BHEW Current Projects
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...
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
An ad hoc committee, under the auspices of the Board on Higher Education and Workforce and the Committee on Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Public Policy (COSEMPUP), and liaising with Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable and the Teacher Advisory Council, will lead a study of STEM graduate-level education in the U.S., revisiting and updating a similar COSEPUP study completed 20 years ago.Through this study the committee hopes to conduct 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 graduate students in coming years (at both the master's and Ph.D. levels—understanding the commonalities and distinctions between the two levels), and also aimed at identifying deficiencies and gaps in the system that could improve graduate education programs. Learn more...
Next Generation Researchers Initiative
An ad hoc committee overseen by the Board on Higher Education and Workforce, in collaboration with the Committee on Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Public Policy, the Board on Science Education, and Health and Medicine Division, will conduct a study that examines the policy and programmatic steps that the nation can undertake to ensure the successful launch and sustainment of careers among the next generation of researchers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, including the full range of health sciences supported by the NIH. The study will examine evidence-based programs and policies that can reduce barriers to, and create more opportunities for, successful transitions to independent research careers. It will also examine factors that influence the stability and sustainability of the early stages of independent research careers. Learn more..
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...
BHEW Completed Projects
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- To identify key questions and research themes that need further study regarding the definition, measurement and determination of a quality postsecondary education.
- 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 universities. View 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 BaseJoint 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
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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
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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
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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.
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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