Overview This project proposes a conference designed to establish a national research agenda for STEM academic support at the college level. Many U.S. colleges and universities offer academic support for STEM undergraduates in the form of tutoring, group study programs, academic coaching, and the like, and these activities form a significant part of the STEM education experience for many college students. Yet, despite the high level of interest in investigating student learning in STEM in higher education, there has been remarkably little research into the mechanisms at play in academic-support services. The proposed conference, Developing a National Research Agenda for Academic Support in STEM Higher Education, would bring together academic support professionals, higher education scholars, higher education administrators, STEM faculty and STEM education researchers, and students to develop an agenda for research into academic support that involves scholars and practitioners, addresses real and pressing questions, and sets a path toward better-informed and more systematic decision-making around academic-support programming in US colleges and universities. The day-and-a-half-long conference will (a) seek to identify pressing questions in STEM academic support, (b) enable attendees to develop new skills and knowledge to support their research activities, (c) encourage collaboration among practitioners and scholars, and (d) enable participants to create concrete plans for future work, in part via a virtual collaboration platform. A culminating white paper will help drive a national research program in STEM academic support. Intellectual Merit Much of the current academic support offered at US higher-education institutions lacks a solid evidence base; this conference sets out to strengthen that base and to involve both scholars and practitioners in the research conversation. This cross-functional collaboration promotes development of research that is grounded in real-world problems and practice that is informed by scholarship. Pursuing a national research agenda for STEM academic support, in tandem with the already vigorous national agenda for improvement of STEM teaching at the college level, is critical to building a higher-education system that supports all students interested in pursuing STEM study and careers. This conference has the potential to spark further work that could ultimately heighten national attention to scholarship on academic support, increase connectivity between researchers and practitioners, and augment the level of evidence-based practice used in academic support programming in a variety of institutional types across the country. Broader Impacts This conference’s key goal is to catalyze and drive innovative research in STEM academic support at the college level. To encourage creativity and feasibility of ideas, it promotes cross-fertilization by purposefully bringing together scholars and practitioners from various types of institutions. It paves the way to further knowledge about the effectiveness of and mechanisms involved in academic-support services for college students, a critical supplement for students in large introductory lecture courses, especially for underrepresented minority, low-income, and first-generation college students. The research agenda that emerges from this conference, which will be disseminated through a variety of mechanisms, and the continuing virtual community created by the conference will provide a structured mechanism for continuing discussion, exploration, and investigati
|Effective start/end date
|11/1/18 → 10/31/19
- National Science Foundation (DUE-1836657)
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