FROM THE ARCHIVES: NSF Creates New Education and Human Resources Directorate (June 1, 1990)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news.

Throughout his tenure as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Erich Bloch has touted “education and human resources” as a major justification for increasing NSF funding. Now, with two months to go in office, Bloch has decided to reorganize the foundation’s science and engineering education efforts by creating a new Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR). The new directorate will be headed by current NSF Senior Science Advisor Luther Williams.

The old Science and Engineering Education Directorate (SEE) and its assistant director, Bassam Shakashiri, are gone. Shakashiri will join the NSF Director’s office.

The new EHR will include all the programs of the SEE Directorate as well as the NSF programs to promote science and engineering opportunities for women and minorities and persons with disabilities, which are currently housed in the Scientific, Technological, and International Affairs Directorate (STIA). It will also have responsibility for coordinating undergraduate education efforts managed currently by the disciplinary research programs.

Pushed by Congress for years to consolidate and better coordinate NSFs endeavors in science education, Bloch is also responding to some of the recommendations made in an Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) report, “Science Education: From Grade School to Grad School.” The OTA report is often cited by NSF Senate appropriations chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).

The National Science Board approved the reorganization at its May meeting. The House Science, Research and Technology Subcommittee will use an already scheduled hearing on June 7th to examine these changes in detail.

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