comprehensive universities, and research universities. When the roles of graduate and postdoctoral programs are addressed, as in Vision 6, it is as they pertain to undergraduate education.
The committee recognizes that not all of the recommendations and strategies for implementation will be equally useful or applicable to all postsecondary institutions. Different institutional histories, patterns of governance, campus cultures, and efforts to date to improve undergraduate education may make some implementation strategies more useful than others for a given institution. For example, many of the strategies for implementing Vision 6 (changes in graduate and postdoctoral programs) will not apply to community colleges and four-year undergraduate institutions. However, the committee believes that most SME&T departments and institutions should be able to utilize or adopt many of the implementation strategies offered in the report. The committee also recommends that all SME&T programs at two-and four-year colleges and universities work with other professional schools on campus that have direct or indirect interests in SME&T education (e.g., education, medical, business, and law schools), with programs in the humanities and social sciences, and with SME&T departments at other institutions in their regions.
Since large numbers of undergraduates now begin their higher education careers at community colleges and then matriculate at four-year institutions or move directly to the workplace (National Science Foundation, 1997a), two- and four-year institutions, educational associations, and local businesses and industries must work closely together at the local, state, and national levels to develop comprehensive plans for improving undergraduate SME&T education.
Changing the status quo is always difficult. When such change challenges the current organizational structure and mission of postsecondary institutions, strong leadership, understanding, and support for change will have to come from the top officials of those institutions to encourage the faculty who are working to improve SME&T education. Adopting the visions and implementing the strategies for change that are provided in this report will require a great deal of commitment, time, and creative energy by faculty, departments, and academic administrative leaders.