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.
Friends at the University of Alaska’s Bristol Bay campus sent us their latest newsletter, which spotlights some interesting research activities in environmental studies and green design. It’s an inspiring overview of what is possible in even the remotest regions of the country.
Here’s the pdf: BBESL-Newsletter-Spring-2013-final
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
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.”
An important goal of The Native Engineering Report is to gather and make available a wide range of documents about PEEC and, more broadly, the history and impact of NSF-funded programs related to tribal and Native education. Ultimately, we hope this web site will become a comprehensive archive that will not only inform your current work, but also help support assessment and the development of future proposals.
Several publications are already available through the “Links” tab. In addition, we are now adding two more documents.
College of Menominee proudly announced the graduation of its first pre engineering student. Charles James graduated in June and is currently attending the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley where he plans to complete a B.S. in mechanical engineering.
“Charles was our first student and was a very understanding guinea pig for our experiments in instruction,” said College of Menominee Nation instructor Cody Martin. “Hopefully we managed to teach him as much as he taught us.”
The National Science Foundation has helped transform math and science programs at tribal and native-serving colleges. Carty Monette reflects on two decades of sustained support.
By Carty Monette
In a few months an important milestone will have been reached. Next year, 2014, will mark twenty years of direct funding from the National Science Foundation to tribal colleges.
In 1994 NSF initiated the Tribal College Rural Systemic Initiative (TCRSI), a targeted comprehensive strategy to increase the number of American Indians succeeding in science and mathematics. In the RSI program tribal colleges were provided the funds to lead systemic approaches to improve K-12 STEM education in 109 schools located in six states on 20 Indian reservations. TCRSI funding continued from 1994 to 2005 and in any given year well over 26,000 K-12 students were impacted.
Prior to TCRSI only a few tribal colleges had received funding from the National Science Foundation and at the National Science Foundation only a few individuals knew about tribal colleges. Throughout the ensuing 20-year relationship new programs and funding opportunities have opened for both tribal colleges and for the National Science Foundation. Perhaps the most important is the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP), a NSF program that was created in 2000 to provide tribal colleges with the resources needed to build STEM capacity.
Summer field experiences support undergraduate learning for American Indian students at the School of Mines
A 40-mile-long fault zone east of the Black Hills has become an open-air laboratory this summer for a team of students and faculty from the South Dakota School of Mines and Oglala Lakota College.
The immediate goal is to map the geologic features of the rugged and semi arid region. But the larger purpose, according to team members, is to test new approaches to undergraduate instruction and support development of reservation communities in South Dakota.
This summer field experience is a collaboration between the School of Mines and Technology, a state-supported institution, and Oglala Lakota College, a tribally controlled college located on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Both institutions are part of the NSF-funded Pre-Engineering Education Collaboratives.