Performance Highlights For Administration and Management (Click Here)

GOAL: Enabling the U.S. to uphold a position of world leadership in all aspects of science, mathematics, and engineering.

Research Project Support: NSF investments in fundamental research activities provide support for the cutting edge research that characterizes world leadership in many fields. They help to maintain the nation's capacity to perform in science and engineering, particularly in the U.S. academic research enterprise.

Facilities: NSF support of large multi-user facilities provides physical and institutional capabilities necessary for scientists and engineers to carry out research which enables the United States to uphold world leadership across a broad spectrum of scientific and engineering fields.

Education and Training: NSF seeks to ensure an adequate, well-trained workforce that can maintain leadership in science and technology.

GOAL: Promoting the discovery, integration, dissemination, and employment of new knowledge in service to society.

Research Project Support: The discoveries produced by NSF-funded research projects provide a foundation for broad and useful applications of knowledge and the development of new technologies. Researchers in the academic, government, and private sectors build upon the results of NSF-funded work.

Facilities: In addition to providing capabilities which produce world class research, the facilities supported by NSF have promoted the potential uses of research results and technological breakthroughs in the instrumentation provided by facilities.

Education and Training: Many of NSF's educational programs simultaneously seek to use new knowledge in service to society.

GOAL: Achieving excellence in U.S. science, mathematics, engineering and technology education at all levels.

Research Project Support: Research Projects contribute to the education and training of the next generation of scientists and engineers by giving them the opportunity to participate in discovery-oriented projects. NSF centers provide an alternative and enhanced environment for broad interdisciplinary education at all levels while maintaining the highest standards of intellectual excellence.

    The programs were broadcast across the United States, on public television, and reached thousands of classrooms in 46 states. There were follow-up question and answer sessions via the Internet. With a small investment, this $750,000 project -- with support from several Federal agencies and private-sector organizations in addition to NSF -- demonstrates how the combination of distant, exotic regions or phenomena, new technologies, and the expertise of NSF-funded researchers can inform and educate the public about contemporary science, as well as to motivate and inspire young people.

    The father of a sixth-grader wrote, "I've never seen a science project that was more alive with the breath of what it means to do the work of science." One hearing-impaired student pointed out that using the electronic medium for learning has the effect of "equalizing" the educational playing field for hearing impaired or other physically challenged students. An early evaluation of 128 teacher responses representing 272 classrooms and 6,559 students indicated that 99 percent were able to integrate the project fully or partially into their teaching goals and objectives. The same percentage said they are likely to use the materials again with a new class of students.

    The ODP has always recognized that a strong education component is essential for maintaining the U.S.'s competitive lead in drilling research. The program has sought to incorporate educational opportunities, for students at all levels of schooling, into its research activities. Educational support has primarily been through fellowships and scholarships granted to undergraduate and graduate students. In particular, the ODP has emphasized its doctoral fellowship program which provides students an opportunity to do research, largely of their own choice, which is compatible with the research interests of the drilling program. Since the fellowship program in the Geosciences began in 1987, it has awarded $20,000/year fellowships to four or five students each year. Most fellows conduct their research aboard the drillship, which provides a unique opportunity to interact in the intense scientific environment of the long ocean drilling legs.

    In addition to the doctoral fellowship program, the ODP has sought to integrate education through several other programs. For the past five years, ODP has offered a Distinguished Lecturer Series designed to bring the results of the program's research to students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and to the general earth sciences community. In addition, ODP has developed an interactive, multimedia CD ROM which describes, and involves students in, the research activities on the drilling ship. The CD, accompanied by a teachers manual, provides interactive laboratory exercises for primary education students to complete with the guidance of the scientists aboard the drilling ship. NSF's total investment of almost $200,000 in these two programs has been very successful in teaching students about Earth System Science and bringing ODP science results to the general public.

Facilities: The NSF supported facilities directly contribute to the education and training of science and engineering students, and enhance the public awareness of science and the goals of scientific research.

Education and Training: In addition to the training of the next generations of excellent scientists, NSF strives to enable U.S. students to become well-informed, scientifically and technologically literate citizens.

    The Connecticut SSI (Project CONNstruct) has worked for four years with communities, local school districts, state agencies, and other partners to institutionalize improvements in all students' learning of science, mathematics and technology. Other Federal, foundation, and corporate sources have tripled NSF's $8 million contribution to the Connecticut SSI effort. More than 130 of the state's 166 districts are now participating in this systemic initiative. Course taking and test scores in SME, the proportion of high school graduates who continue their education, and the amount of teacher education that is being restructured have all increased since 1991. A vigorous public awareness and community outreach strategy has fostered continuing coverage of the reform effort by over half the state's print media and 80 percent of its electronic media.

    Success in math and science education reform is demonstrated in the Louisiana SSI (LaSIP). The heart of LaSIP is professional development, focusing on the redesign of professional development programs for mathematics and science teachers. Accomplishments to date have been substantial. For example, 74 mathematics and science projects, involving over 2,400 teachers throughout the state have been funded by LaSIP in the first three cycles, with approximately 25 additional projects to be funded in 1995-96, affecting 800 more teachers. Almost 18 percent of the 59,400 students who took the 1994 Louisiana grade seven mathematics test were instructed by LaSIP-trained teachers. In a state with high rates of illiteracy and low rates of high school graduation, the LaSIP students, ethnically and economically representative, averaged scores two to three items higher than other students. This performance is directly related to the professional development of teachers over the past four years. In 1995-96, approximately 200,000 students in Louisiana will be taught by LaSIP teachers.

    The Systemic Initiative for Montana Mathematics and Science (SIMMS), initiated in FY 1991 has redesigned the state's mathematics curriculum for grades 9-12 into a multidisciplinary approach that is being implemented in 106 of the state's 173 schools. It currently is being taught to more than 7,000 students. Through SIMMS, professional development services in FY 1995 reached about 550 of the state's 980 secondary math and science teachers, directly or indirectly affecting 31,000 students out of a total student population of 47,000.

    The programs of individual RTGs often impact students at many institutions. For example, the RTG for Metals in Biology at the University of Georgia offers a summer workshop in inorganic biochemistry to graduate students from across the nation. Over the last 5 years, approximately 400 students from other institutions have received instruction in isolation and genetic characterization of novel bacteria, and in the purification and analysis of novel, metal-containing proteins. The multidisciplinary training being provided students at Georgia and other RTGs is helping to develop a "fearless" biologist, a scientist especially well equipped to tackle the challenging multidisciplinary problems of the 21st century.
Return to FY 1997 Homepage