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EHR Advisory Committee

November 18, 2021

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Advisory Committee (AC) on Education and Human Resources (EHR) met on November 3-4 for its regular oversight of the Directorate’s mission and activities. The meeting focused on two themes: Innovation Through Partnership, and Innovation Through Broadening Participation. 

After introducing new committee member Jeremy Roschelle, Acting Assistant Director (AD) Sylvia Butterfield provided an update on some staffing changes and activities within the Directorate. Members of the AC emphasized the importance of these changes, including : 

Name Former Role New Role 
Karen Marrongelle Assistant Director, EHRChief Operating Officer, NSF 
Sylvia Butterfield Deputy Assistant Director, EHR Acting Assistant Director, EHR
Evan Heit Division Director, Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Environments Acting Deputy Director, EHR
Elizabeth Vanderputten Division Director, Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Environments Division Director, Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Environments 

The first theme, Innovation Through Partnership, centered discussion around the planned new Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP). NSF leadership spoke about Director Panchanathan’s vision for TIP as a horizontal directorate, working across the Foundation’s existing directorates to facilitate partnerships and drive translational research. Members of the Advisory Committee also heard from leaders at three colleges and universities who have been successful in advancing different kinds of partnerships at their institutions: across disciplines, with the private sector, and with other institutions. Following these presentations, AC members expressed that EHR partnerships should emphasize 1) equitable resources distribution, across geographic and demographic lines, and 2) a focus on novel partners, such K-12 educators.  

Innovation Through Broadening Participation, the second theme of the meeting, looked at diversity and inclusion efforts both within EHR and throughout the STEM pipeline, especially in K-12 education. Members heard from EHR leadership about the role of language, including an update on the Directorates efforts to solicit community feedback to update the language used in official communications. They pressed NSF staff on the need to stay current and develop processes to regularly update standards, and they stressed the importance of using language that does not place the responsibility for structural disadvantages on those who are subject to them. 

To cap off these sessions, NSF-funded researchers shared their work using innovative partnerships working to build a deeper understanding of diversity in the STEM Pipeline and develop tools to broaden participation. These included Dr. Lisa Linnenbrink Garcia, who has written for FABBS’ journal Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain SciencesHer work on motivation and emotion in education provided a case study for working closely with K-12 schools to collect data, and then use that to develop effective tools to improve more diverse participation in STEM.  

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