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Building Community through Grantee Meetings for the STEM Talent Enhancement Program

The NSF ***STEM Talent Enhancement Program*** (STEP) aims to increase the number of students graduating in STEM disciplines from the nation's universities, colleges and community colleges. The primary vehicle for achieving this goal is through the provision of merit-based grants to individual institutions or teams of institutions to support the implementation of strategies to improve recruitment and retention of STEM students (based on best practices). The overall success of STEP depends on the development and implementation of "best practices," which in turn depends on the development of a community of PI's (practitioners) who share ideas, resources, and data, and who can build on each other's successes and experiences. The goal of this project is to plan and organize annual meetings in 2010, 2011 and 2012 to facilitate the building of community among the scientists, administrators, student support specialists and evaluators involved in funded STEP projects. The project builds on the lessons learned from the first four STEP Grantees' meetings (2006 to 2009) to enhance the value of the meeting for all participants. As with previous meetings, each meeting will be held in the Washington, DC area over a period of 1.5 days, with three major components: plenary sessions; breakout sessions focused on topics of central importance to the participants; and poster sessions in which all projects are represented. Potential plenary speakers include researchers working in the area of higher education, particularly on topics such as student recruitment, retention, and development, institutional change, or the promotion of diversity, as well as experts whose work has emphasized the importance of increasing the nation's capacity in STEM disciplines. Breakout sessions will focus on topics of central importance to the participants and their projects. Typically, PI's from mature STEP projects will act as lead discussants or panelists, with NSF program officers moderating the discussions. Poster sessions will provide all participants the opportunity to share their challenges and successes as they relate to the theme of the meeting. All meeting planning will be done in consultation with DUE program officers and with an advisory committee of several STEP PI's, and will benefit from the analysis of responses of participants in surveys relating to the effectiveness of prior meetings. The intellectual merit of this proposal lies in enhancing the opportunity to share the lessons learned from STEP projects using diverse strategies. The resulting community of investigators will be able to make significantly more progress than they would if they remained isolated. This is particularly true for investigators in programs such as STEP because the framework for sharing ideas and findings in the meetings of scientific societies or in peer-reviewed articles is lacking. The broader impact of the project lies in the overall improvement in retention and recruitment of STEM students resulting from these investigators sharing their successes and failures, and in the development of better projects in the long run as the community develops a collection of proven best practices that can be adopted or adapted by other institutions. [1]:

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  • Status


  • Institution Type

    Doctoral Universities - Highest research activity

  • Disciplinary Focus

    All STEM

  • Full Name

    Building Community through Grantee Meetings for the STEM Talent Enhancement Program

  • Award Number


  • Official Award Organization

    University of Oregon Eugene

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