NSF places a high priority on efforts to improve
science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education and
training at all levels: pre-kindergarten through secondary, undergraduate,
graduate, and public science literacy. In addition, special emphasis
is placed on increasing participation among groups which have
been historically underrepresented in science and engineering
fields. Other important efforts include programs for evaluation
and communication that establish the extent to which education
programs achieve their goals and that program and project outcomes
reach a wide audience.
NSF programs are dedicated to increasing the opportunities
for all students to learn mathematics and science, prepare for
higher education, complete degrees in science, mathematics, engineering,
and technology fields, join the workforce as competent and contributing
members, and become well-informed, science-literate citizens of
the United States. Such participation, from education to employment
to life-long learning, is NSF's vision of human resource development
in the national interest.
NSF fosters the natural connections between learning
and discovery. When research resides alongside education and
training, the rewards of discovery are shared more quickly and
disseminated more widely. Support for education and training
includes most activities funded through the Education and Human
Resources appropriation, as well as those programs funded through
the Research and Related Activities appropriation that accomplish
education and training through the tie to research programs.
There are many activities found within the other key program functions
that also contribute to meeting the goal of the integration of
research and education. Examples include: Research Experiences
for Undergraduates (REU), Research in Undergraduate Institutions
(RUI), Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER), and Grant Opportunities
for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI).
The goal of NSF's programs at the PreK-12 level is
for all students to succeed in mathematics, science, and
technology. To accomplish this goal, NSF programs are directed
at teachers, students, curriculum development, and systemic reform.
NSF's systemic reform efforts aim to make lasting improvements
in science, mathematics, and technology education at the state
level, in urban centers, and in rural regions. The systemic approach
involves broad partnerships in the development of goals, solutions,
and actions. Teacher enhancement and teacher preparation programs
strengthen teachers' knowledge and pedagogical skills and create
a network of teachers who are better able to foster reform. PreK-12
curricula are enhanced through the instructional materials development
The FY 1998 Budget Request for PreK-12 programs is
$376 million, a decrease of about $1 million from the FY 1997
Estimate. In FY 1998, support will focus in the following activities:
systemic reform, particularly the urban and rural systemic initiatives;
teacher preparation and enhancement; and incorporation of mathematics
and science learning technologies in instructional materials within
the context of the NSF-wide Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence
initiative. Informal science education funding remains constant,
with emphasis on engaging parents in science and mathematics education,
integrating research and education, and fostering linkages with
formal, in-school activities, particularly in systemic initiatives
sites. Funding for Statewide Systemic Initiatives will continue
to decline as part of a phase-out of awards, planned since the
NSF's programs support many facets of undergraduate
education, including instrumentation and laboratory improvement,
curriculum development, faculty enhancement, and undergraduate
student research. In order to improve the quality of undergraduate
courses and curricula in the sciences, NSF provides funds to encourage
the development of multi- and interdisciplinary courses as well
as to encourage science, mathematics, and engineering faculty
members to take leadership in developing educational experiences
that enhance the competence of prospective teachers.
NSF programs that address undergraduate needs include:
Undergraduate activities will total $156 million
in FY 1998, an increase of $5 million over the FY 1997 Estimate.
FY 1998 priorities include expansion of the Institution-wide
Reform of Undergraduate Education program initiated in FY 1996
and enhancements to the Advanced Technological Education and Instrumentation
and Laboratory Improvement programs. Other funds for undergraduate
research activities are included under Research Project Support,
particularly REU which provides opportunities for undergraduates
to gain valuable scientific research experiences, and RUI which
provides research support for faculty in predominantly undergraduate
NSF's graduate education programs are designed to
improve the human resource base of science and engineering in
the U. S. and to increase the participation of scientists and
engineers from groups that are underrepresented in advanced levels
of science, mathematics, and engineering.
Graduate and postdoctoral programs will total $114
million in FY 1998, an increase of $17 million over FY 1997.
In FY 1998, NSF will build a cross-Foundation effort on the base
of the Research Training Groups in the biological sciences and
the Graduate Research Traineeships program. This new NSF-wide
Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program
will total about $20 million. It reflects a shift in strategy
from a more diffuse support of graduate education through research
grants to a focused experiment designed to respond to the growing
need for researchers and teachers educated beyond the boundaries
of a single discipline.
Other graduate support increases include collaboration between the Mathematical and Physical Sciences and Education and Human Resources Activities to support projects aimed at achieving systemic reform in teaching and learning at the graduate and undergraduate levels, including departmental training grants in the mathematical sciences. The science education postdoctoral program for production of K-12 and undergraduate level professionals, initiated in FY 1997, will be sustained. Other funds for graduate student and postdoctoral research activities are included under Research Project Support.
Other Support for Education and Training
NSF supports programs to promote public understanding
of science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SMET), including
the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data on U.S. and
international resources devoted to science, engineering, and technology.
The FY 1998 Budget Request for these activities is $24 million,
an increase of $2 million over FY 1997. In FY 1998, NSF will
provide increased support to improve data on graduate education
and employment in science and engineering. The increase will
support activities that are directed toward improvement of surveys
and databases as well as toward more advanced analytical approaches.
Also, increased support will focus on expanding applications
of technology that promote scientific literacy and on broadening
efforts to disseminate findings from NSF-supported research.
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