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Colloquy on Minority Males in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (2012)

Chapter: 7 PLENARY: POSSIBLE NSF SOLICITATION SUPPORTING RESEARCH ON MINORITY MALES IN STEM

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Suggested Citation:"7 PLENARY: POSSIBLE NSF SOLICITATION SUPPORTING RESEARCH ON MINORITY MALES IN STEM." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Colloquy on Minority Males in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13502.
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7

PLENARY:
POSSIBLE NSF SOLICITATION SUPPORTING RESEARCH ON
MINORITY MALES IN STEM

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.

Suggested Citation:"7 PLENARY: POSSIBLE NSF SOLICITATION SUPPORTING RESEARCH ON MINORITY MALES IN STEM." National Academy of Engineering. 2012. Colloquy on Minority Males in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13502.
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On August 8-12, 2010 the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), convened the Colloquy on Minority Males in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), following the release of several reports highlighting the educational challenges facing minority males. The NSF recognized the need to gather input from research communities that focus on minority males about how to frame investigations of gender-based factors that impact learning and choice in STEM education (both at the precollege and higher education levels) and the workforce for minority males. There was particular interest in framing a research agenda to study how interactions between minority males and societal and educational systems (both formal and informal) encourage or discourage the young men's interest and persistence in STEM. In addition, NSF hoped to gain community input to inform the parameters of a future NSF research program that could effectively address minority male participation in STEM. The Colloquy was held at the Mt. Washington Conference Center in Baltimore, Maryland, with approximately 40 participants, most of them researchers in education, psychology, sociology, mathematics, and physics.

Colloquy on Minority Males in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics presents a summary of the Colloquy's breakout and plenary discussions, which addressed (a) research questions articulated in the breakout groups together with theories and methodologies to begin to address these questions; and (b) considerations for a potential research solicitation for the NSF, with major areas of inquiry concerning access, participation, and success for minority males in STEM.

This report reflects the views of the individuals who participated in the plenary and breakout groups. It has been reviewed in draft form by persons chosen for their diverse perspectives and expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies' Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for quality and objectivity.

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