History of PKAL

PKAL Phase II: 1992-1996

The publication of PKAL's Phase I reports coincided with the upswing in national attention to problems throughout the education continuum, as indicated by the many and sundry reports being produced. The PKAL vision of what works and our agenda for action reflected the kind of 'out-of-the-box' thinking that was necessary to achieve systemic reform. Moving into Phase II, PKAL continued its kaleidoscopic perspective, giving attention to:

  • identifying Programs that Work, instances of success in developing, implementing and evaluating new approaches to learning in classroom and lab
  • encouraging faculty as risk-takers and leaders in reform, with special attention to PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century, faculty at an early stage of their career with demonstrated promise as leaders
  • supporting institutional efforts to plan facilities that would accommodate new pedagogies, new technologies, new communities in a safe environment, developing PKAL Volume III: Structures for Science-- A Handbook for Planning Facilities for Undergraduate Natural Science Communities.
  • sponsoring meetings and workshops on all facets of curricular and programmatic change, at which institutional teams were equipped for reform, publishing an Occasional Paper, "The Research-rich Environment" and developing a PKAL internet presence
  • bringing together faculty, presidents, deans and other administrative colleagues to focus on broader institutional issues, in regard to budget and finance, national policies, publishing an Occasional Paper, "Leadership: Challenges for the Future".

PKAL sponsored over forty events from 1992 - 1996, at which approximately 2200 individuals from 550 colleges and universities in all part of the country participated.

Questions raised by participants in PKAL Phase II workshops include:

  • How do you come to an agreement about what your students should know about science, mathematics, technology; about the understandings, skills and capacities they should have when they graduate?
  • What is your internal mechanism for communication that kept the process of reform moving ahead, and engages the broader campus community?
  • How do you evaluate the impact of reform on student learning? What works?

Additional Phase II funding came from the W.M. Keck Foundation and the Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education (U.S. Department of Education), in addition to Phase I funders.