The U.S. National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports science and engineering in all 50 states and U.S. territories.
NSF was established in 1950 by Congress to:
- Promote the progress of science.
- Advance the national health, prosperity and welfare.
- Secure the national defense.
The NSF fulfills their mission chiefly by making grants. The NSFs investments account for about 25% of federal support to America’s colleges and universities for basic research: research driven by curiosity and discovery. The NSF also support solutions-oriented research with the potential to produce advancements for the American people. The ERN Conference and the HBCU-UP PI-PD Meeting are funded and supported by the NSF HBCU-UP program via grant no. 1645036.
The Division of Equity for Excellence in STEM (EES), within the Directorate of STEM Education (EDU), serves as a focal point for NSF‘s agency-wide commitment to enhancing the quality and excellence of STEM education and research through broadening participation by historically underrepresented groups – minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. Priority is placed on investments that promise innovation and transformative strategies and that focus on creating and testing models that ensure the full participation of and provide opportunities for the educators, researchers, and institutions dedicated to serving these populations. Programs within EES have a strong focus on partnerships and collaborations in order to maximize the preparation of a well-trained scientific and instructional workforce for the new millennium. See below for more about the directorate and division.
The Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) supports conferences that seek to increase the research capacity of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students and faculty at HBCUs. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) will organize two Making & Innovation Showcases to provide students and faculty from HBCUs with an opportunity to implement and present technology prototypes. Furthermore, AAAS will conduct an evaluation research study exploring the impact of maker-related activities on students, faculty, and institutions. The showcases will be held on November 2021 and November 2022 on the campus of Howard University. Each showcase will host sixty participants, with teams comprised of three to five undergraduate or graduate students and one faculty member. In case the global COVID-19 pandemic does not allow in-person meetings at that time, the showcases will be conducted virtually.
The overall goal of the project is to conduct research to investigate best practices to enhance making and innovation-related capacity for HBCU students and faculty via an inclusive community of practice. This goal will be accomplished via the following activities: two yearly Making and Innovation Showcases where student teams will develop and present innovations in response to one of the seventeen United Nations Sustainability Development Goals, and participate in professional development sessions; monthly virtual engagement to support participants; e-mentoring and coaching; and development of a toolkit of making and innovation resources for HBCUs. The research questions that guide this project at the faculty and student level are related to faculty professional development, improved teaching strategies, student motivation and STEM identity, and the students? role in the community of practice. The impact of the activities will be studied using quantitative and qualitative research methods.
This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.