Using Research to Inform Policies and Practices in Science Education: Conversations With Faculty and Administrators
Providing all students with equitable access to high-quality STEM education, including equitable access to opportunity and encouragement to pursue STEM academic and career pathways, is one of the nation’s greatest education priorities and challenges. The dearth of underrepresented minorities and women of all races and ethnicities in tenured and tenure-track STEM faculty positions at research universities limits the availability and array of role models for new generations of scientists. As a result, the talent pool of individuals who can offer new approaches to research and practice in these critical fields is diminished. Studies suggest that many students, especially those who have traditionally been underrepresented in science and engineering fields, leave scientific studies or change scientific career aspirations because the STEM academic community is unwelcoming, uninspiring, or structured to “weed out” rather than nurture and encourage talent and diversity.
In September 2013, AIR, with the support of a grant from the National Science Foundation, convened a two-day symposium, Using Research to Inform Policies and Practices in Science Education, to engage key stakeholders in a series of discussions on how social science research can inform broadening participation efforts in STEM. This postsymposium report summarizes the research that was presented at the symposium and the ensuing discussions among symposium participants.