NSB Discusses Diversity in STEM at August Meeting
The National Science Board (NSB) convened virtually on August 3-4 for its quarterly meeting overseeing the National Science Foundation (NSF). The open sessions of the meeting featured updates from NSF staff and discussions about the Vision 2030 initiative and tools for broadening participation in science and engineering.
The Committee on External Engagement led a presentation and discussion focused on the role of community colleges in creating opportunities to develop STEM talent across racial, ethnic, gender, and geographic lines, a goal shared by FABBS societies. The session featured a presentation from Dr. Thomas Brock, Director of the Community College Research Center, and formerly the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Research. While these institutions can be incredibly helpful, too many students still fail to benefit, and the Committee outlined ways in which colleges can provide better guidance to students and bolster the STEM workforce.
Reflecting on one year of Vision 2030, NSB members, led by Vice Chair Dr. Victor McCrary, highlighted the success of influencing the science and engineering discussion in the U.S. – terms like “the missing millions” and “sputnik 2 moment” have successfully entered the lexicon of the scientific community and policymakers alike. Other indicators of progress and reasons for optimism include bipartisan enthusiasm for science investments from Congress and synergy between Administration priorities, Director Panchanathan’s vision, and the NSB’s Vision 2030 goals.
Looking ahead, NSB members discussed goals and opportunities for year two of the initiative. They noted a shared interest from policymakers in the Administration and Congress to better measure impact and outcomes. Combined with an Administration priority on equity, the Board sees opportunities to expand on reports such as the Science and Engineering Indicators and Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering and work to bring more attention to these data. They also highlighted the creation of a new directorate, which will allow NSF to better align with policymaker priorities on taking research from discovery to implementation.
Director Panchanathan also provided a staff update to the NSB, sharing news that may be of interest to FABBS members. Dr. Karen Marrongelle, the former Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources is moving to the Director’s office, where she will take on the role of Chief Operations Officer for the National Science Foundation. Sylvia James has taken on the role of Acting Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources while the Foundation conducts its search for a replacement.