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NSF issues new IUSE solicitation; first proposal deadline is December 4

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued a new solicitation for its Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources (IUSE: EHR) program as part of its Foundation-wide effort to accelerate improvement in the quality and effectiveness of undergraduate education in all STEM fields. According to the program summary, "The IUSE: EHR is a core NSF STEM education program that seeks to promote novel, creative, and transformative approaches to generating and using new knowledge about STEM teaching and learning to improve STEM education for undergraduate students."

The program is open to application from all institutions of higher education and associated organizations. NSF places high value on educating students to be leaders and innovators in emerging and rapidly changing STEM fields as well as educating a scientifically literate public. In pursuit of this goal, IUSE: EHR supports projects that seek to bring recent advances in STEM knowledge into undergraduate education; that adapt, improve, and incorporate evidence-based practices into STEM teaching and learning; and that lay the groundwork for institutional improvement in STEM education. In addition to innovative work at the frontier of STEM education, this program also encourages replication of research studies at different types of institutions and with different student bodies to produce deeper knowledge about the effectiveness and transferability of findings.

IUSE: EHR also seeks to support projects that have high potential for broader societal impacts, including improved diversity of students and instructors participating in STEM education, professional development for instructors to ensure adoption of new and effective pedagogical techniques that meet the changing needs of students, and projects that promote institutional partnerships for collaborative research and development. IUSE: EHR especially welcomes proposals that will pair well with the efforts of NSF INCLUDES (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/nsfincludes/index.jsp) to develop STEM talent from all sectors and groups in our society. 

For all the above objectives, the National Science Foundation invests primarily in evidence-based and knowledge-generating approaches to understand and improve STEM learning and learning environments, improve the diversity of STEM students and majors, and prepare STEM majors for the workforce.  In addition to contributing to STEM education in the host institution(s), proposals should have the promise of adding more broadly to our understanding of effective teaching and learning practices.

The IUSE: EHR program features two tracks, which have multiple associated funding levels and proposal deadlines.

 

Engaged Student Learning Track

The Engaged Student Learning (ESL) track supports the development, testing, and use of teaching practices and curricular innovations that will engage students and improve learning, persistence, and retention in STEM. Projects may focus directly on students or indirectly serve students through faculty professional development or research on teaching and learning. Whatever the focus, all projects should be both evidence-based and knowledge-generating, with well-developed plans to study student experiences and evaluate student outcomes.

ESL projects can contribute to developing the STEM and STEM-related workforce, advancing a disciplinary STEM field, broadening participation in STEM, educating a STEM-literate public, improving K-12 STEM education through undergraduate pre-service STEM teacher preparation, encouraging life-long learning, and/or building STEM capacity in higher education.

ESL Level 1

Funding: up to $300,000

Duration: up to three years

Deadlines:

  • February 4, 2020
  • August 4, 2020
  • 1st Tuesday in February and August thereafter

ESL Level 2

Funding: $300,001–$600,000

Duration: up to three years

Deadlines:

  • December 4, 2019
  • 1st Tuesday in December thereafter

ESL Level 3

Funding: $600,001–$2 million

Duration: up to five years

Deadlines:

  • December 4, 2019
  • 1st Tuesday in December thereafter

 

Institutional and Community Transformation Track

The Institutional and Community Transformation (ICT) track supports the transformation of colleges and universities to implement and sustain highly effective STEM teaching and learning. The emphasis of this track is on systemic change that may be measured at the departmental, institutional, or multi-institutional level, or across communities of STEM educators and/or educational researchers—and are expected to include one or more theories of change to guide the proposed work.

ICT projects may focus on departments or colleges within institutions, entire institutions, on groups of institutions, or on STEM communities of educators, practitioners, and/or educational researchers. 

Capacity-Building

Funding: up to $150,000 for a single institution or $300,000 for multiple institutions

Duration: up to two years

Deadlines:

  • February 4, 2020
  • August 4, 2020
  • 1st Tuesday in February and August thereafter

ICT Level 1

Funding: up to $300,000

Duration: up to three years

Deadlines:

  • February 4, 2020
  • August 4, 2020
  • 1st Tuesday in February and August thereafter

ICT Level 2

Funding: $300,001–$2 million for a single institution or $3 million for multiple institutions and research centers

Duration: up to five years

Deadlines:

  • December 4, 2019
  • 1st Tuesday in December thereafter

 

All projects supported by IUSE: EHR must:

  • Demonstrate a strong rationale for project objectives or incorporate and build on educational practices that are demonstrably effective
  • Contribute to the development of exemplary undergraduate STEM education
  • Add to the body of knowledge about what works in undergraduate STEM education and the conditions that lead to improved STEM teaching and learning
  • Measure project progress and achievement of project goals

To accomplish these goals, IUSE: EHR projects may focus their activities at any level, including the student, faculty, institutional or community levels. Development, propagation, adaptation, and transferability of evidence-based practices are also important considerations. Projects should consider designing materials and practices for use in a wide variety of institutions or institutional types.

Topics of interest to the IUSE: EHR program include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Development and study of the efficacy of innovative teaching and learning practices and resources
  • Development, testing, and dissemination of instruments for measuring student outcomes
  • Efforts to increase the diversity of the STEM workforce including K-12 teachers and/or the faculty and institutions engaged in work to improve undergraduate STEM education
  • Faculty professional development to increase the use of evidence-based teaching practices
  • Implementation of and research on sustained change processes involved in adopting evidence-based and effective instruction within or across departments, disciplines, or institutions
  • Efforts to achieve STEM educational goals through innovative partnerships, for example with community organizations, local, regional, or national industries, centers for teaching and learning, professional societies, or libraries,
  • Propagating and sustaining transformative and effective STEM teaching and learning through institutional practices or involvement of professional societies

All IUSE: EHR projects are expected to increase knowledge about effective STEM education. This may be achieved through posing one or more research questions that will be answered through the course of the study or through evaluation of project activities, impacts, or outcomes. Projects should include a well-designed plan to gather data and should specify methods of analysis that will be employed to answer the questions posed and mechanisms to evaluate success of the project. Projects should also specify strategies for generating and using formative and summative assessment of project processes, outputs, and/or outcomes.

An individual may serve as a PI or co-PI for no more than three IUSE: EHR proposals submitted in one fiscal year (October 1–September 30).

The foundation expects to make 105 awards each year (60 Level 1 projects, 35 Level 2 and 3 projects, and 10 Capacity-Building projects) with an anticipated availability of total funding at $63 million for new awards each fiscal year.

 

Conferences and Workshops

IUSE: EHR also welcomes proposals to conduct workshops and conferences aimed at improving undergraduate STEM education, developing implementation practices, and/or assembling research partnerships and agendas. These may be submitted at any time after consultation with a program officer. Conference proposals that address diversity in STEM teaching and learning, and those involving collaborations of educational researchers and disciplinary scientists to ensure that STEM teaching reflects cutting-edge STEM disciplinary research are especially encouraged

 

Program Summary: Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources (IUSE: EHR)

Program Solicitation: NSF 19-601

Proposal Deadline: Varies by track and level

 

Additional Information:

  1. funding opportunity
  2. iuse
  3. National Science Foundation
  4. undergraduate biology education
  5. undergraduate education

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