COMMITTEE ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
October 16-17, 2007
National Science Foundation (NSF), Stafford II, Room 555 – 4121 Wilson Boulevard; Arlington, VA 22230
Ms. Sandra Begay-Campbell, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM
Dr. Wesley L. Harris, CEOSE Vice Chair, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Dr. Beverly Karplus Hartline, CEOSE Chair, Delaware State University, Dover, DE
Dr. Richard E. Ladner, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Dr. Robert L. Lichter, Merrimack Consultants, LLC, Great Barrington, MA
Dr. Marigold Linton, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Dr. Theresa A. Maldonado, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX
Dr. William C. McCarthy, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
Dr. Samuel L. Myers, Jr., HHH Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Dr. Muriel Poston, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
Dr. Joseph S. Francisco, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Dr. Mae C. Jemison, The Jemison Group, Houston, TX
Dr. Marshall G. Jones, GE Global Research, Niskayuna, NY
Dr. Germán R. Núñez, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX
Executive Liaison/CEOSE Executive Secretary:
Dr. Margaret E. M. Tolbert, Senior Advisor, Office of Integrative Activities, NSF
OIA/NSF Primary Support Staff Members:
Ms. Amanda Roberts, Science Assistant, Office of Integrative Activities/NSF
Mr. Daniel Turshon, IT Specialist, Office of Integrative Activities/NSF
Ms. Kamille Williams, Program Assistant, Office of Integrative Activities/NSF
Non-Members Who Presented Oral or Written Statements, Participated in the Discussions and/or Were Meeting Attendees without Specific Roles:
Dr. Aziza Baccouche, TV Science Producer
Dr. Dmitri Litrinov, UH
October 16, 2007
The meeting was called to order at 8:35 a.m. by Dr. Hartline who made positive comments about the CEOSE mini-symposium, which was held on October 15, 2007, and advised of key points in the CEOSE meeting agenda for today and tomorrow. CEOSE members concurred with Dr. Hartline’s August 28th approval of the minutes for the June 5-6, 2007 meeting, and they made no requests for changes. After each person present responded to Dr. Hartline’s request by introducing themselves, she mentioned the Nobel Prize winner at the University of Minnesota and called on Dr. Myers for comments. ACTION ITEM: The CEOSE meeting minutes are to be uploaded to the CEOSE website (https://www.nsf.gov/od/oia/activities/ceose/index.jsp) and a copy given to the NSF Committee Management Officer.
Dr. Myers acknowledged the contributions of his esteemed colleague, Dr. Leonid Hurwicz, who won the Nobel Prize in economics this year; he praised him for his vision and contributions to the field of economics and to minority students. During his commentary, he made it clear that in addition to being a colleague at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Hurwicz was an instructor in the first summer program for minority students in economics. The program was held at Washington University at Saint Louis in 1970. This program was the predecessor to the American Economic Association’s Minority Student Program, which has been the pipeline for the production of most of the Black economists in America. Dr. Myers advised that he was honored to be a student of Dr. Leonid Hurwicz. In thanking Dr. Myers, Dr. Hartline mentioned that he has an extra-special job of making sure that the part of his statement about Dr. Hurwicz’s work with minority students appears in his Nobel Biography.
Dr. Linton reported on a SACNAS meeting that she attended and advised of the support of the University of Kansas Chancellor for the work of that organization. ACTION ITEM: Drs. Linton and Hartline will prepare a letter of commendation for the Chancellor of the University of Kansas. It will be printed on CEOSE stationery, which was designed by Dr. Hartline, and mailed to him shortly after the CEOSE meeting ends.
Meeting of CEOSE Chair and Vice Chair with the NSF Deputy Director:
In her report on the meeting that she, Dr. Harris, and Dr. Tolbert had with Dr. Olsen on October 15th, Dr. Hartline included the following points: Viewing of the white light hologram from Russia; the CEOSE mini-symposium focused on persons with disabilities; Dr. Olsen’s enthusiasm for the CEOSE mini-symposium focused on institutions that serve large populations of persons with disabilities as exemplified by her participation in it as presenter of the welcome address on behalf of NSF and facilitator of one of the panels); Dr. Olsen’s upcoming testimony on women to the House Science Committee; the persons (six-month detailees who may serve a year, which is the NSF response to a CEOSE concern about the time being too short) who will fill the position that Dr. T. Windham previously held in the Office of the NSF Director; updating the data on the race/ethnicity of advisory committee members; status of the report of the NSF Broadening Participation Working Group (the report is in Dr. Olsen’s office at this point; CEOSE members will be permitted to review and comment on the report at some point); identifying new reviewers for and broadening the participation in NSF reviewer pools; and the training of NSF program officers on broadening the participation of groups under-represented in STEM.
The CEOSE Path Forward:
The committee discussed the path forward for CEOSE. A question was raised about the structure of CEOSE to effectively address broadening the participation in STEM by persons with disabilities. It was suggested that, as it addresses its Congressional mandate, CEOSE should give more thought to whether disabilities is comparable to race/ethnicity and gender. Suggestions from the October 15th mini-symposium included interest in categorizing institutions that serve large populations of students with disabilities like the minority serving institutions, fellowships and scholarships for students with disabilities, and access to laboratory equipment beyond the classroom for students with disabilities. It was noted that there is a disparity between the amount of funds available in programs for the disabled and other programs. It was suggested that General Counsel be consulted about some of these ideas and that CEOSE determine where it wants to go and how. The committee needs to focus on the overlap and common threads in its mini-symposia, which have been held to date, and take appropriate action. Among the questions that were discussed is this: Are disabled persons facing a phenomenon whereby the individual is excluded from an opportunity because of his/her membership in the group, or are they excluded from opportunities because of characteristics that they have? The committee discussed the negative implications of grouping all members of given groups together. For example, persons with disabilities do not constitute a homogeneous group, and neither do under-represented minorities or women. It is clear that numerous problems exist (i.e., subtle discrimination toward different groups, including damaging statements about their capabilities and low funding for programs that address their needs), and increased funds targeting each of the groups that are subjects of the CEOSE mandate are essential to enabling their inclusion in STEM. Keeping the focus in target and being clear about that focus are very important. Indeed, NSF is making plans to look at transitions from high school to college. It has begun to address other transitions, such as those that are the focus of the Bridges to the Doctorate Program.
Dr. Henry N. Blount, Head of the NSF Office of Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), gave the committee a briefing on the responsibilities and activities of his office. He advised that EPSCoR is a diversity activity that was established in 1979. Its purpose is to build the capacity of educational institutions in states/territories that receive limited NSF funding to participate more fully in NSF research activities. This office is now a part of the Office of Integrative Activities, which is in the Office of the NSF Director. Although EPSCoR has challenges, it also has opportunities. It serves as a platform to do a variety of things. Currently, there are 25 EPSCoR states plus two territories; these conduct outstanding research. The median gross domestic product of all states is $143 billion whereas that for EPSCoR states is $63 billion. The median Federal R&D funding to EPSCoR states is $261 million while that to all states is $664 million.
There are similar data for other categories when EPSCoR states are compared to all states of the United States. EPSCoR states have 51 of the nation’s 103 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 48 of the nation’s 139 Hispanic Serving Institutions, and 22 of the nation’s 32 Tribal Colleges and Universities. The program seeks long-term disciplinary advocates, and Dr. Blount invited CEOSE members to participate in reviews of proposals that are submitted to that office. The Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Grant Program is managed under the auspices of EPSCoR. Twenty-six RII awards are in operation, and they involve 113 institutions. These are capacity building awards. An observation that he made is that the face of American science is not currently the face of America, and this is the greatest threat to American science and engineering. EPSCoR is addressing this challenge and is having success. Dr. Blount’s presentation stimulated a great deal of discussion by CEOSE members.
Reports by CEOSE Liaisons to Advisory Committees of NSF Directorates and Major Offices:
Since most of the NSF advisory committees had not met by the date of the CEOSE meeting, very few reports were given.
Dr. Victor B. McCrary is the incoming President of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) and Business Area Executive of S&T at the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University. He briefed CEOSE members on NOBCChE, advising that the organization is approximately 35 years old and has a membership of approximately 4,000 people. Although the membership consists mostly of chemists and chemical engineers, it also includes some physicists, electrical engineers, and computer engineers. This organization has among its membership professionals in industry, academia, and the federal government. The mission is to develop a cadre of African American scientists and other minorities who are experts in the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering primarily. This is accomplished in a number of ways. One is encouraging members through technical interplay in terms of discovery and the transmittal and application of technology to advance the organization’s goals. The organization plays a role in scientific policy, working with Congress, university leaders—both in majority institutions and HBCUs—and other institutions in terms of setting curricula and programs of cross professional development. This organization also includes among its work the provision of scholarships to deserving university students. NOBCChE works with pre-college teachers and students to strengthen their skills and capabilities in STEM. Dr. McCrary described the NOBCChE Science Bowl, as well as other programs offered by this organization as examples of the caliber of its service to the scientific and engineering community. Some of the work of the organization is conducted through partnerships with industry, federal agencies, etc. The direction of the organization is to facilitate the collaboration of several organizations that have similar missions and goals without threatening the viability of either. A summit of scientific and technical organizations of minority representations will be developed and hosted by NOBCChE early in 2008. This summit will further strengthen the focus of NOBCChE. The plan is to have scientists from throughout the United States and other countries as speakers at this NOBCChE summit. As the organization continues its work of shaping the global community, it is about building bridges and having a vision and putting it into action. Dr. McCrary invited CEOSE input and suggestions.
Reports on Concurrent Meetings of CEOSE Ad Hoc Subcommittees:
Concurrent meeting of CEOSE Ad Hoc subcommittees were held. These meetings were followed by reports by the chairs of those subcommittees as indicated below:
- Report of the CEOSE Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Strategic Planning; Dr. Muriel Poston, Subcommittee Chair; Other Subcommittee Members: Ms. Begay-Campbell, Dr. Maldonado, and Dr. Francisco (absent.)
The CEOSE Ad Hoc Strategic Planning Subcommittee reviewed the mission of CEOSE, which is to advise NSF on policies and programs to encourage participation by women, minorities, and persons with disabilities who are under-represented within all levels of America’s science technology engineering and mathematics enterprise. With that as the mission, the strategies needed for successful achievement involve three different levels. One was with CEOSE itself in terms of the committee, another was with respect to NSF (i.e., Internal organization, personnel, programs, processes and policies) and with external constituencies in the scientific and educational community. The subcommittee reviewed the issue of membership of the committee first. One of the goals that could be addressed over the next few years is making sure that the membership has the appropriate balance with regard to race/ethnicity, gender, disability, discipline, administrative experience, research experience, institution type, geography, and historical representation, et cetera. Specific objectives to achieve this goal involve getting the right people to serve on the committee, and getting the right leadership. We are certainly in a pivotal moment with several membership terms to expire soon. Recommendations for new members to appoint to CEOSE should be a great avenue for positive impact. Another area that CEOSE has highlighted in the past as a priority and should continue within the committee is communication about CEOSE activities and its mandate. At this point no explicit strategies for CEOSE have been articulated, but this should be a priority. There is still work to be done in that arena. With regard to NSF as an internal partner and given its internal structure, the priorities of accountability and impact of NSF programs need to be addressed, especially in reference to data on broadening participation and funding. Also, there needs to be accountability with regard to the review panels and the committees of visitors, as well as other advisory committees of the Foundation. There needs to be accountability with respect to NSF personnel, especially program officers and senior managers. The subcommittee discussed exempting EHR since its Human Resource Development Division is focused explicitly on broadening participation efforts and it is doing a commendable job. Having the continuation of a regular cycle of presentations to CEOSE by the Assistant Directors of the research directorates was viewed as positive. They should be requested to discuss the impact of their programs on broadening participation. One thing that should be done is to set benchmarks for explicit progress in terms of NSF participation. NSF should be encouraged to support research on exactly what the barriers are to participation by under-represented groups and persons with disability in STEM disciplines. This is pertinent to the mini-symposium that was held Monday. For the external constituency, the results of Dr. Harris’ subcommittee report on broadening participation (particularly the aspect of it that deals with sharing information and best practices) will be most useful to CEOSE. A focus on institutional change with respect to specific NSF programs like ADVANCE or the Center programs as mechanisms for changing the external environment in science and education would be advantageous. Hopefully, these ideas are reasonable foci as we prepare to develop the CEOSE Strategic Plan.
- Report of the CEOSE Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Persons with Disabilities - “The CEOSE Mini-Symposium on InstitutionsServing Persons with Disabilities in STEM” held October 15, 2007; Dr. Richard E. Ladner, Subcommittee Chair; Other Subcommittee Members Present: Drs. McCarthy, Myers, and Leddy (ex officio).
Among the topics discussed during the subcommittee meeting were organizational issues; data on funding levels for persons with disabilities; the reliability and validity of NSF data on ethnicity/race and disability status of panelists and members of Committees of Visitors; recommendations resulting from the mini-symposium; and accessibility, opportunities, and support for persons with disabilities to attend conferences. The gist of the report of this subcommittee included the purpose of the mini-symposium and the following six recommendations that resulted from the mini-symposium. See the following:
The purpose of the mini-symposium was to obtain first-hand information from persons from institutions, agencies, and industry that serve students and faculty with disabilities in STEM fields in order to inform the CEOSE decision-making process for the development of recommendations for submission to NSF to increase the number and success of these students and faculty.
- Institutions such as Gallaudet, National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), Landmark College, and maybe others should have a designation similar to Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) so that they can benefit from transition programs and partnerships with majority institutions on large research initiatives.
- NSF sponsored Scholarships, Fellowships, and Research Internships should target STEM students with disabilities.
- The Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) should be broadened to include all STEM graduate students and faculty who are disabled and want to attend conferences or workshops. This could be accomplished through the SGER program or the Regional Alliances for Persons with Disabilities in STEM Education (RADs).
- Data related to disability should be collected on a regular basis.
- Numbers of disabled principal investigators, successful and unsuccessful.
- Numbers of disabled panelists, reviewers, members of committees of visitors, and other advisory committee members.
- Funding for programs that help increase the number and success of students and faculty with disabilities in STEM fields should be increased.
- Regional Alliances.
- National Alliances based on discipline and/or disability.
- Research in technology for persons with disabilities should be strengthened by making sure projects are aligned with the actual needs of persons with disabilities.
Members of CEOSE will discuss these recommendations via e-mail and will provide input if needed. Also, acceptance and endorsement by members will be requested. The formal adoption of those recommendations will be requested at a later date.
- Report of the CEOSE Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Accountability, Evaluation, and Communications - “Joining Forces to Broaden Participation in Science and Engineering Strategies for Inter-Agency
Collaborations”, the Multi-Federal Agency Study; Dr. Wesley L. Harris, Subcommittee Chair; Subcommittee Member Present: Dr. Myers.
The subcommittee report was given by Dr. Harris and Dr. Walter V. Collier, President of C&A Technologies, Inc., the contractor that is assisting CEOSE with the data gathering and compilations and the preparation of the report on broadening participation efforts in STEM by several Federal agencies. Dr. Harris began the report with the aid of an illustration depicting a bridge to which he referred as broadening the participation of under-represented minority groups, women, and the disabled. The bridge linked an old world in which ideas were isolated, the organization introverted, and nothing was invented to a new world where the environment is open, competitive, and inclusive. Information, ideas, and technology drive the economy. The transfer of ideas in information and technology is at the speed of light through a world that's basically flat. This organization of the system enables the ability to rapidly respond to change. The bridge is supported by NSF, CEOSE, and other pillars, which represent our sister organizations—the agencies represented by the ten Federal representatives. For more than a year the eleven agencies have been working together. This work has resulted in a draft report. Dialogue with those representatives and their designees enabled the refinement of the results on broadening participation in STEM and sharpened the focus of the study. The final version of the report should be ready in early 2008. In the report, an effort will be made to show the connectivity of the organizations and agencies in terms of broadening participation in STEM. Some questions that linger are: How are we connected to our brother and sister organizations and agencies, and how should we be connected in order to bring enhanced participation by under-represented groups in STEM fields?
Dr. Collier gave a brief description of the report: Back in 2003 when CEOSE members were working on the ten-year study of the accomplishments and progress made by the NSF in broadening participation in STEM, one of the conclusions was that while NSF has invested a lot of money and time and energy in terms of broadening participation, it was a little unfair for the world to expect NSF to single handedly deal with the problem of broadening participation in STEM. One conclusion that resulted from discussions subsequent to the distribution of the CEOSE decennial and 2004 biennial report (Title: “Broadening Participation in America’s Science and Engineering Workforce”) is that CEOSE needs to think in terms of bringing other STEM related agencies on board to work with the Foundation to achieve greater presence for women, under-represented minorities, and persons with disabilities in STEM. Following the publication of that report, Drs. Myers, Pearson, and Harris collaborated in the preparation of a white paper, which was presented to Dr. Olsen. In this white paper, it was recommended that there be established a venue or vehicle whereby the STEM related agencies would come together to exchange ideas and to discuss the possibility of conducting together activities that focus on broadening participation in STEM. With the support of Dr. Olsen and Dr. Nathaniel G. Pitts, CEOSE developed the idea into a study in which representatives and the designees of eleven STEM-intensive agencies (e.g., DoE–White House Initiative on HBCUs, DOE, DOD, NOAA, NIST, DOL, NASA, NIH, NSF, USDA, and USGS) participated. The contract to assist with the study was awarded to C&A Technologies, Inc. with oversight by Dr. Tolbert. Representatives of those agencies were initially identified by the members of the OSTP Committee on Science in response to a request from Dr. Olsen. Prior to initiating the study, representatives of the agencies were invited to hold dialogue with CEOSE on their agencies’ policies, programs and activities that focus on broadening participation in STEM by under-represented groups. As a result of this meeting, it was concluded that more information was needed on policies, programs, activities, plans, and challenges that they face in broadening participation. The study was conducted as a series of conversations held with representatives from the agencies. The purpose was to find out if there was a basis for a “marriage” among the identified agencies in terms of increasing broadening participation in STEM.
So, the process was begun with preliminary discussions among CEOSE members and the Federal agency representatives. The next step consisted of agency by agency informal conversations among representatives and Dr. Collier. Dr. Tolbert participated in some of these conversations. A conversation guide, to which each participant had advanced access, was used. This guide had been reviewed by NSF officials prior to use. At this point, approximately 30 individuals from the eleven agencies (including NSF) have participated in the conversations. In these conversations, the focus was on their history in terms of broadening participation—whether they have explicit policies regarding broadening participation, the kinds of programs they have, how much money is allocated to those programs, whether those programs are evaluated, and what kinds of metrics or measures are used for those programs. Also, the effort was to obtain from them recommendations on what they think should be done with regard to this developing collaboration among the eleven agencies and also what they thought needed to be done within their individual agencies to improve policies and programs and other initiatives pertinent to broadening participation.
Dr. Collier began the current study in a non-typical way by focusing on the data limitations. The identification of the right persons to contact for the data was problematic. The initial names of points-of-contact that were available were not necessarily those of persons who could provide the needed data. Additionally, with few exceptions, there were problems with some agencies in obtaining adequate information on program evaluation and dollar amounts for program funding. Some agencies were so complex that it was impossible to identify a central location for all of the data and other information needed for the report. Therefore, the study was extended to cover the more complex agencies. In this way, it is desired that data and information on funding, evaluation, lessons learned, and best practices will be obtained from units within those complex agencies. The data and other information collected to date were presented in a draft report to the committee in written form for their review (see Tab 6 of the CEOSE meeting booklet). It is noted that all of the agencies were interested and excited about collaborating on broadening participation. There are several recommendations from participating agencies in that draft report. Dr. Harris called the attention of the committee to the commonalities of participating agencies: all are doing something with regard to broadening participation; all have some kind of program or programs that focus on broadening participation; all do some kind of program evaluation, but the meaning of evaluation varies from agency to agency. Dr. Collier continued with the following comments. As was noted in the report from the Academic Competitiveness Council (ACC), very few of the agencies use vigorous evaluations in assessing the effects and outcomes of their programs. So, rather than just using what the ACC has found, it was decided to have more thorough conversations and data gathering sessions with our agency contacts. The focus was on the challenges that they face in terms of conducting evaluations of STEM programs. In the real world of evaluation, you can't always impose an experimental approach on a program particularly if it is ongoing. There is a need for a lot of discreet activity in the evaluation area to get a handle on which of our programs are effective and which ones are not. A full discussion of the report is needed once the additional data is collected and reviewed. ACTION: At the next CEOSE meeting, a discussion of the full report, while paying particular attention to the recommendations from the participating agencies, is to be held.
After the question and answer period on the above reports and the planning for the meeting with Drs. Bement and Olsen, which was scheduled for October 17th, the meeting was adjourned at 5:15 p.m.
Meeting Notes Continued
October 17, 2007
Dr. Hartline called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m. After completing her opening comments, Dr. Hartline announced the appointment of Dr. Maria (Mia) Ong of TERC in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to CEOSE membership. Her biographical sketch is available under Tab 8 of the CEOSE meeting booklet. The first CEOSE meeting that Dr. Ong will attend will be held on February 25-26, 2008.
- Report of the CEOSE Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Broadening Participation Plan – “Report on Recommendations of the Broadening Participation Working Group”; Dr. McCarthy, Subcommittee Chair; other Subcommittee members: Drs. Lichter, Poston, and Núñez (absent).
This subcommittee is charged with being the CEOSE liaison to the NSF Broadening Participation Working Group; therefore, the members met with Drs. Santiago and Rohlfing. Dr. McCarthy laid the verbal foundation for the report—“Report on Recommendations of the Broadening Participation Working Group”—of the CEOSE Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Broadening Participation Plan. Drs. Rohlfing and Santiago presented the charge, status of work in reference to that charge, the timeline, composition, and the six recommendations developed by the NSF Broadening Participation Working Group. The recommendations are in the categories of the portfolio on broadening participation, diversifying the reviewer pool, NSF staff training, dissemination of guidance and promising practices, accountability, and effectiveness. CEOSE members noted that many of the recommendations mirror those of CEOSE. CEOSE members mentioned their interest in hearing about implementation, NSF commitment, time scale for change, and how the process will be carried out. AGREED: CEOSE members will have the opportunity to review the draft document that is under development by this working group prior to finalization by NSF. SUGGESTION: CEOSE members suggested that the wording in the second recommendation by the NSF Broadening Participation Working Group be changed from “encouraging” to “requiring”. SUGGESTION: Include among the recommendations one to optimize the use by NSF of the portfolio of broadening participation programs. In the latter part of this session, Dr. McCarthy discussed ideas on how the NSF Broader Impacts Criterion should be refined to enhance accountability. ACTION: Dr. McCarthy will refine the draft document on the NSF Broader Impacts Criterion and will have it distributed for action by CEOSE members. RECOMMENDATION: It was recommended that the final version of the revised Broader Impacts Criterion be submitted to the NSF Director for Action.
In his presentation to the committee, Dr. Richard O. Buckius, Assistant Director Directorate for Engineering at NSF, spoke of the demographics of the engineering community, noting that it is not particularly diverse and that there is a decreasing number of women at the B.S. Degree level. The percentage is among the lowest in S&E fields. Additionally, under-represented groups are a small fraction of the total number of engineers. These facts and others make the problem of the lack of under-represented groups in engineering even worse. The Engineering Directorate has adopted a goal of having the engineering community represent the population. To address this goal, a leader (Dr. Mary C. Juhas) for diversity has been appointed in the Engineering Directorate. Also, an Engineering Diversity Working Group has been established and goals set by this group to address the various parts of the education continuum. The Broadening Participation Research Initiation Grants in Engineering has been implemented. Workshops are held for each of the major engineering disciplines, and collaborations are promoted between non-minority and minority serving institutions. The Research Experiences for Undergraduates supplements to research awards is used to increase the participation of undergraduates from under-represented groups. In addition to programs and activities for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Colleges and Universities, activities for Tribal College activities were and will continue to be held. All divisions in the Engineering Directorate offer Graduate Research Supplements, which enable the awarding of stipends for broadening participation. Each Engineering Research Center awardee is required to develop and implement a diversity plan that includes under-represented groups, and each Center is required to collaborate with at least one of the minority-focused programs in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources. The results of these efforts are positive. The career funding rates for women and for minorities have increased. Research funding rates for women and minorities is slightly increased. It is evident that the numbers are not as desired. Therefore, broadening participation efforts of the Engineering Directorate will continue to advance.
Meeting with the NSF Director and Deputy Director:
In the meeting with Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr., Director of the National Science Foundation, and Dr. Kathie L. Olsen, Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation, several CEOSE members posed questions after Dr. Bement made brief remarks to set the tone for the session. Dr. Bement advised that CEOSE plans for moving forward are good and that NSF appreciates its feedback and will work with this committee as it addresses its congressional mandate. He advised that the NSF budget is uncertain, but bipartisan support is present. NSF is operating at the FY 2006 budget level, it is under strain and under staffed. The staffing campaign continues with Congress. Chairs of the Appropriation Committees are supportive. Once Dr. Bement’s commentary was completed, he was given a briefing on the CEOSE Mini-Symposium on Institutions That Serve Large Populations of Students with Disabilities in STEM, which was held on October 15th at NSF. In response to the question on broadening participation, Dr. Bement advised that he has not seen any lack of support. Further, he stated that broadening participation programs are largely under the auspices of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources. To assure that this topic is appropriately addressed at NSF, Drs. Bement and Olsen discuss the values with division directors and assistant directors, and the broadening participation requirements are included in each manager’s performance plan. Therefore, they must report on this requirement on an annual basis. In reference to the NSF Broadening Participation Plan, Dr. Bement indicated that the topic is addressed on a top down basis. There are advisory committees that hold NSF accountable, but improvement is always needed. As he responded to the question about institutions that serve large populations of disabled students, Dr. Bement said that they could be addressed in a manner similar to Minority Serving Institutions when it comes to competing for awards. They must be able to withstand external evaluations and must follow the established criteria. A committee member cautioned that the impact on dollars to other Minority Serving Institutions needs to be reviewed before actually making a policy change to add to that category any institutions that serve the disabled. Drs. Bement and Olsen were told of the CEOSE action focused on refining the Broader Impacts Criterion. The response was that the NSF evaluation criteria are owned by the National Science Board and that Dr. Bement is willing to submit the requested change(s) to that Board for consideration. To the CEOSE concern about the continuing need for ethnic/racial and gender diversity in Committees of Visitors and other advisory committees, Dr. Olsen responded that she would call the matter to the attention of the NSF Assistant Directors. A committee member raised a question about the status of the identification of a person to serve in the Office of the Director in the same capacity as Dr. Thomas Windham once did. Dr. Bement commented that NSF must have accountability that is recognized within and outside of the agency; therefore, an internal person who can work with the leadership is being sought. The amount of time that each appointee will have in the position is under consideration. Committee members expressed their appreciation to Drs. Bement and Olsen for their continued support and for taking part in the meeting.
Dr. Luis A. Echegoyen, Director of the NSF Chemistry Division in the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, was once a member of CEOSE, and for one meeting he served as Vice Chair. He expressed his delight in being invited to speak to the committee about his division’s initiatives in broadening participation. Dr. Echegoyen stated that the Chemistry Division has been a leader in addressing diversity issues in NSF. The effort is to embed diversity in the whole division, and this is what other divisions at NSF want to do. Since the 1970s, the matter of funds for broadening participation has been addressed, and now there is frustration about what little the money has done. One can point to some progress, but progress is being made very slowly. It is now known that women earn 33 percent of chemistry Ph.D.s, but somehow this only translates into about 12 or 15 percent in faculty positions in chemistry departments. So the problem is very severe. One question is “have we used the money wisely”. The Chemistry Division is happy to provide support for projects if there is a chance to change the culture in the community. Primarily, the focus has been on addressing education and community changes. A successful strategy is the use of chemistry department chairs as agents of change. This is working well for the community. So, one gap that the Chemistry Division is addressing is gender equity, particularly the transition from earning the Ph.D. into a professorship. Also, the under-represented workshop held in September was a success, and a report on this workshop is in preparation. Although the workshop was a success, the number of under-represented minority chemists is at the five percent level, and progress is even slower for minorities than for women in chemistry. Funding is an issue even in reference to the American Competitiveness Initiative and, hence, the America Competes Act. The NSF Strategic Plan specifically addresses the goal of increasing the representation of women and under-represented minorities in STEM. So, these are the primary drivers.
In reference to the Merit Review Criteria, the Intellectual Merit Criterion has been refined, and the updated version, which addresses transformative research, will be enforced by NSF beginning in January. Also, Dr. Echegoyen agrees with CEOSE on the need to address the Broader Impacts Criterion. There seems to be some confusion about it in the community. It is desired that chemistry (whether the NSF Chemistry Division or the chemistry community) represent the face of America. So, the NSF Chemistry Division is an agent of change, and its staff is serious about broadening participation in STEM.
After an extensive discussion on the topics of the day, the meeting was adjourned at 1:34 p.m. by Dr. Hartline.
CERTIFICATION OF THE ACCURACY OF THE CEOSE MEETING MINUTES
Dr. Beverly Karplus Hartline, who is Chair of the Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering, approved the meeting minutes on January 14, 2008, by e-mail message to Dr. Margaret E.M. Tolbert, CEOSE Executive Secretary and NSF Executive Liaison to CEOSE. Dr. Wesley Harris, Vice Chair of CEOSE, concurs with this approval.