Meet the Researcher - Andrew Shepherd

Breakout Room: 9

Researcher Name: Andrew Shepherd
Co Presenters: Lyndsey Koyanagi
Title of Research: COVID-19 Impacts at a Small Mid-Atlantic Liberal-Arts College with Implications for STEM Education
Division Representing: Education
Institution: Wesley College
Institution Location: Delaware
Home State: Delaware
District Number: 1
Advisor/Mentor: Malcolm D'Souza
Funding Source: NSF-EPSCoR and NIH NIGMS IDeA

Research Experience:  
Andrew Shepherd has volunteered with the Special Olympics, Support Projects for Hurricane Irma, and children's basketball teams.

Presentation Experience: 
Andrew Shepherd has also had very similar presentation experiences. He has also presented and shared his experience at the Wesley College open houses, and he also had to make a very similar video presentation on the COVID-19 research regarding the faculty data.

Significance of Research:       
 During the COVID-19 pandemic, with very little preparation and within a brief span of 48 hours, the Wesley College STEM faculty and students triaged into a remote-only form of instruction. Wesley College STEM student COVID-19 impact surveys showed underlying gaps in economic equity, increased family responsibilities, struggles to stay motivated, social isolation, and higher levels of psychological stress. Yet, the crisis demonstrated new ways in which technology can be harnessed and allowed STEM students to reconsider how jobs and skills should be aligned. A STEM faculty COVID-19 check-in survey and interview responses revealed a quick realization that faculty could not rely solely on Wesley's Jenzebar learning management system (MyWesley). To engage their students and to create a supportive learning environment, STEM faculty sought new strategies and approaches for a diverse set of STEM learners. For synchronous e-teaching, the faculty used the Microsoft-Teams and the Zoom video conferencing platforms. Faculty only adopted MyWesley to execute dedicated asynchronous tasks (laboratory assignments, reports, exams). The STEM students were overwhelmingly positive about STEM faculty availability during the crisis. Still, both faculty and students indicated a much stronger preference for the face-to-face delivery of their course content via a traditional classroom setting. 

Uniqueness of Research: 
The only detailed Wesley College academic survey proved that the COVID-19 pandemic was disruptive to student life and prior in-class course-embedded activities. It required faculty and undergraduates to pivot quickly to adopt flexible approaches for self-regulation and new instruction models for student engagement.