DCL: NSF INCLUDES Collective Impact as a Pathway to Reinvigorate Broadening Participation in STEM
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development in the US are critical for global competitiveness and national security. However, the U.S. is facing a decrease in entrants to the STEM workforce which is not shared evenly across demographics. Specifically, women, underrepresented minorities, and people with disabilities obtain STEM degrees and enter the STEM workforce at levels significantly below their demographic representation in the U.S. The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES) program supports models, networks, partnerships and research to ensure the broadening participation in STEM of women, members of racial and ethnic groups that have been historically underrepresented, persons of low socio-economic status, and people with disabilities. This conference focuses on collective impact as a strategy to address the broadening participation challenge. Collective impact is distinguished from collaboration in that the alliances require a backbone organization to succeed. The goal of this project is to organize a conference to inform backbone organizations toward broadening participation in STEM education and the workforce.
The conference takes place at the University of California, San Diego January 20-22, 2017 and brings together Project Investigators from the Design and Development pilots, along with stakeholders in broadening participation in STEM on a local, regional, and national scale. The overarching goal of the conference is to develop the knowledge base of participants in the application of the collective impact model, and the role of backbone organizations to address specific issues and transition points of the STEM pipeline. Conference participants include K-12, community college, and university representatives; leaders in graduate education, policy makers and private sector employers. The conference includes plenary sessions, flash presentations, and interactive workgroups engaged in the development of collective impact approaches to problems in Broadening Participation in STEM. Workgroups share their insights, and audience feedback is electronically curated via Twitter and Storify. To respond in real time to participant questions or insights this conference uses the innovative platform, IdeaWave, to solicit, sort and value ideas from the attendees before, during, and after the conference. Conference results are integrated into a final report to inform the NSF INCLUDES Alliances backbone organizations. The intellectual merit of the project is that it advances knowledge about the barriers to broadening participation in STEM education and the workforce, the collective impact model, and the role of the backbone organization to guide the vision and strategy, and support the activities, evaluation, and communication of the NSF INCLUDES Alliances. The broader impact of this project is that it benefits society by informing backbone organizations, which leads to broadening participation of the STEM workforce and ultimately increases U.S. global competitiveness and national security.
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