The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) program recently awarded $5.8 million to 12 new projects that will pilot, test and validate innovative approaches in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduate education.
"These investments by NSF will help us identify advances in graduate education that address current and future STEM workforce needs," said Jim Lewis, NSF acting assistant director for Education and Human Resources. "We have an opportunity to test innovative strategies in STEM graduate education to underscore the importance of interdisciplinary and broader professional training. Our goal is to identify educational methodologies and elements that will result in scientists that are ready to meet grand challenges in science and engineering."
IGE research projects test new ways to provide graduate students with increased opportunities for professional development and career exploration. They support diversity and inclusion in graduate programs along with improved professional competencies -- including leadership, communication, project management and teamwork, skills that are critical for successful transition into the STEM workforce.
While the projects cover divergent areas in graduate education, they all investigate approaches that could be scaled for use at other institutions nationally. Current research areas focus on advancing community and industry engagement, graduate students' professional identities, "human-centered thinking" in engineering education, strategies that cultivate diverse student success in STEM disciplines, and individualized learning for data science.
The project titles, principal investigators and sponsor institutions for the new awards are:
- Advancing and Strengthening Science Identity through Systematic Training (ASSIST), Janis Bush, University of Texas San Antonio.
- Individualized Pathways and Resources to Adaptive Control Theory-Inspired Scientific Education (iPRACTISE), Sy-Miin Chow, Pennsylvania State University, University Park.
- A Public Service Fellows Program - Preparing Graduate Students for Community Engagement, Anna Courtier, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
- A Pathway to Inclusion for STEM Researchers, Sara Giordano, University of California, Davis.
- Partnership with Researchers in Industry for Doctoral Education (PRIDE), Himanshu Jain, Lehigh University.
- Scaling Faculty Development to Broaden Participation in Graduate Education, Julie Posselt, University of Southern California and Casey Miller, Rochester Institute of Technology.
- Developing Reflective Engineers, Danny Reible, Texas Tech University.
- Leveraging Data Science Master Programs to Enhance Professional Readiness in STEM PhD Students, Jana Schaich Borg, Duke University.
- Enhancing Graduate Education in Systems Thinking and Multi-Stakeholder Design through a Co-Creation Toolkit, Amy Smith, MIT.
- Interdisciplinary STEM Graduate Student Learning Communities, Rose Marie Ward, Miami University.
- Graduate Identity Formation through Teaching, Julianne Wenner, Boise State University
- Impact Indicators and Instruments for Individual Development Plans, Jodi Wesemann, American Chemical Society.