Field Notes: Native Science Report Blog

2014 PEEC Workshop Agenda

The 2014 Pre-Engineering Education Collaboratives workshop will be held December 16-17 at the Embassy Suites in Minneapolis. The focus of this year’s gathering will be on discussing and documenting outcomes of the NSF-funded effort.  It will be a rich conversation and we are looking forward to your presentations.

The full agenda is available here: 2014 PEEC Workshop agenda

Tribal Colleges as STEM Leaders

Dr. Tim Olson, head of Salish Kootenai College’s information technology department, with the college’s satellite, currently under construction.

Dr. Tim Olson, head of Salish Kootenai College’s information technology department, with the college’s satellite, currently under construction.

Tribal colleges are often viewed as under-resourced institutions that must do more with less; they have smaller campuses, fewer books, less equipment for teaching and learning. This image conforms to a widely held view, often reinforced by those of us who advocate for the movement, that tribal colleges succeed despite their limited funding.

There is truth to this image, at least in the past, and it remains true for some of the newest and smallest colleges that are just beginning to develop their capacity, especially in STEM fields.

But this stereotype can mask the remarkable development of some other colleges.  After spending four days at Salish Kootenai College on the Flathead Reservation of western Montana, the main impression offered a visitor is not poverty, but the strength of the institution and the quality of its learning resources.

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New Report Looks to the Future of TCUP

TCUPThe National Science Foundation will continue to support tribal and native-serving colleges, according to leaders within the federal agency. However, colleges that have already received substantial support in the past will be encouraged to pursue new funding opportunities related to documenting the impact of their educational work.

That’s one of the key findings in a newly published report outlining the history, impact, and future of the National Science Foundation’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP). Summarizing two days of presentations and discussions during the 2014 TCUP Leaders’ Forum, held earlier this year in San Antonio, Texas, the12-page publication stressed that the National Science Foundation’s commitment to the tribal colleges remains strong. However, it also noted that colleges must also look beyond capacity building as it pursues funding opportunities.

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National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Symposium

The National Science Foundation is inviting tribal colleges to participate in the 2014 Symposium on Undergraduate Research in TCUP, planned for August 18.

Tribal college faculty and students interested in participating in this event should send an abstract (not exceeding 500 words) to Ms. Shanelle Clay (see email address in the attached flyer). Please indicate whether you are planning to do a poster or an oral presentation.

The symposium will be held at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia. Airfare and per diem reimbursements will be provided.

TCUP_Research_Symposium_flyer

Privatizing American Science

Bill Gates in 2005. Photo by Mohammad Jangda at the University of Waterloo.

Bill Gates in 2005. Photo by Mohammad Jangda at the University of Waterloo.

As government funding for research shrinks, the nation’s research agenda is increasing shaped by billionaire entrepreneurs willing to invest large sums in science–especially science that reflects their personal interests.

That’s the conclusion of a recent New York Times story investigating the the growing “privatization” of science funding. Increasingly, researchers are depending on the deep pockets of Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Google’s Eric E. Schmidt, and Oracle’s Lawrence Ellison for work that, in the past, was conducted by government labs and or with federal dollars.

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New Doctoral Program in Climate Change

Here’s an opportunity for your students:

The University of Idaho is inviting applications for an integrated graduate education and research traineeship focusing on water resources and climate change. Masters students “with a background in the water sciences, environmental science, ecology, climate science and related fields” are encourage to apply to this five year doctoral program. “Exceptional” baccalaureate students will also be considered.

According to the program web site, the NSF-funded program will allow students to “study impacts of climate change and population dynamics on physical, ecological, and socio-economic systems, and integrate these to formulate proactive adaptation scenarios for the Columbia River Basin.”

For more information: http://www.uidaho.edu/cogs/envs/water-resources/igert

TCUP Leaders Forum to be Held January 3-4

Developing and expanding research programs within tribal and Indian-controlled colleges will be the theme of the 2014 TCUP Leaders Forum to be held January 3-4 in San Antonio, Texas. Representatives of all colleges funded through the National Science Foundation’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Program are invited to attend this event.

This year’s forum is being hosted by Sisseton Wahpeton College. According to Scott Morgan, director of institutional research and programs, the 2014 gathering will allow colleges to “share and explore best practices and innovative approaches to STEM research, instruction, and evaluation under the theme ‘Broadening Participation In Research: Focus on Tribal Colleges.’ In addition, participants will discuss workforce challenges, opportunities, and the economic impact of TCUP on the tribal communities served.”

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