My work broadly focuses on understanding culture, community, and identity toward the goal of improving equity and justice within undergraduate STEM Education.
Cultural Change/Departmental Action Teams
How can STEM departments can make sustainable curricular and cultural improvements? This project involves facilitating departmental change through Departmental Action Teams (DATs). DATs are facilitated groups of university faculty members, students, and staff collaborating toward some issue related to undergraduate education in their department. Our research studies how to implement complex change, as well as how change efforts are impacted by local context and culture. We published our book Facilitating Change in Higher Education: The Departmental Action Team Model in 2020.
Quan, G. M., Corbo, J. C., Wise, S., & Ngai, C., Unpacking challenges in student-faculty partnerships on Departmental Action Teams, 2021 PERC Proceedings [Virtual Conference, August 4-5, 2021], edited by M. B. Bennett, B. W. Frank, and R. E. Vieyra, doi:10.1119/perc.2021.pr.Quan.
Ngai, C., Pilgrim, M. E., Reinholz, D. L., Corbo, J. C., & Quan, G. M. (2020). Developing the DELTA: Capturing Cultural Changes in Undergraduate Departments. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 19(2), ar15.https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.19-09-0180
Quan, G., Joel C. Corbo, Noah D. Finkelstein, Alanna Pawlak, Karen Falkenberg, Christopher Geanious, Courtney Ngai, Clara Smith, Sarah Wise, Mary E. Pilgrim, and Daniel L. Reinholz (2019). Designing for institutional transformation: Six principles for department-level interventions. Physical Review Physics Education Research. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.010141
Reinholz, D., Ngai, C., Quan, G., Pilgrim, M., Corbo, J., & Finkelstein, N. (2019). Fostering sustainable improvements in science education: An analysis through four frames. Science Education. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.21526
Quan, G., Corbo, J., Ngai, C., Reinholz, D., & Pilgrim, M. (2018). Research on University Facultys’ Reasoning about how Departments Change. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2018, Washington, DC. http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/perc.2018.pr.Quan
Corbo, J., Quan, G., Falkenberg, K., Geanious, C., Ngai, C., Pilgrim, M., Reinholz, D., & Wise, S. (2018). Externalizing the Core Principles of the Departmental Action Team (DAT) model. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2018, Washington, DC. http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/perc.2018.pr.Corbo
The Access Network
As an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley, I was a participant and student leader in The Berkeley Compass Project, where I learned the importance of community and student agency in undergraduate physics. Compass seeks to foster community building, participation in authentic STEM practices, and student leadership, all toward the goal of supporting equity and inclusiveness in STEM.
Compass has inspired and influenced similar programs at other institutions, including the S-STEM Scholars Program at the University of Maryland. Part of UMD’s S-STEM program is Physics 299B, a seminar that gets students started in undergraduate research experiences, which I co-designed.
I am a co-founder of the Access Network, a NSF-funded research-practice community of Compass-like programs. The Access Network supports sites through conference travel, fellowships to document and disseminate innovations, travel between member sites, and an Annual Assembly where we gather to share ideas.
Quan, G., Gutman, B., Corbo, J., Pollard, B., & Turpen, C. (2019, January). The Access Network: Cultivating equity and student leadership in STEM. In Proceedings of the 2019 Physics Education Research Conference. https://doi.org/10.1119/perc.2019.pr.Quan
Amezcua, F., Quan, G., & Turpen, C. (2020, July). Students’ exploring and refining their equity ethic within the Access Network. In Proceedings of the 2020 Physics Education Research Conference. https://doi.org/10.1119/perc.2020.pr.Amezcua
Physics identities and practices within Undergraduate Research Experiences
How do physics contexts allow for students to develop identities as people who can do physics? This work studies how students’ identity development is intertwined with participation in physics practices as well as racialized and gendered notions of what is “normative” within physics. Understanding how students come to identify (or not) with physics can help us identify ways to make physics more inclusive.
Quan, G.,Turpen, C., Elby, A., (2016) Attending to scientific practices within undergraduate research experiences. In 2016 PERC Proceedings. Sacramento, CA, July 20-21, 2016, edited by D. L. Jones, L. Ding, and Adrienne Traxler. http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/perc.2016.pr.058
Quan, G., Elby, A., (2015) Connecting Self-Efficacy and Nature of Science Shifts in Undergraduate Research Experiences In 2015 PERC Proceedings. College Park, MD, July 29-30, 2015, edited by A. D. Churukian, D. L. Jones, and Lin Ding. Retrieved from. http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/perc.2015.pr.062
Fine-Grained Analyses of Practices
As students engage in a variety of scientific and engineering design practices, how can we evaluate the productivity of that engagement? This work closely analyzes the the moment-to-moment dynamics of students engaging in scientific and engineering design practices.
Sohr, E. R., Gupta, A., Johnson, B. J., & Quan, G. M. (2020). Examining the dynamics of decision making when designing curriculum in partnership with students: How should we proceed?. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 16(2), 020157.
Quan, G., Gupta, A., (2019) Tensions in the Productivity in Design Task Tinkering. In Journal of Engineering Education 109(1), 88-106. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1002/jee.20303
Quan, G., Gupta, A., & Elby, A. (2015) Problematizing Best Practices for Pairing in K-12 Student Design Teams In 122th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition. Seattle: American Society of Engineering Education. Seattle, WA: American Society of Enginering Education. Retrieved from http://www.asee.org/public/conferences/56/papers/12565/view
Quan, G., Gupta, A., (2014) Finding Productivity in Design Task Tinkering. In Polman, J. L., Kyza, E. A., O’Neill, D. K., Tabak, I., Penuel, W. R., Jurow, A. S., O’Connor, K., Lee, T., and D’Amico, L. (Eds.). (2014). Learning and becoming in practice: The International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2014, Volume 3 (1607-1608). Boulder, CO: International Society of the Learning Sciences.