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Press Release 04-050
Conference to Highlight Innovative Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education

April 13, 2004

ARLINGTON, Va.—More than 400 educators -- from small community colleges such as Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids, Minn. to academic powerhouses such as Harvard University -- will participate in a three-day conference showcasing innovations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) that are revolutionizing how students learn.

The conference, sponsored by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), will be held April 16-18 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Crystal City, Va.

NSF is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5.58 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions.

The conference will highlight innovative programs developed as part of DUE'S Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) Program. CCLI is designed to improve undergraduate STEM education through innovations in learning environments, course content, curriculums, and educational materials and practices. These programs better prepare students to meet increasingly technological needs of the workforce, the K-12 classroom, graduate and professional schools, and to participate as citizens in our increasingly technological society.

In the five years since its inception, CCLI has funded approximately 1750 projects at a diverse group of nearly 600 institutions, including community colleges, liberal-arts colleges, and major research universities. With a total budget of $240 million over this five-year period, the CCLI program has involved over 1.4 million undergraduate students and over 25,000 faculty members.

The conference will focus on four overarching themes in educational innovation: invention, adaptation, assessment, and impact and will feature a variety of venues, including:

  • Poster sessions designed to spark an invigorating exchange of ideas. These sessions will feature innovative ideas and tools developed and tested under CCLI grants. Topics that are explored include enhancing student learning through materials and activities that take students out of the classroom and into nature's laboratory or into a pharmaceutical or forensic research laboratory, engaging students through case studies and independent research, and using computer-based resources to "virtually" transport students anywhere in the world to study the physical and/or biological characteristics of otherwise unreachable environments.

  • Interactive Topical Sessions that will provide hands-on experience with a diverse group of successful teaching materials and methods, including "Just-in-Time Teaching" to provide web support for students and faculty in active learning classroom environments, "Concept Inventories" to discover student misconceptions, "Visual Representations" to allow students to construct knowledge, and "Calibrated Peer Review" to probe student understanding through writing assignments.

  • Plenary Sessions that provide keen insight and a variety of perspectives on innovation in STEM education. Featured speakers include: David Goldston, chief of staff of the House Science Committee; Denice Denton, dean of the University of Washington's College of Engineering; Eric Mazur, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics at Harvard University; Frederick Humphries, the president and CEO of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education; and Arden Bement, Jr., NSF acting director.

-NSF-

For more information about CCLI, see: http://www.ehr.nsf.gov/ehr/DUE/programs/ccli/

Media Contacts
Peter West, NSF, (703) 292-7761, pwest@nsf.gov
Monica Amarelo, AAAS, (202) 326-6431, mamarelo@aaas.org

Program Contacts
Theodore Hodapp, NSF, (703) 292-4640, thodapp@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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