NSF EHR Advisory Committee Holds Fall 2021 Meeting
NSF EHR Advisory Committee Holds Fall 2021 Meeting

November 2021

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On November 3–4, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate Advisory Committee met virtually. The committee discussed topics within two broad themes: the proposed Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate, and broadening NSF’s participation efforts.

The first day of the meeting featured discussions around partnerships and the potential role of the TIP Directorate in facilitating connections within NSF and with industry and other groups. Gracie Narcho, senior adviser to NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan, provided a summary of the new directorate and its role in promoting use-inspired research. She also highlighted some of the funding streams, including regional innovation accelerators, and technology translation.

Panelists from across higher education provided examples of partnerships that they have formed to advance STEM education, including those funded by NSF and additional university and industry partners. EHR Advisory Committee member David Monk (Pennsylvania State University) provided background on the committee’s previous work on guidance to EHR on public-private partnerships. Eric Knuth and Mike Steele, program officers at EHR,  discussed innovative grants work as well as lessons learned about forming intentional partnerships to expand the work to scale.

The second day of the meeting opened with a discussion with Jessie DeAro, a program director at EHR, on recent work intended to make language around NSF’s solicitations more inclusive. The updates in solicitation language seek to avoid “othering” in NSF’s broadening participation efforts and to move toward specifying diverse populations and systemic roles of STEM recruitment and retention.

Susan Gelman (University of Michigan) and Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia (Michigan State University) discussed their research in K–12 STEM education. Gelman summarized NSF-funded work that examined children’s and their parents’ understanding of COVID-19 as a virus and translational implications, focusing on how anthropomorphic visualizations of COVID-19 may be confusing. Linnenbrink-Garcia presented initial findings on teacher professional development models designed to spur student learning and motivation in STEM. In response to teacher needs, toolkits and talk moves were developed that were aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

EHR Advisory Committee member Nicole Smith (Georgetown University Center for Education and the Workforce) highlighted her center’s reports that have examined the demand in higher education for preparation of students for “jobs of the future.” She gave an overview of policy proposals to reduce barriers to postsecondary enrollment and discussed the perceived value of college degrees.

The next EHR Advisory Committee meeting will be held in spring 2022.