STEM education

NSF Seeks Nominations for Advisory Committees

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued its annual call for recommendations for membership to its various advisory committees and technical boards. These committees advise NSF’s offices and directorates on program management, research direction, and policies impacting the agency.  Committees of particular interest to the COSSA community include the Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) and the Advisory Committee for STEM Education (EDU). Guidelines for recommendations and committee contact information can be found here. Recommendations for membership are maintained for 12 months.  

Biden Administration Designates Regional Innovation and Technology Hubs Program

On October 23, President Biden announced the designation of the inaugural 31 Tech Hubs program, as well as recipients of 29 Tech Hubs Strategy Development Grants. As part of the CHIPS and Science Act (see previous COSSA coverage), this program aims to establish and support regional innovation centers, fostering growth and technological advancement across various regions. Each hub will utilize the unique strengths of its community and regional industry to build and scale their respective Innovation and Technology Hub. Additionally, numerous organizations throughout the country will receive Strategy Development Grants to strengthen their capabilities, with potential for future hub designation. The program represents a comprehensive…

NSF Invests $18.8M in Inaugural Cohort for ExLent Program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced its inaugural cohort of the Experiential Learning for Emerging and Novel Technologies (ExLENT) program, investing $18.8 million across 27 teams at U.S. institutions of higher education to expand practical learning opportunities and grow talent nationwide. This includes support for teams from minority-serving institutions and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Initiated by NSF’s Directorates for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) and STEM Education (EDU), ExLENT is primed to offer hands-on learning experiences in sectors outlined in the CHIPS and Science Act. This spans areas like advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum information science, and…

NSF Supports Efforts to Broaden Participation in the Nation’s Technology Workforce

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has pledged a commitment of nearly $5.8 million towards two pivotal projects, partnering with the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS). Aimed at promoting inclusivity in the advanced degree programs across key technological areas identified in the CHIPS and Science Act, this investment will bolster data resources and aide endeavors in the recruitment and retention of domestic graduate students from diverse backgrounds in STEM fields. Their collaborative goal with CGS is to broaden the scope of existing survey designs to collect data on graduate applications, admissions, enrollment, and completion rates. Encompassing around 60 institutions, this survey is expected to…

DHS Designates ‚ÄúDemography and Population Studies‚ÄĚ as STEM Degree

On July 12, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a Federal Register notice adding ‚ÄúDemography and Population Studies‚ÄĚ to the programs within the DHS sciences, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) designated degrees program list. This addition allows international students to remain in the United States for two years of ‚ÄúOptional Practical Training‚ÄĚ as opposed to the previous one year. The Population Association of America (PAA), a COSSA Governing Member, worked with its membership to secure designation of ‚ÄúDemography and Population Studies‚ÄĚ within this category. Read more about this successful change on the PAA website here. 

New Social Science Fields Added to DHS List of STEM Programs

On January 21, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) updated its list of STEM Designated Degree Programs. F-1-visa-holding students completing degrees within these fields of study may apply for 24-month extensions to their visas to undertake optional practical training (OPT). A number of the fields added to the list are relevant to the social and behavioral sciences, including: Human-Centered Technology Design Anthrozoology Economics and Computer Science Geography and Environmental Studies Mathematical Economics Data Science, General Data Analytics, General, and Business Analytics. The Federal Register notice announcing the change includes more information about the process for petitioning to add fields to…

National Academies Holds DEI Summit

On June 29 and 30, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) held a summit to address the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in 21st century science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) organizations. The summit took place over the course of two days with discussions revolving around how systemic racism affects individuals of underrepresented racial and ethnic group in STEMM careers and how to implement strategies and policies that will advance diversity in STEMM environments and organizations. The first day included discussions on the systemic and structural nature of racism and bias, diving into the…

NSF Seeks Input on Future Convergence Accelerator Topics, Midscale STEM Education Infrastructure

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a request for information (RFI) on future topics for the NSF Convergence Accelerator. The Convergence Accelerator is a capability within NSF to accelerate use-inspired convergence research in areas of national importance via partnerships between academic and non-academic stakeholders. The Convergence Accelerator is entering its third funding cycle and has previously featured tracks related to NSF‚Äôs Industries of the Future (IotF) initiative and Big Ideas related to Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF), Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR), Quantum Leap (QL). The RFI is seeking ideas for new topics that build upon…

NSF Seeking Comments on STEM Education Strategic Plan

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced it is accepting stakeholder comments on an upcoming Federal STEM Education Strategic Plan. This strategic plan, which is released roughly every five years, serves as a guide for developing STEM education programs at federal agencies as well as identifying areas for future improvement. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is a stated focus in this round of the Federal STEM Education Strategic Plan. NSF is seeking comments on the following issues: Future opportunities in STEM education; Developing STEM education digital resources; Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM; Engaging students where disciplines converge;…

NSF Releases Dear Colleague Letter on Social Science Perspectives on Graduate Education

On December 16, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a Dear Colleague Letter, signed by the Assistant Directors for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) and the Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR), to draw the attention of the social science community to funding opportunities in the two directorates related to research in graduate education. The letter (NSF 20-030) follows a workshop and report from the National Academies of Sciences on Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century and a workshop on Graduate Training in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Funding opportunities include research grants, traineeships, and capacity…

White House Releases STEM Education Strategic Plan

On December 4, the White House released Charting a Course for Success: America‚Äôs Strategy for STEM Education, a strategic plan developed with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science and Technology Council Committee on STEM Education. The five-year strategic plan seeks to ensure all Americans have access to quality education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Goals include building a strong foundation of STEM literacy, increasing diversity in STEM, and preparing the STEM workforce of the future. The plan lays out pathways to these goals, including developing strategic STEM partnerships, engaging students…

Academies Releases ‚ÄúScience and Engineering for Grades 6-12‚ÄĚ

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) released a new consensus study report, Science and Engineering for Grades 6-12: Investigation and Design at the Center. The report revisits the National Research Council‚Äôs 2006 America‚Äôs Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science and reviews relevant research with a focus on how to engage today‚Äôs middle and high school students in science and engineering. This report provides guidance for teachers, administrators, creators of instructional resources, and leaders in teacher professional learning on how to support students. Recommendations center around changing science and engineering instruction to focus on investigation and design…

NSF Announces new STEM Education Advisory Panel

The National Science Foundation (NSF), along with the Department of Education, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the appointment of 18 members of the new science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education advisory panel on July 11. The panel, authorized by the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, was created to encourage U.S. scientific and technological innovations in education.¬† Gabriela Gonzalez, deputy director of the Intel Foundation at the Intel Corporation, will chair the panel and David Evans, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, will serve as vice chair. More…

NASEM Report Outlines Future of Graduate STEM Education

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recently released a new consensus study report on Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century, which outlines ways to better to prepare students from all backgrounds for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The study was written by a committee chaired by Alan Leshner, CEO Emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Burroughs Welcome Fund, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the Spencer Foundation. The report describes an ideal system of STEM graduate education and outlines…

New NASEM Report Identifies ‚ÄúIndicators for Monitoring Undergraduate STEM Education‚ÄĚ

On May 21, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) hosted a webinar to mark the release of a new report, Indicators for Monitoring Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education. The goal of the report was to improve undergraduate STEM education by developing metrics by which it can be measured. To do this, NASEM conducted a consensus study of indicators that would allow STEM education quality to be tracked over time. The report found that improving the quality and impact of undergraduate STEM education would require progress towards: (1) ‚Äúincreasing students‚Äô mastery of STEM concepts and…

National Academies Requests Input on Two Higher Education and Workforce Studies

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine‚Äôs Board on Higher Education and Workforce is requesting input for its consensus studies on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century and the Next Generation Researchers Initiative. The Committee on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century Workforce is inviting comments and reactions on previously received input on competencies and core educational elements for Masters and PhD programs. The opportunity to provide input is open until September 22, 2017. The Committee on the Next Generation Researchers Initiative is requesting input on the barriers that members of the next generation of…

National Academies Publishes K-12 Behavioral and Social Sciences Education Workshop Proceedings

The Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has published the proceedings of their recent workshop entitled ‚ÄúThe Social and Behavioral Science in K-12 Education: Past, Present, and Future.‚ÄĚ The brief includes a summary of the seminar held in November 2016, perspectives from different social and behavioral science disciplines, and recommended next steps. The brief can be read here. Back to this issue‚Äôs table of contents.

National Academies Seeks Comments on Indicators for Undergrad STEM Education

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine‚Äôs (NAS) Board on Science Education (BSE) seeks comments on its draft report, Developing Indicators for Undergraduate STEM Education. An expert panel, the Committee on Developing Indicators for Undergraduate STEM Education, was convened to develop national indicators for monitoring the quality of undergraduate STEM. The Committee proposes ‚Äúa conceptual framework of goals and objectives for improving the quality of undergraduate STEM.‚ÄĚ A two-phase study, the Committee now seeks input as it prepares to develop indicators. A series of questions for consideration can be accessed on BSE‚Äôs website. In addition, a one-day public meeting…

Academies Releases Report on Science Literacy

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released findings and conclusions from the Board on Science Education‚Äôs review of science literacy in the U.S. The Board on Science Education analyzed science literacy at the societal, community, and individual level. They found that adults in the U.S. have comparable levels of science literacy to adults in other economically developed countries and that there is a small, positive relationship between science literacy and support for science. Additionally, the Board found that an individual‚Äôs support of science in general does not predict his or her support or attitude for a specific scientific…

NIH: Research Education Program Funding Opportunities

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Education Program (R25) supports research educational activities that complement other formal training programs in the mission areas of the NIH institutes and centers. Additionally, the program goals include an effort to enhance the biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research workforce; recruit individuals with specific specialty or disciplinary backgrounds to research careers in biomedical, behavioral, and clinical sciences; and foster a better understanding of this research and its implications. Several of the institutes recently released funding opportunity announcement seeking applications for activities related to their research domains. NIMH Research Education Mentoring Program for HIV/AIDS Researchers…

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