Category Archives: Blog

A better approach to math remediation?

Remedial education is the great conundrum of higher education. Lot of students need it—but the time and effort required is both daunting and discouraging. Eager to earn a degree, students placed in remedial math and reading courses instead find themselves on the proverbial slow boat to China.

According David Kirp, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, a number of colleges and university systems, including the City University of New York, are experimenting with a new approach to remediation that accelerates learning without sacrificing rigor.

Writing in the New York Times, Kirp said the CUNY program places full-time students in need of remediation in a semester-long program that focuses exclusively on skill building. Significantly, students in the CUNY Start program are provided 25 hours of instruction each week, which, he noted, is “substantially more than the usual course load.”

“The strategy is working,” Kirp argued. “More than half the students who complete the program are ready for college in just one semester, something that’s almost impossible with regular remedial courses.” Indeed, nationwide, only one-third of students placed in remedial math courses complete their studies with a passing grade.

For more about the CUNY Start program, see:

http://www2.cuny.edu/academics/academic-programs/model-programs/cuny-college-transition-programs/cuny-start

An evaluation of similar “ASAP” remediation programs by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation can be found here:

http://www.mdrc.org/project/evaluation-accelerated-study-associate-programs-asap-developmental-education-students#overview

Webinar for linguists applying for NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

The Linguistic Society of America is hosting a webinar for linguistics scholars focused on applying for the National Science Foundation’s  Graduate Research Fellowships.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, May 10 from 2:30 to 4:30 PM US EDT.

Register for the webinar here.  Participation is limited to 100 attendees, but the webinar will be archived for later viewing.

According to the LSA’s announcement, “students early in their research training – undergraduates, post bacs, first or second year graduate students, those whose graduate training was interrupted, and faculty advisors – are encouraged to attend, especially those from tribal colleges  (TCUs),  historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and other minority serving institutions.”

NSF inviting input on cyberinfrastructure strategy

The National Science Foundation is soliciting input on Future Needs for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure to Support Science and Engineering.

Responses to this Request for Information will, according to the NSF announcement, “directly inform the shaping of NSF’s investment plans for research cyberinfrastructure – advanced computing; data, software, and networking infrastructure; cybersecurity, and associated workforce development – to revolutionize the frontiers of all science and engineering domains over the next decade and beyond.”

The response deadline is April 5, 2017, 5:00 PM ET.  The Dear Colleague Letter provides full background and the a link to the required submission website: https://www.nsfci2030.org.

White House’s proposed budget targets science

Since the November presidential election, the science community has anxiously worried about the fate of programs and agencies that support and conduct research in the sciences. President Trump’s proposed budget, released this week, offers little reassurance and is already generating a flurry of news stories and commentary.

According to a March 16 New York Times story, the proposed budget “took direct aim at basic scientific and medical research.” While this was anticipated, the story noted that “the extent of the cuts in the proposed budget unveiled early Thursday shocked scientists, researchers and program administrators.” It stated:

“The reductions include $5.8 billion, or 18 percent, from the National Institutes of Health, which fund thousands of researchers working on cancer and other diseases, and $900 million, or a little less than 20 percent, from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which funds the national laboratories, considered among the crown jewels of basic research in the world.”

The story noted that the budget reflects an effort to zero-out funding for all climate change research, including within the EPA.

The budget must be passed by Congress and will, as is always the case, undergo significant changes. Indeed, some proposed cuts are already being deemed “non-starters” by several Republican leaders in Congress, particularly cuts to medical research.

Not all agencies are affected equally. Several websites and science advocacy organizations noted that the National Science Foundation was not mentioned in the White House’s budget. “Given the cuts seen for many other federal science agencies…some have seen the omission in the budget outline released today as a blessing,” observed the SAGE-sponsored website, Social Science Space.

Awards for “makers” making a difference

Infosys Foundation USA has launched its second year of the Infy Maker Awards competition to provide $10,000 to adult “makers” who are working on social impact projects. This year’s themes are education, health, environmental sustainability, and combating hunger.

Infosystems Foundation USA is a non-profit organization working to “expand professional development in computer science, coding, and making, especially for educators teaching in historically under-represented schools and communities,“ according to its website.

Applicants are asked to upload a photo and 90 second video and “answer several questions about your project and the problem you’re trying to solve.”

And what, exactly, is a “maker”? Adweek offers this quick definition:

“A convergence of computer hackers and traditional artisans, the niche is established enough to have its own magazine, Make, as well as hands-on Maker Faires that are catnip for DIYers who used to toil in solitude. Makers tap into an American admiration for self-reliance and combine that with open-source learning, contemporary design and powerful personal technology like 3-D printers.”

If that sounds like you or someone you know, the deadline for applying is Feb. 28, 2017.

For more information visit www.infymakers.com

I’m curious: Does this movement resonate in native communities, tribal colleges, and minority-serving colleges? Are there any students or instructors who consider themselves “makers”? Let us know.

New program solicitation announced for NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development Program

The National Science Foundation has issued a new program solicitation for its Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER), which provides support to “early-career” faculty who “have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization,” according to the solicitation synopsis.

“Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research,” according to the synopsis. “NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from early-career faculty at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply.”

The solicitation also includes a description of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

The new CAREER program solicitation (NSF 17-537) can be accessed at https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2017/nsf17537/nsf17537.htm

Funding for Alaska Native- and Native Hawaiian-Serving Colleges and Universities announced by USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced $3 million in available funding to support Alaska Native- and Native Hawaiian-Serving (ANNH) colleges and universities.

According to a USDA press release, NIFA’s ANNH Education Grants Program addresses educational needs in the food, agricultural and natural resource systems of the United States. Priority is given to those projects that enhance educational equity for underrepresented students and maximize the development and use of resources to improve food and agricultural sciences teaching programs.

The application deadline is March 21, 2017.

For more information: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/alaska-native-serving-and-native-hawaiian-serving-institutions-education

National Science Foundation Announces New TCUP Funding Opportunities

Guidelines for funding through the National Science Foundation’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) have been released, effective for all proposals submitted after January 25, 2016.

According to NSF guidelines, TCUP awards are made to “Tribal Colleges and Universities, Alaska Native-serving institutions, and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions to promote high quality science (including sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, statistics, and other social and behavioral sciences as well as natural sciences and education disciplines), technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, research, and outreach.”

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