Norman Fortenberry, Director of the NAE Center for Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education (CASEE), led discussion of a possible NSF solicitation that might take into consideration the elements cited by many of the Colloquy participants. The discussion yielded the following observations:
- Contributions from a variety of research fields (including several in the social sciences) and a broad array of relevant theories, research designs, and methodologies could be of value and researchers from these fields should be encouraged to apply.
- Disaggregation of data could enhance the understanding of underlying dynamics that affect minority male participation in STEM studies, research, and careers.
- Innovative research designs that recognize and exploit small sample sizes inherent in the relevant communities might be useful.
- It may be helpful to give special attention to publicizing and providing guidance for the NSF solicitation to a broad community of researchers, with special efforts to engage diverse opinions and researchers who focus on underrepresented minority males.
- Research on the challenges and opportunities of practice could be highlighted as a priority in the solicitation.
Some attendees expressed concern about the adequacy of current NSF reviewer pools for proposals submitted to an NSF grant program addressing the research topics identified during the Colloquy, noting that it would be imperative for reviewers to be open to new approaches for research. In particular, given the small populations of many underrepresented minority males considered during the Colloquy, unconventional research methods might be required. An additional suggestion was that NSF sensitize its staff and reviewers to be receptive to unusual research approaches that may be unfamiliar or untraditional (compared with other NSF program solicitations) by providing information on the novel research methods and on the underrepresented minority male populations to be studied.