Undergraduate chemistry education has witnessed many changes over the past few years, and likely will face further reform with upcoming modifications to the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). This document reports on a workshop held in 2013 that focused on examining the current state of undergraduate chemistry education. Various speakers from academia and industry presented on the main themes of the workshop: drivers of change to undergraduate chemistry curricula, examples of innovative teaching practices, methods for assessing the effectiveness of these new teaching approaches, and the barriers to implementing these changes. Many best practices emerged that can be transferred to other institutions.
The Committee on Undergraduate Physics Education Research (part of the National Research Council's Board on Physics and Astronomy) drafted this report based on their thorough examination of the current state of undergraduate physics education. They found that many challenges exist, including "systemic challenges" that need to be resolved, while at the same time, there have been innovations in the field. There is a strong foundation in physics education research, but wider dissemination of best practices is still needed. The report includes a discussion of specific recommendations for the various stakeholders required to play an active and collaborative role to support effective and sustainable undergraduate physics education.
This document represents the results of a study commissioned by the Division of Mathematical Sciences of the National Science Foundation -- the first comprehensive strategic study of the field since the late 1990s. The research, which focused on the many advances that have been made in mathematical sciences over the past few decades, was conducted by a committee consisting of a diverse mix of individuals from both the mathematical sciences and related disciplines, Most of these advances have been in the areas of computer simulation and working with big data. Their impacts have influenced many fields, not just the mathematical sciences, as well as affecting the everyday lives of the general public. The authors map out specific recommendations for steps that should be implemented by 2025, including undergraduate curricular reforms, greater financial and institutional support for collaborative and interdisciplinary research, and raising awareness about what mathematicians actually do in the hopes of attracting a broader representation of the general population to the field.
Many graduate students in chemistry programs face an increasingly uncertain future. Budget constraints on the majority of public universities have meant fewer new faculty hires. Federal funding for research is down, and pharmaceutical companies, once the bastion of employment for chemists, have reduced their research departments. In response to these challenges, the National Academies' Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology held a workshop to begin a conversation to explore the current state of chemistry graduate education and how it might need to evolve given new funding models and changing skill sets necessary for the future job market, where chemists might be taking on new and different roles, particularly in the areas of energy and sustainability. The report does not make any specific conclusions or recommendations, but it can act as a springboard for new directions and innovations in chemistry graduate programs across the country.
Community colleges play an increasingly important role in the development of the STEM workforce in the U.S., yet they are often overlooked in STEM policy discussions and initiatives. This report summarizes the presentations and discussions that took place at a one-day summit focused on community college and STEM education. Bringing together educators, policymakers, businesspeople, researchers, and community college students, participants focused on possible collaborations between community colleges and universities, ways to increase the participation of women and minorities in STEM fields, how to stave off attrition of students pursuing STEM degrees, and transfer issues for community college students moving to four-year institutions.
This publication highlights 29 model engineering education programs at universities and colleges across the U.S. All of the projects have successfully incorporated real world experiences into their programs, thereby fostering future engineers that have the necessary skills to thrive in an increasingly globalized workforce. The diverse programs are grouped by the following categories: capstone, course/curricular, co-op, extracurricular, first-year, global, and service learning. The report contains extensive descriptions of each program so that engineering departments and faculty members across the country can easily adapt and implement them in their own institutions. Prior to the program descriptions, a discussion of some of the challenges associated with adopting these types of programs, as well as ways to overcome those obstacles, is also included.