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BHEW Current Projects

Consensus Studies

K-12 Teacher Workforce Study
The Board on Higher Education and Workforce and the Board on Science Education (BOSE) seek to understand the changes that have taken place in the K-12 teacher workforce, and to identify emerging trends that will continue to shift the pre-service and in-service needs and experiences of the teacher workforce in the next 10-20 years. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 3.6 million teachers stand at the front of our K-12 classrooms, planting the seeds of knowledge and the tools for lifelong learning in students. These teachers hold the responsibility of educating students in rapidly-changing, dynamic conditions. While the rise of technology in the classroom and advances in evidence-based teaching practices have opened more avenues for teachers to take to ensure their pedagogical approaches best serve students, the question remains: How can we ensure that all K-12 systems and teachers have the pre-service training and ongoing in-service training they need to adapt to 21st-century schools and classrooms? With support from the Hewlett Foundation, the study will pursue this and a number of other important questions. The process to identify and appoint a committee has begun, and the study will begin in Fall 2018. Learn more...

The Science of Effective Mentoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine, and Mathematics (STEMM)
While access to and engagement with a strong mentor are known to be critical factors in the academic and career development of undergraduate and graduate students in STEMM—especially for many members of historically underrepresented populations—there has not been adequate attention to ensuring that mentors and mentees are educated and trained with the evidence-based knowledge and skills necessary to ensure highly productive and sustainable mentoring relationships. It is increasingly clear that successful mentoring relationships can be nurtured using existing and emerging research on the characteristics, competencies, and behaviors identified for being effective mentors and mentees. What is missing is a systematic compilation and analysis of the current research on mentorship in STEMM as well as a practical resource guide that enables mentoring practitioners to create and support viable, sustainable mentoring support systems. This study proposes to addresses these two gaps. Learn more...


Re-envisioning Promotion and Advancement for STEM Faculty: Aligning Incentives with Values
A planning committee under the auspices of the Board on Higher Education and Workforce will design a convocation on October 17-18, 2019, to highlight policies and strategies that affect the systems of reward and professional advancement for STEM faculty at U.S. colleges and universities. Specifically, the convocation will focus on identifying practices and policies that reward faculty for participating in activities such as outreach and public engagement, using evidence-based teaching and mentoring practices, developing and offering more creative interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary coursework, creating novel ways to broaden participation in science among underrepresented groups, and developing specific strategies for reflecting the principles of convergence in courses and programs. The convocation will bring together approximately 75 stakeholders to discuss the issues, research, and strategies for creating campus-based conversations—as well as conversations in federal and state agencies, private foundations, and higher education societies, and professional associations—aimed at examining new promotion and tenure policies and practices. Our intent is to use this convocation as a springboard to launching a major National Academies consensus study. The planning committee’s eight members have experience and expertise in science and engineering, promotion and tenure policies and practices, and higher education research and teaching and are chaired by Laurie Leshin, President of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Funding for the convocation is being provided by the Kavli Foundation, Packard Foundation, and National Science Foundation.

Strengthening Sustainability Programs and Curricula for Undergraduates and Graduates
The Board on Higher Education and Workforce, in collaboration with the Science and Technology for Sustainability Program (STS) will plan and conduct a series of three public workshops focused on strengthening sustainability programs and curricula at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the United States. Each workshop will examine different approaches and drivers for a coherent competency- and skill-based curriculum in the growing number of higher education sustainability programs, in order to connect them to the issues addressed through such frameworks as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the priorities of end users, including the private and public sectors. Based on the content of the three workshops, the committee will produce a report that provides findings and recommendations for strengthening sustainability programs and curricula at the undergraduate and graduate levels that relate to the SDGs. In addition, the workshop proceedings will be issued for the first two workshops.



BHEW Completed Projects

Closing the Equity Gap: Securing our STEM Education and Workforce Readiness Infrastructure in the Nation's Minority-Serving Institutions
An ad hoc committee under the oversight of the Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW), in collaboration with the Board on Science Education (BOSE), will undertake a study to examine the goals, aspirations, challenges and successes of colleges and universities that serve a significant portion of our nation’s African American, Hispanic, Asian-American and Native American STEM graduates-- often collectively referred to as Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). This study will address the following questions:  What are the key challenges and obstacles facing MSIs as they strive to produce well-educated scientists, engineers and health care providers who are prepared for success the 21st Century workplace? In particular, what challenges are unique to MSIs (as a consequence of the demographics of the students they serve, their history of support and funding, and their special designation as Title III institutions), and how are those institutions working to address those challenges? Learn more...

 Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century
On May 29, 2018, the committee released the consensus report Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century with a public launch event and webcast. The committee was chaired by former AAAS President Alan Leshner, who authored a policy forum in Science shortly after the report release: Student-centered, modernized graduate education. The report examines the state of STEM graduate- level education in the U.S., revisiting and updating a similar COSEMPUP study completed 20 years ago. Through this study, the committee conducted a systems analysis of graduate education with the aim of identifying policies, programs and practices that could better meet the diverse education and career needs of master’s and Ph.D. graduate students in coming years (and understanding the commonalities and distinctions between the two levels), and also identifying deficiencies and gaps in the system that could improve graduate education programs. The staff has developed an extensive dissemination and outreach plan in order to engage stakeholder audiences with the report and recommendations. The study was sponsored by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation.

Next Generation Researchers Initiative
The committee for the Next Generation Researchers Initiative, chaired by Ron Daniels, President of The Johns Hopkins University, focused on evaluating the barriers that prospective biomedical and behavioral researchers encounter as they transition to independent research careers and the extent to which employers (industry, higher education academic institutions, and others) can facilitate these transitions for early career researchers. On April 12, the committee publicly released their consensus report, The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Researchers: Breaking Through. The event was webcast, and highlights of the report were discussed with the study sponsors, including NIH leadership. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) were also present. The committee’s report offers a series of recommendations to Congress, NIH, biomedical research institutions, and principal investigators. The report’s aim is to mitigate or prevent the United States from endangering its position as the global leader in biomedical research, and to support the next generation of biomedical researchers as they identify and pursue an independent research career path that best serves them and their community. The report also includes a review of responses to recommendations made in prior National Academies and NIH reports. The study was funded with grant support from NIH and Bloomberg.

Integration of Education in the Humanities, Science, Engineering and Medicine
As the Board on Higher Education and Workforce embarks on new projects aimed at improving the understanding and application of science, engineering and medicine toward the social, economic and cultural well-being of the nation and planet, we believe it is critical to work with partners in the humanities for their input and engagement. While our focus is developing policy recommendations that improve science, engineering and health education and training in our nation’s colleges and universities, a broader goal is to enable all citizens to have enriching and meaningful lives. As such, we believe the higher education and public policy communities would benefit from an exploration of effective strategies to link educational experiences in science, engineering and medicine within rich experiences in the humanities—including literature, history, philosophy, arts, language, religion, and area studies. Learn more...

Growth of Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments
An ad hoc committee will examine the current large influx of undergraduate students enrolling in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Information Science courses in 4-year institutions, to determine whether these increases are similar to other cyclical fluctuations in the past or are more likely to be sustained. The committee will consider strategies that various institutions are using to respond most effectively to enrollment growth while maintaining course access and quality, as well as the impact those strategies are having on faculty and graduate student hiring and workload, student retention, and efforts to increase the enrollment of women and under-represented minorities in CS/CE/Information courses and degree programs. Learn more...

Participatory Workshop on Effective Mentoring in STEMM: practice, research, and future directions

Mentoring has long been understood as a beneficial component of academic and professional development. But investigations of the attributes of effective mentors and mentees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medical (STEMM) education at the high school and undergraduate levels are only now starting to shed light on how exactly these complex and dynamic relationships form, evolve, and impact the lives and careers of the current and next generation of STEMM professionals. To explore the conversation surrounding this highly interdisciplinary field, the Board on Higher Education and Workforce and the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine, and in collaboration with the Board on Science Education and the Teacher Advisory Council of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, convened a 2-day workshop in Washington D.C. in  February 9-10, 2017. Learn more...

Quality in Undergraduate Education

BHEW held a national workshop of thought leaders and interested stakeholders that focuses on understanding, defining and measuring quality in the undergraduate experience. The goals of this workshop are:

  1. To engage scholars and researchers—as well as leaders from higher education, business, civic organizations and government—in intensive and focused discussions of quality in the undergraduate educational experience, including at community colleges, four-year colleges, and degree certification programs.
  2. To begin to understand how to define and measure those factors that contribute to a quality educational experience that are difficult to quantify but that may represent the core elements of a successful undergraduate experience for most students.
  3. To identify key questions and research themes that need further study regarding the definition, measurement and determination of a quality postsecondary education.
  4. To publish a report of the proceedings that can stimulate further dialogue among education leaders and policy makers on the topic of quality, which can in turn influence both institutional policy and practice and public policies at the federal and state levels. View more

Federal Research Regulations and Reporting Requirements: A New Framework for Research Universities in the 21st Century 

An ad hoc committee under the auspices of the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law (CSTL) and the Board of Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW) conducted a study of Federal regulations and reporting requirements with specific attention to those directed at research universities. In conducting its analyses the committee will be aware of (a) the context and intended benefits and circumstances under which a particular regulation was issued and may have evolved, and (b) whether those contexts or circumstances still remain of public concern. The committee will develop a new framework for Federal regulation of research universities in the 21st century that addresses the needs of Congress, Federal agencies, and the broader public while advancing to the maximum extent feasible the missions of research universitiesView more

Building a National STEM Workforce Strategy: A Workshop for Researchers and Other Stakeholders

The workshop was intended to inform the National Science Foundation’s Directorate on Education and Human Resources (NSF-EHR) in its mandate to help prepare a broad and diverse U.S. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce for the 21st century.  It will contribute to NSF-EHR’s preparation of a theoretical and evidence-based STEM Workforce Development R&D Core Framework.  Workshop participants will suggest refinements in the goals for the framework, discuss research themes, and identify gaps as well as emerging research opportunities related to STEM workforce development.  Themes for discussion include STEM pathways and transition points, STEM teaching and learning, career preparation and interdisciplinary education and training.  The workshop will also serve as a resource to federal and state policymakers, researchers, employers, and foundations that are contributing to the development of a robust and diverse U.S. STEM workforce. View More

Improving Higher Education's Responsiveness to STEM Workforce Needs: Identifying Analytical Tools and Regional Best Practices
The Helmsley Foundation  funded a new study to explore the effectiveness of higher education in educating STEM-trained workers in response to regional workforce needs. The committee will conduct a series of regional meetings, analyze data on STEM degree production, convene a workshop, and prepare a report addressing the following questions:  What data are available to assess the effectiveness of higher education institutions in educating STEM-trained workers?  To what extent can regional profiles be created that link STEM educational resources and post-secondary degree pathways with workforce needs?  What practices and policies are educational institutions adopting to respond to local industry STEM workforce needs?  And what further actions are needed improved linkages between higher education resources and STEM workforce needs at the regional level? View More

Gulf Research Program: Education and Training Opportunity Analysis Workshop
In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire caused the release of approximately 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and significantly affected the Gulf environment and people. As part of legal settlements with the companies involved, the federal government asked the National Academy of Sciences to establish a 30-year research program focused on human health, environmental protection, and oil system safety in the Gulf region. The Gulf Research Program (GRP) was established in 2013. The GRP and BHEW Education and Training Opportunity Analysis workshop is intended to be an in-depth exploration with approximately 30 key participants from the Gulf Region higher education, workforce development, employer, and policymaking communities. The workshop will consider the current state of education and training pathways for preparing the region’s middle skilled workforce in both the short- and long-term and identify perceived needs and potential opportunities that might be addressed by the Gulf Research Program.

Study on Research Universities
In response to a request from Senators Mikulski and Alexander and Representatives Gordon and Hall, the National Academies conducted a study on the future of U.S. research universities as a follow-up to the National Academies' Rising Above the Gathering Storm which has been very influential in shaping national policy on research, innovation, and science education.  This study examined the current financial, organizational, and intellectual capacity of research universities in the US with a view to ensuring that these vital institutions continue to contribute to US economic competitiveness and other national goals for energy, the environment, health, and national security.  In addition, it placed the "ecosystem" of US research universities in the changing international landscape, predicted what this strong set of institutions will look like 15-20 years from now, and provided recommendations for action for the U.S. Congress, the Administration, state governments, research universities, and others...View more

Measuring Higher Education Productivity: Conceptual Framework and Data Needs
Joint Project with Committee on National Statistics and Board on Testing and Assessment
This study examined issues in measuring productivity in higher education. The study committee developed a conceptual framework for measuring productivity in this sector and described the data needs for that framework. The framework addressed productivity at different levels of aggregation including the institution, system, and sector levels and took into account the great variety of types and missions of higher education institutions in the United States, ranging from open admission colleges to major research universities that compete on an international scale. An overarching goal of this study addressed the complexities of measuring productivity and monitoring accountability in higher education...View more

Assessing Current and Future Workforce Needs in Veterinary Medicine
Joint project with the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources
This study examined the broad scope of issues related to the veterinary workforce in the United States. It explored historical changes in the size and characteristics of the veterinary workforce; assessed the demographics and adequacy of the current supply...View more

 Evolving Relationships and Dynamics Between Two- and Four-Year Colleges and Universities: A Summit
Joint project with National Academy of Engineering, Board on Science Education, Teacher Advisory Council, and Board on Life Sciences

Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries
Joint Project with Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Workforce Needs for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Defense Industrial Base
Joint project with the Air Force Studies Board

Assuring a Future US-Based Nuclear Chemistry Expertise
Joint Project with the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology and Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board

Future U.S. Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence

Joint Project with Board on Earth Sciences and Resources 

Underrepresented Groups and the Expansion of the S&E Workforce Pipeline
This study of the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy is staffed by BHEW
This committee explored the role of diversity in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workforce and its value in keeping America innovative and competitive. The study analyzed the rate of change and the challenges the nation currently faces in developing a strong and diverse workforce.  In addition, it identified best practices and the characteristics of these practices that make them effective and sustainable...View more
View the Final report

National Needs for Biomedical, Behavioral, and Clinical Research Personnel
The committee prepared a report to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare and Quality Research (AHRQ) on issues regarding research personnel needs as they relate to the administration of the National Research Service Awards (NRSA) program.  The committee gathered and analyzed information on employment and education trends.
View the Final report

Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs
The National Research Council assessed U.S. research doctorate programs. Like previous efforts in the 1980s and 1990s, this study was designed to help universities improve the quality of these programs...View more
View the Final report

Enhancing the Master’s Degree in the Natural Sciences
This study described the goals and characteristics of students who pursue and obtain master's degrees in the natural sciences, assessed the needs of employers for staff trained in the natural sciences at this level, and examined how these staff contribute...View more

Review of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Draft Memorandum, "NAVSEA's 21st Century Engagement, Education, and Technology Initiative"
An ad hoc committee reviewed the draft Department of Navy memorandum, "21st Century Engagement, Education, and Technology Initiative" in light of the recent National Academies report, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm."  This publicly available memorandum articulated a plan for NAVSEA to address the shortage in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) professional workforce that is vital to its mission success. The committee advised on the viability and implementation of the activities proposed in the memorandum: activities to generate interest and capability in STEM in K-12 and higher education; engaging academia and industry; and efforts to improve recruiting and retention of STEM workers within NAVSEA and the Navy.  The committee prepared a brief report detailing its advice and recommendations.  View the Final report

Preparing for an Evaluation of the NRC Resident Research Associateship Program at NIST
The NIST/NRC Postdoctoral Research Associateships Program provides two-year temporary appointments for outstanding scientists and engineers chosen through a national competition administered by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences. These appointments provide an opportunity for some of the Nation's best young scientists, mathematicians and engineers to engage in state-of-the-art research in association with senior research specialists of the Institute's staff, using the excellent and often unique research facilities at NIST. This study inventoried the pool of applicants for and recipients of the NIST/NRC Postdoctoral Research Associateships, including career outcomes of NIST postdoctoral scholars. The report provided findings, conclusions, and recommendations about possible methods for conducting more in-depth and broader evaluations.  View the Final report

Enhancing the Community College Pathway to Engineering Careers
Joint project with the National Academy of Engineering
The important role of community colleges in educating engineers is not well known to the public, or even to the engineering community. In fact, 20 percent of engineering degree holders began their academic careers with at least 10 credits from community colleges, and 40 percent of the recipients of engineering bachelor and master degrees in 1999 and 2000 attended community colleges. This study provided guidelines to policy makers and higher education institutions on improving engineering education at community colleges and enhancing partnerships in engineering education between community colleges and four-year institutions. View the Final report

Policy Implications of International Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars in the United States
Joint project with the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy
The nation has drawn increasingly on human resources from abroad for its science and engineering workforce. However, competition for talent has grown as other countries have expanded their research infrastructure and created more opportunities for international students. This report discussed trends in international student enrollments and stay rates, and examines the impact of visa policies on international mobility of the highly skilled.
View the Final report

Advancing the Nation’s Health Needs: NIH Research Training Programs
The National Research Council was charged with the responsibility of periodically assessing the National Institutes of Health s National Research Service Awards program, thus this book is the twelfth edition in the series. While the National Research Service Awards program now supports only a fraction of the training in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences, it sets a high standard for the training in all doctoral programs in these fields. Also included are the training needs of oral health, nursing, and health services research. This book has been broadly constructed to take into account the rapidly evolving national and international health care needs. The past and present are analyzed and predictions with regard to future needs are presented.
View the Final report

Assessment of NIH Minority Research Training Programs
This report provided an assessment of NIH’s programs for increasing the participation in biomedical science of individuals from underrepresented minority groups. The report examined, using available data and the results of a survey of NIH trainees, the characteristics and outcomes of programs at the undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, and junior faculty levels. The report provided recommendations for improving these programs and their administration.  In addition, it recommended how NIH can improve the data it collects on trainees in all NIH research training programs in order to enhance its training program evaluation.
View the Final report

Evaluation of the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust Programs in Biomedical Science
BHEW completed an evaluation of the research and training programs in biomedical and clinical science funded by the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust. Five reports were produced from this project, including studies of the Trust’s research grants program and the Markey Scholars program and a workshop report on the role of evaluation in philanthropy. You may view the five reports on the National Academies Press web site by clicking on the report titles below.
Evaluation of the Markey Scholars Program (2006)
Funding Biomedical Research Programs: Contributions of the Markey Trust (2006)
Enhancing Philanthropy's Support of Biomedical Scientists: Proceedings of a Workshop on Evaluation (2006)
Markey Scholars Conference: Proceedings (2004)
Bridging the Bed-Bench Gap: Contributions of the Markey Trust (2004)

Building a Workforce for the Information Economy
Joint project with the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, the Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy, and the Board on Testing and Assessment
This study offered an in-depth look at information technology workers, where they work and what they do, illuminating key areas that have been raised in political debates:  Where do people in IT jobs come from? What kind of education and training matter most for them? Does the labor market—and the experiences of employers and workers—differ in various parts of the country? How do citizens of other countries factor into the U.S. IT workforce? What do we know about IT career paths, and what does that imply for IT workers as they age? And can we measure what matters? The study identified characteristics that differentiate IT work from other categories of high-tech work and also looks at the capacity of the U.S. educational system and of employer training programs to produce qualified workers
View the Final report

Forecasting Demand and Supply of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers: Report of Workshop on Methodology
As the importance of science and engineering has increased in relation to the American economy, so has the need for indicators of the adequacy of future supply and demand for scientific and engineering personnel. Data-based forecasting models, however, have not met this need, and accurate forecasts have not been produced. The focus of the report was to provide guidance to the NSF and to scholars in this area about how models (and the forecasts derived from them) might be improved, and what role NSF should play in their improvement. In addition, the report examined issues of reporting forecasts to policymakers.
View the Final report

Attracting Science and Mathematics Ph.D.s to Secondary School Education
Joint project with the Center for Education
The National Research Council (NRC) has undertaken a project to explore the possibility of a program to attract science, mathematics and engineering PhDs to careers in K-12 education. The first phase of the project surveyed the interests of recent PhDs in science and mathematics in pursuing careers in secondary education. Analysis of the Phase I data suggests that a significant percentage of PhDs might be interested in pursuing careers in secondary education under some circumstances. The second phase of the project led to a report that presents a proposal for a national demonstration program to determine how one might prepare PhDs to be productive members of the K-12 education community. The proposed program is designed to help meet the needs of the nation's schools, while providing further career opportunities for recent PhDs in science, mathematics and engineering. View the two reports on the National Academies Press web site by clicking on the report titles below:
Attracting Science and Mathematics Ph.D.s to Secondary School Education (2000)
Attracting PhDs to K-12 Education: A Demonstration Program for Science, Mathematics, and Technology (2002)

Measuring the Science and Engineering Enterprise: Priorities for the Division of Science Resources Studies (SRS)
Joint project with the Committee on National Statistics
The science and engineering enterprise has continued to evolve, responding over the last decade to increased economic globalization, a post-cold war military, federal budget fluctuations, and structural changes in the way science and engineering are conducted and innovations are adopted. This report, based on a review of SRS’s portfolio of surveys, suggests ways to revise the data collection activities of the Division to better capture the current realities of R&D funding and S&E human resources. The report’s recommendations would improve the relevance of the data on graduate education, the labor market for scientists and engineers, and the funding and conduct of research and development, and thus better meet the data needs of policymakers, managers, and researchers.
View the Final report