Ideas Lab: 2016 Report

 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the federal government’s primary entity for funding research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  In 2015, NSF created a new funding mechanism called “Ideas Lab,” which has the goal of developing and implementing creative and innovative project ideas that have the potential to change approaches to research and/or solve difficult problems.  NSF considers ideas coming out of Ideas Lab meetings as typically high-risk/high-impact, as they represent new and unproven ideas, approaches, and/or technologies. The Ideas Lab funding process was developed collaboratively within NSF, modeled on the “sandpit” workshops that are a key component of the United Kingdom Research Council’s “IDEAs Factory” program.

In 2014, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) hosted three pilot Ideas Labs meetings aimed at forming innovative approaches for advancing undergraduate STEM education in three disciplines (geosciences, engineering, and biology).

NSF Ideas Lab: Geoscience – March 2 – 7, 2014 – assembled multi-disciplinary expertise in the geosciences to reform undergraduate geoscience education, with the goal of developing essential competencies and skills for the workforce and increasing access for diverse student populations.

NSF Ideas Lab: Engineering – March 17 – 21, 2014 – focused on changing the systems in engineering education that contribute to social inequality and on efforts to broaden participation, increase diversity, and improve recruitment and retention of women, minorities, and people with disabilities.

NSF Ideas Lab: Biology – March 31 – April 4, 2014 – focused on strategies to integrate quantitative literacy (applying math to real-world problems) into a biology core curriculum and to study its effectiveness and/or impact.

Subsequently, ASEE hosted a fourth Ideas Lab from March 20 – 24, 2016 in suburban Washington, D.C. Called Geo Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD), the meeting focused on unleashing the potential of geo­scientists with interests in broadening participation to become impactful leaders within the community.

Meeting logistics were managed by ASEE, with meetings run by a facilitator with known expertise in guiding the creation of interdisciplinary teams and ideas. Researchers from ASEE attended the first three meetings and recorded meeting processes and outcomes, creating a report that documents the interdisciplinary meeting methodology and describes daily activities and meeting processes of awareness and discovery. These were: problem definition; idea creation; and proposals for scaling innovative ideas and developing tangible proposals. Researchers from ASEE observed participants throughout the meetings and in focus groups, conducted interviews, and administered post-meeting surveys. With these data they identified barriers to interdisciplinary collaboration that arose during the workshops, learned how those barriers were overcome, and came to understand the interdisciplinary group dynamics that led to successfully funded proposals.

Final report available here: 2016 Ideas Lab Report .

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“Smaller” Engineering Schools

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“Engineering by the Numbers” is back! And smaller!

Each year, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) publishes “Engineering by the Numbers,” a summary of national trends in engineering education based on annual surveys of engineering and engineering technology schools. Because of how the data are tabulated and presented, schools with the largest student enrollment, the highest number of degrees awarded, and the most faculty members are featured most prominently. Smaller engineering schools are often missing from the document, even though many respond to the surveys. To highlight their contributions, ASEE has created a “Smaller Engineering by the Numbers” to feature these schools.

“Smaller” Engineering By the Numbers

 

Updated October 28, 2016:

Based on feedback we received, we realized our tables showing student-faculty ratios were confusing and one was mislabeled.  We re-ran the tables for student-faculty ratios, sorted schools by student enrollment to faculty, smallest ratio on top.  We limited the tables to the top 25 schools with the lowest student enrollment to faculty ratio, and we updated text in the document to reflect changes to the tables.

 

 

 

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2016 Profiles Survey

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2015 Profiles

We collected data from ABET-accredited US and Canadian schools to allow students and administrators to compare what each school has to offer!

2015 Annual Conf Postcards - Profiles2015 Annual Conf Postcards - Profiles 2 (1)

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