The STEM-C (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, including Computing) Partnerships program is a major research and development effort of two NSF Directorates, the Directorate for Education and Human Resources and the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering, which supports innovative partnerships to improve teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. STEM-C Partnerships combines and advances the efforts of both the former Math and Science Partnership (MSP) and the former Computing Education for the 21st Century (CE21) programs. It is critical that our nation maintain a competent, competitive and creative STEM workforce, including teachers. Therefore, NSF aims to inspire and motivate the next generation of that workforce, while ensuring that it has the skills, competencies, and preparation to be successful. As we transition to a global, knowledge-based economy that is often driven by information technology and innovation, it is increasingly important that STEM workforce preparation includes a strong foundation in computing. Thus, the STEM-C Partnerships program addresses both the need for advances in K-12 STEM education generally, as well as the need to elevate the inclusion of computer science education.
From MSP, STEM-C Partnerships embraces any of the STEM disciplines --within the natural science, mathematics, engineering, or computer science -- and maintains its commitment to institutional partnerships and opportunities for funding of Targeted proposals in one of four focal areas: Community Enterprise for STEM Teaching and Learning, Current Issues Related to STEM Content, Identifying and Cultivating Exceptional Talent, and K-12 STEM Teacher Preparation. From CE21, STEM-C Partnerships adds a discipline-specific focal area on the teaching and learning of computing and computational thinking, a strong commitment to broadening participation in computing, an emphasis on in-service teacher professional development, and support for the implementation of computer science courses at the high school level. It is expected that the merging of the MSP and CE21 programs will strengthen both and serve as a model for future incorporation of discipline-specific concerns into programs focused more broadly on STEM.
The STEM-C Partnerships program supports Partnerships that promote effective K-12 STEM education, building knowledge of teaching and learning in ways that deepen understanding and stimulate further exploration of STEM education in both in- and out-of-school settings. The Partnerships' cross-disciplinary teams call upon the expertise and research perspectives of learning scientists, including cognitive scientists, educational, developmental and social psychologists, social scientists and education researchers, as well as STEM, discipline-specific teachers, faculty, researchers, and scientists. The Partnerships provide the context and environment for the effective preparation, professional development, and ongoing support of K-12 teachers. Changes at the undergraduate level related to the preparation of K-12 STEM teachers are an implicit expectation of the work; in this way, the STEM-C Partnerships is a K-16 endeavor. Projects are encouraged to look at scalable models of effective learning and professional development mediated, perhaps, by evolving computational devices and advances in cyberinfrastructure, as well as ongoing developments in models, resources, tools, and their applications to learning, content, delivery, and pedagogy. The program supports transformative research and its use by varied research, development, and implementation communities. The needs of a particular Partnership related to advancing the teaching and learning of any of the STEM disciplines at the K-12 level should drive the focus of the Partnership's work. The inclusion of computer science, computational thinking, computational science or computing in K-12 STEM instruction is welcome, but not required.
All STEM-C Partnerships projects serve as models that have a sufficiently strong evidence/research base to improve STEM education outcomes for all students. The STEM-C Partnerships program requires institutional commitment to evidence-based teaching and learning which improves the achievement of all students studying STEM, with particular attention to educational practices that are effective for groups underrepresented in STEMwomen, minorities (African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islander territories), and students with disabilities. Through this solicitation, NSF seeks to support both STEM-C Partnerships Targeted awards and STEM-C Partnerships Computer Science Education Expansion awards. The Targeted Partnerships are supported at two funding levels (Implementation and Prototype) and are open to innovative Partnerships composed minimally of at least two Core Partners, a K-12 School District and an institution that brings disciplinary expertise in the natural sciences, mathematics, engineering and/or computer science and is actively engaged in the production of STEM teachers. STEM-C Partnerships Targeted awards may focus on any field of mathematics, or the natural sciences, or engineering, or computer science at the K-12 level. Targeted Prototype awards explore potentially innovative approaches and strategies in education. Targeted Implementation awards are intended to develop and put into practice innovative approaches and strategies in education. Both types of Partnerships incorporate significant new innovations to STEM education, linked to a strong educational research agenda, in one of five focal areas described below.
The STEM-C Partnerships Computer Science Education Expansion awards are open only to NSF MSP Partnerships that have been previously funded to work at the high school level and who seek to expand their work to increase the number of qualified computer science teachers and the number of high schools with rigorous computer science courses incorporated into the academic program.
Due Date: March 18, 2014