A well-prepared, innovative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce is crucial to the Nation’s health and economy. Indeed, recent policy actions and reports have drawn attention to the opportunities and challenges inherent in increasing the number of highly qualified STEM graduates, including STEM teachers. Priorities include educating students to be leaders and innovators in emerging and rapidly changing STEM fields as well as educating a scientifically literate populace. Both of these priorities depend on the nature and quality of the undergraduate education experience. In addressing these STEM challenges and priorities, the National Science Foundation invests in evidence-based and evidence-generating approaches to understanding STEM learning; to designing, testing, and studying instruction and curricular change; to wide dissemination and implementation of best practices; and to broadening participation of individuals and institutions in STEM fields. The goals of these investments include: increasing the number and diversity of STEM students, preparing students well to participate in science for tomorrow, and improving students’ STEM learning outcomes. The Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE: EHR) program invites proposals that address immediate challenges and opportunities that are facing undergraduate STEM education, as well as those that anticipate new structures (e.g. organizational changes, new methods for certification or credentialing, course re-conception, cyberlearning, etc.) and new functions of the undergraduate learning and teaching enterprise. The IUSE: EHR program recognizes and respects the variety of discipline-specific challenges and opportunities facing STEM faculty as they strive to incorporate results from educational research into classroom practice and work with education research colleagues and social science learning scholars to advance our understanding of effective teaching and learning. Toward these ends the program features two tracks: (1) Engaged Student Learning and (2) Institutional and Community Transformation. Two tiers of projects exist within each track: (i) Exploration and Design and (ii) Development and Implementation. Note: Because it addresses undergraduate STEM education, the IUSE: EHR funding opportunity is offered in alignment with the NSF-wide undergraduate STEM education initiative, Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (NSF-IUSE). More information about NSF-IUSE can be found in the Introduction of this solicitation.
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