NSF TUES: The Impact of the National Science Foundation on Undergraduate Education - Symposia Highlighting Curricular Innovations.
In order to provide NSF-supported innovators in undergraduate STEM curriculum development with an opportunities to disseminate their materials and outcomes, principal investigators (PIs) of projects organize and convene symposia at the Annual National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in the Spring of 2015, 2016, and 2017 and at three regional ACS meetings or at the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education during those same years. At the symposia attendees are informed about a variety of NSF programs that promote undergraduate education. The NSF has a tradition of supporting this symposium and surveys have shown that in the past they have been well-attended. During these meetings prospective PIs and practitioners are empowered to ask questions and have awardees address their concerns in-person. Evidence suggests that these interactions are responsible for propagating evidence-based curricular changes at other institutions.
At the National Meetings, the symposia are comprised of two half-day sessions. In the first session, the audience will hear from PIs who have been successfully funded from a variety of NSF programs that focus on STEM undergraduate education. The second session focuses on a theme that has emerging national impact and significance and for which an evidence base is growing. Topics include (a) virtual laboratories, (b) online instruction, (c) research-based upper-level chemistry laboratories, (d) integration of advanced instrumentation into the curriculum, (e) non-traditional topics relating to chemistry across the curriculum, and others. Symposia at ACS regional meetings and the BCCE also involve the dissemination of project results as well as information about NSF Programs. These abbreviated half-day sessions serve to provide information to faculty who might find the expense of attending a national meeting to be a challenge. Evaluation of each meeting is expected to reveal that attendees plan to adapt curricular innovations, have a better understanding of current evidence-based educational techniques, and have greater awareness of NSF funding opportunities.