives and selecting “solutions” within the STEM education domain
  • Evaluate barriers and enablers of diffusion of innovative processes
  • Evaluate challenges for and models of systemic change
  • Explore key aspects and applications of systemic (sustainable and deep) change of educational systems
  • Explore negotiation strategies and ways to implement change within STEM education environments


Synthesize knowledge, Communicate knowledge, Think critically and reflectively, Explain and critique education policy


In-Class Participation and Facilitation 20%
Weekly Questions 10%
Weekly Responses 10%
Case Analysis of Leadership & Policy 20%
Group Change In-Class Deliverable


Synthesis Assignment 30%








Posting: Details about each assignment are found later in the syllabus. Grades will be posted to Blackboard.


Purdue University policy states that all students are expected to be present for every meeting of classes in which they are enrolled. All matters relative to attendance, including the make-up of missed work, are to be arranged between you and the instructor. Only the instructor can excuse you from classes or course responsibilities. In the case of an illness, accident, or an emergency, you should make direct contact with your instructor as soon as possible, preferably before the class. If the instructor cannot be reached directly, a message should be left in the instructor’s department mailbox or with the instructor’s secretary. If you will be absent for more than five days, have not been able to reach the instructor in person or by telephone or through leaving notification of your circumstances with the instructor's secretary, you or your representative should notify the Office of the Dean of Students (765-494-1254) as soon as possible after becoming aware that the absence is necessary. Be advised, you may be asked to provide documentation from an authorized professional or agency that supports an explanation for your absence.


  1. Attend all classes (if you must miss a class, please inform the instructor and make arrangements with other class members for a summary and review).
  2. Read/skim all assigned materials by the assigned time.
  3. Actively participate in class discussions and activities.
  4. Submit all assignments on time.
  5. Follow scholastic conduct policy (See the Purdue University Student Code of Honor at http://www.purdue.edu/univregs/pages/stu_conduct/code_of_honor.html.)


Please note that all assignments must be submitted via Blackboard by 11:59 P.M. on the day that they are due. One letter grade will be deducted for each day that the assignment is late. Make-up assignments may be given only with special permission from the instructor.


Students with disabilities must be registered with Adaptive Programs in the Office of the Dean of Students before classroom accommodations can be provided. If you are eligible for academic accommodations because you have a documented disability that will affect your work in this class, please schedule an appointment with the instructor as soon as possible to discuss your needs.


Purdue prohibits "dishonesty in connection with any University activity. Cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University are examples of dishonesty." [Part 5, Section III-B-2-a, University Regulations] Furthermore, the University Senate has stipulated that "the commitment of acts of cheating, lying, and deceit in any of their diverse forms (such as the use of substitutes for taking examinations, the use of illegal cribs, plagiarism, and copying during examinations) is dishonest and must not be tolerated. Moreover, knowingly to aid and abet, directly or indirectly, other parties in committing dishonest acts is in itself dishonest." [University Senate Document 72-18, December 15, 1972].



  • Historical and modern definitions of leadership
  • Leadership approaches/theories and leadership styles (e.g., transformational leadership, transactional leadership, and “Level 5” leadership)
  • Exploration of power, politics, and influence
  • Case studies of leadership and their applications to STEM topics


  • Examination of STEM domestic and international policies that affect formal and informal educational constituents within preschool-12th grade education and higher education
  • Impact of policies upon diverse stakeholders
  • Implementation and analysis of policy


  • Examination of change theories and models
  • Systemic view of change (multitude of stakeholders)
  • Exploration and evaluation of engineering education transformation initiatives


Vecchio, R.P. (2007). Leadership: Understanding the Dynamics of Power and Influence in Organizations. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

*Additional required readings will be posted on Blackboard and/or distributed in class.


Below is a partial list of references that you may use throughout the semester. Becoming familiar with these readings will expand your understanding of course themes.

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). (1990). Science for All Americans. New York: Oxford University Press.

Fullan, M. (2005). Leadership & sustainability: System thinkers in action. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Gardner, H., & Laskin, E. (1995). Leading minds: An anatomy of leadership. New York, NY: Basic Books.

National Academy of Engineering. (2004). The engineer of 2020: Visions of engineering in the new century.

            Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

National Academy of Engineering. (2005). Educating the engineer of 2020: Adapting engineering education to

            the new century. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Senge, P. (2000). Schools that Learn. Doubleday.

Stone, D., & Patton, B. (1999). Difficult conversations: How to discuss what matters most. New York, NY:



Committee on Science Learning (2007).  Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press http://books.nap.edu/catalog/11625.html#toc

National Research Council (2000).  Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: New Practices for the new Millennium. Committee on Science and Mathematics Teacher Preparation. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. (Executive Summary) http://books.nap.edu/catalog/9832.html#toc

National Science Board (2006). America’s Pressing Challenge - Building a Strong Foundation. (NSB 06-02). http://wayback.archive-it.org/5902/20150819084948/http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsb0602/nsb0602.pdf

National Science Board (2008). Research and Development: Essential Foundation for U.S. Competitiveness in a Global Economy: A Companion to Science and Engineering Indicators - 2008. http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsb0803/nsb0803.pdf

National Science Foundation (2006) Investing in America’s Future Strategic Plan FY 2006-2011 http://nsf.gov/pubs/2006/nsf0648/nsf0648.jsp

Office of Science and Technology Policy, https://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/

National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future, http://nctaf.org/

New Technology High School Project (New Technology Foundation). http://www.newtechnetwork.org/

Science Policy for All https://sciencepolicyforall.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/stem-education-the-value-of-a-scientifically-literate-population/

U.S. Department of Education Policy Documents http://www2.ed.gov/policy/landing.jhtml


Below are a few sites that provide current information about STEM education. Search them frequently to stay abreast of the latest news in STEM education.

American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) First Bell. http://asee.bulletinmedia.com/

This site will e-mail you daily information about happenings in STEM education. You must be a member of ASEE to participate in this service.

The Chronicle of Higher Education. http://chronicle.com/

You can peruse current issues in higher education. Unless you have a paid subscription, you can only access certain articles. Purdue’s library, however, provides access to all articles that are at least one month old.

Education Week. http://www.edweek.org/ew/index.html?intc=thed

This site presents several articles of interest, particularly in K-12 education. You must register to obtain full access to the site.

Inside Higher Ed. http://www.insidehighered.com/

This site provides news about higher education issues. You can sign up for free daily briefings.


Committee on Science and Technology. http://science.house.gov/

This is the Web page of U.S. States House of Representatives; Committee of Science and Technology. The site provides information about the members of the committee, current and past legislative actions in the house and some policy documents on science and technology.

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE). http://www.nae.edu/

NAE’s mission is to promote the technological welfare of the nation by marshaling the knowledge and insights of eminent members of the engineering profession. The NAE is the portal for all engineering activities at the National Academies, which along with the NAE include the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council.

National Science Foundation: http://www.nsf.gov/

All about STEM! News and recent reports would provide good insights on current STEM policies and directions. Please also take a look at possible solicitations, which would inform you of the direction of the STEM policies.


In-Class Participation and Facilitation (20%)

Students will receive credit for attending class and for actively participating in all class discussion. This should be demonstrated by the quality of discussions, prior preparation for these discussions, and overall engagement in the course.

Each student will be responsible for facilitating a discussion on a variety of leadership, policy, and change (LPC) topics at some point during the semester. Your task is to present a brief overview and synthesis of your topic (no more than 20 minutes), to select 4-5 weekly Blackboard questions (see below) posted on Blackboard that might be initial points of discussion, and facilitate this exchange in class.

Weekly Questions (10%)

Before each class, students are required to submit via Blackboard one question based upon reading assignments from the previous week. Sample questions should not represent basic, fact-based questions or definitions presented in course readings but should represent higher order questions that allow the class to engage in deep discussions about course content. Sample questions might compare or contrast differences in methods, theories, or perspectives, or they might ask students to elaborate on complex theories or policies presented in the readings. The instructor will compile all questions prior to class, will post them on Blackboard before class, and will bring a hard copy of these questions to class. Weekly facilitators will be asked to select a minimum 4 questions that will be used as a point of discussion during class. 

Students will receive 0 points if they do not submit questions, partial credit (i.e., 5 points) if they submit questions that do not ask higher order questions about course readings, and full credit (10 points) for their submissions if they submit high quality questions that demonstrate engagement with readings and the creation of higher order questions for the class.

Weekly “So What?” Reflections (10%)

Between the class when students submitted their weekly questions and the next class, students must submit via a Blackboard interactive tool a summary of some aspect of the previous week’s class discussion. This will result in a “So What?” weekly document. Responses should be no more than a paragraph per student. (Be concise!) Responses also should refer to course literature and/or other pertinent examples, not just students’ personal stories or experiences. Place your initials at the end of your response.

Students will receive 0 points if they do not submit responses, partial credit (i.e., 5 points) if they submit responses that do not refer to appropriate literature and/or to other pertinent examples, and full credit (10 points) for their submissions if they submit high quality responses that demonstrate engagement with readings and thoughtful responses to their selected questions.     

Analysis of Leadership and Policy (20%)

For this assignment, students will expound upon a STEM case of their choosing and will write an 8+ page, doubled-spaced critique of this case. Students are expected to answer the following questions at a minimum: What are some of the current policies within the case? What support do you think would be necessary to achieve the desired end? How would you compare your policy change and your strategy with one or more of those within class articles and texts? What role does leadership play within this case? What might you do if you were a leader within this scenario? If applicable, select policy changes that you believe would make a significant improvement in some component of the case, and justify the proposed changes in policies. You are expected to reference class articles and additional texts to support your points. This paper is due by March 19, 2015.

Group Change Deliverable (10%)

In groups of 3-4 students, you will connect theory and practice by identifying potential policy and change elements of engineering education research. Your group will select an engineering education paper and will identify how findings of the paper may be used to promote a change or changes. Also consider how you might engage diverse stakeholders (e.g., STEM educators, researchers, policymakers, and/or teachers) in conversations about STEM education policy related to your findings and how you might propose implementation of your ideas using innovative practices (refer explicitly to the change literature within this part of the course). Deliverables will include a group presentation about your ideas and possible change strategies that might increase the likelihood that your ideas will be implemented. You must also provide a concise written summary addressed to a stakeholder(s) of interest describing your change and possible steps for moving forward with your ideas.

When thinking about this assignment, consider the following:

  • What are the key findings and relevant aspects of the paper that informs your change(s)?
  • What current STEM education initiatives exist related to your proposed change recommendations?
  • In what practical ways might you changes be implemented?
  • How will you communicate your proposed change(s) to targeted audiences?
  • Who are the relevant leaders/stakeholders who will help to sustain your proposed changes?
  • How do your changes relate to STEM education policy?

The assignment is due on April 16, 2015.

Synthesis Assignment (30%)

This synthesis assignment (due by April 30, 2015) will document the content and context that you have chosen to highlight in the areas of Leadership, Policy, and/or Change. It is not tightly specified in an effort to provide flexibility and opportunities for each of you to produce something that is of value to you. Talk with one another and with the instructor to develop your ideas early in the semester. Using a call for proposals, journal or conference proceedings guidelines, or some other external solicitation, you will develop a deliverable that could be disseminated to national or international audiences.

Although this has been an individual assignment in the past, this can be an assignment in which 2 people can work if the deliverables result in projects that are launched before the end of the semester (e.g., semester paper is submitted to a peer-reviewed journal or a workshop is launched among actual students.)

Option 1- Literature Review, Position Paper, or Essay

This option allows you to provide new insight about leadership, change, and/or synthesis topics. The expectation is that the deliverable will be acceptable for publication in peer-reviewed journal. A sample article written as a synthesis assignment for this class can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03043797.2011.635189

Bairaktarova, D., Cox, M.F., & Evangelou, D. (2011). “Leadership training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in Bulgaria,” European Journal of Engineering Education, 36 (6), 585-594.

Option 2- Grant Proposal

Find a Request for Proposals (RFP), and write a proposal that will explore leadership, policy, or change topics within your targeted population. You are welcome to create a RFP across any federal agency, although NSF is the agency where most ENE research is funded. For more information, go to www.nsf.gov or www.grants.gov.

Option 3- Policy Analysis

Identify a global, national, or local STEM education policy that you would like to explore in-depth. Define the policy problem, provide a variety of possible policy alternatives, and explain why one of these alternatives should be pursued. Draw upon course literature to justify your proposed strategy, and engage with relevant stakeholders, if possible. Include with your analysis a cover letter to a stakeholder providing an overview of your policy recommendation and goals for achieving this recommendation.

Option 4- Action Project

This option provides students with ways to apply leadership, change, and/or policy to organizations in which they are involved or hope to be involved. Students might create business or strategic plans for initiatives that they want to start. Deliverables should incorporate leadership, change, and/or policy aspects and should take into consideration individuals who might be influenced by this project.

Option 5- Original Research

Students may draw upon the readings in the course in the development of an original research project. Students should incorporate appropriate methods for conducting a research study and relate their study to course topics. Included within the deliverable should be a draft IRB detailing aspects of the project along with protocol questions and/or instruments.

Option 6- Technology Engagement

Students will integrate leadership, policy, and change and social media. This might involve the creation of a STEM education wiki or website or the creation of a proposed engineering education social network. Prototypes and descriptions of technical innovations are acceptable. The goal of this project would be to engage new audiences in one or more topics introduced in the course.





Readings Due

Jan. 15

Introductions, course syllabus, course overview, and introduction to leadership, policy, and change

See Blackboard

Jan. 22

Leadership/ STEM Education

ENE Class Visitor

Students create groups and work on course assignments


January 29

Leadership/ STEM Education

February 5

Leadership/STEM Education

February 12

Leadership/ STEM Education

February 19


February 26


One-Page Proposal of Synthesis Project Due

March 5


See Blackboard

March 12


March 19

Spring Break (No Class)

Leadership and Policy Case Analysis Due

March 26


See Blackboard

April 2


Finalization of Synthesis Project Topic and Scope Due

April 9


See Blackboard

April 16

Synthesis of Course Topics

Group Change Deliverable Due

April 23

Discussion & Presentation of Synthesis Assignment


April 30

Course Wrap-Up

Synthesis Assignment Due