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Joel Corbo

Join us on February 14 at 2:30pm for a colloquium presented by Joel Corbo, Senior Research Associate in the Center for STEM Learning at the University of Colorado Boulder. He will speak on Supporting Physics Departments for Planning and Implementing Transformational Change. Continue reading for his abstract and biography.


As part of the Effective Practices for Physics Programs (EP3) initiative, a joint effort of the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, we have been running Departmental Action Leadership Institutes (DALIs), which support physics faculty members and their departments in implementing changes to their undergraduate programs. Each participating program chooses a pair of faculty members to act as change leaders, who attend ongoing DALI meetings for one year to learn about and implement effective change practices. These pairs are charged with leading cross-constituency teams in their departments, following the Departmental Action Team (DAT) model. The DALI supports the change leaders in developing skills around engaging in a change effort, supporting a high-functioning team, interfacing with external stakeholders, and developing change agency. In this presentation, we will share the essential factors for the success of DALI through the experiences of ~25 change leaders and their DATs across four cohorts of DALI. We will discuss outcomes experienced by the change leaders and their departments, including improved facilitation skills, increased partnership with students, and improved sense-making about data. Additionally, we will share change leaders’ experiences of factors that impacted the sustainability of their change efforts.


Joel Corbo
Joel Corbo is a Senior Research Associate in the Center for STEM Learning at the University of Colorado Boulder. His work focuses on implementing and studying mechanisms for improving undergraduate education in STEM departments, with a particular focus on organizational/institutional change, equity and inclusion, and community. As a graduate student, he helped to found and lead the Berkeley Compass Project, a student-run organization dedicated to supporting students from marginalized groups in physics, and he co-leads the Access Network, a national network of student-centered equity programs inspired by Compass. Before coming to CU, Joel received a bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT and a Ph.D. in physics from UC Berkeley. As a member of the Whaley group at Berkeley, he studied ultracold atomic gases using quantum Monte Carlo simulation techniques.