National Science Foundation Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) Grant

Recent reports from the Office of the President of the United States and the National Academy of Engineering urge the nation to increase student retention in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to educate a STEM-literate populace. Uninspiring introductory courses, poor teaching, and lack of effective dissemination of best-practices are major obstacles that stand in the way of achieving these goals. Faculty members from Princeton University, Virginia Tech and the University of Massachusetts Amherst are partnering on a project entitled "Advancing the Dissemination of the Creative Art of Structural/Civil Engineering" with the aim of overcoming these obstacles through supporting the dissemination and implementation of an introductory civil engineering course that is to be enhanced with research-based pedagogy. The main objectives of the project are to:

  1. transform an introductory engineering course with dramatically improved interactivity and accessibility for non-STEM students;
  2. ensure that the course takes a form that can be readily adopted into the engineering and general education curricula of many types of institutions of higher education (e.g., undergraduate institutions, research universities, etc.); and
  3. facilitate dissemination, adoption, and continuous improvement of the courses beyond the audience already being reached.

Members of the Council on Science and Technology serve as Co-PI and part of the management team. Their main responsibilities include leading project evaluation and supporting the infusion of evidenced-based teaching practices into the targeted courses. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation  (NSF DUE 14-32426, 14-31717, and 14-31609).