Review to Explore How Current Innovations Can Reinforce Undergraduate Science Education
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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has begun a year-long review of undergraduate science, mathematics, engineering and technology education in the United States. According to Dr. Luther S. Williams, NSF's Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources, the review is expected to provide guidance as to how large-scale changes in undergraduate education could be designed to improve quality and how NSF can most effectively capitalize on recent investments made in undergraduate science education. "NSF undergraduate programs have supported innovative projects to improve instruction at many two-year and four year colleges and universities. We hope to find out how the results of these and of similar projects funded by others can be used as the basis for larger-scale systemic change," Williams said.
The review, to be carried out by the Advisory Committee of NSF's Directorate for Education and Human Resources, will consult widely with educators, students and employers to provide analysis on the condition and support of undergraduate faculty, curriculum, and capabilities for teaching and scholarship in undergraduate institutions. It will be headed by Dr. Melvin D. George, Vice President of Institutional Relations at the University of Minnesota.
The review will consist of three phases.
According to Robert Watson, Director of NSF's Division of Undergraduate Education, projects supported by the NSF may focus on a single discipline, engineering or chemistry, for example; reach across disciplines, joining physics and biology for example; or be targeted on a special group of students, such as future elementary and secondary school teachers. "The ultimate goals of improved undergraduate SME&T education include citizens who are empowered to be full participants in a scientific and technological society, and a technically well-prepared workforce that can both participate and lead in a high performance workplace employing advanced technologies," said Watson.
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) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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