Using Broader Impacts to Improve Undergraduate Education and Instruction

Saturday, February 18, 2017: 2:15 PM-2:30 PM
Room 308 (Hynes Convention Center)
One of the five stated goals of the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative is to work with federal research agencies to develop mechanisms for recognizing, rewarding and promoting efforts to improve undergraduate learning.  We believe that one existing, but underutilized, mechanism at our disposal to accomplish this goal is the National Science Foundation Broader Impacts criteria.

Starting in 1997, scientists and engineers proposing grants to the NSF are required to address both the intellectual merit and the broader impacts of the proposed research. The broader impacts requirement is aimed at ensuring that all NSF grant proposers include specific information about how the proposed research will have broader societal impacts in areas that include economic competitiveness, education and community outreach. Many scientific researchers and university faculty members, however, are uncertain of what exactly they must do to successfully meet the broader impact requirements when applying for NSF funding.

The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-358) expressly states that one of the goals of the NSF Broader Impacts criterion is to improve undergraduate STEM education.  Despite this, very few NSF grant applicants utilize this education improvement goal as their means to meet the broader impact requirements.

The Association of American Universities proposes a flashtalk to discuss the challenges to using Broader Impacts to improve undergraduate education.
Toby Smith, Association of American Universities
Jay Labov, National Academy of Sciences
Toby Smith, Association of American Universities
Using Broader Impacts to Improve Undergraduate Education and Instruction