Micron STEM Education Research Initiative

Tuesday, April 30 2013

The next round of innovations to advance STEM education as part of the Micron STEM Education Research Initiative is here. This initiative is designed to generate understanding of some of the specific factors that shape the interest in and pursuit of STEM education and careers among Idaho youth. Focus group discussions have occurred with teachers, parents and community members and a statewide survey on STEM education and attitudes of Idaho residents has been conducted. This year student, parent and teacher surveys further informed us as to the factors influencing student choices. The data gathered in these efforts are intended to help shape innovative approaches that address parental, family, cultural, social, community and educational influences.

The university is excited to be able to solicit proposals for pilot programs to develop and implement such innovations from faculty and staff. They encourage you to consider applying for this seed money to pilot innovative ideas that will encourage and improve STEM education, outreach and interest in Idaho.

The project has been working with 12 target communities in Idaho. Social scientists on the team will be available to discuss data pertinent to specific communities or statewide data and your innovation idea and to help interface with community stakeholders. Please contact Melinda Hamilton, director, STEM Education Initiatives at the University of Idaho and discuss your idea prior to contacting communities, schools or districts so that we can ensure a coordinated approach. In addition, Hamilton will be working to help successful innovations develop avenues of external funding for scale up and expansion.

This is an exciting opportunity to add to the knowledge base of best practices, and a chance to address critical factors influencing students that have been identified in the research. The university looks forward to your participation.

2013-14 Call for Proposals
UI-Micron STEM Education Innovations

Opportunity: Funding is available to help faculty and/or staff develop and implement innovations to improve STEM education outcomes in selected Idaho communities and/or statewide or to expand on current pilot innovations based on outcomes already achieved. Creative innovations that address parental, family, cultural, social, community and educational influences are encouraged. Innovations must be informed by the UI-Micron STEM Education Research Initiative data. Particular attention should be given to recent student survey findings that were not available in the previous round of funding. Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate collaboration with community partners such as local libraries, parent groups, school districts, non-profit organizations, etc., and projects that can leverage existing funding and programs and that are likely to lead to external funding in the future.

Award Amounts: Innovations will be funded up to a maximum of $15,000 per project. Funds can be used for travel, project materials, assessment, and other activities as needed. It is anticipated that four to six proposals will be funded. The funding period is from June 17, 2013 through June 30, 2014.

UI-Micron STEM Education Research Initiative Data: The 12 communities in the Micron STEM Education Research Initiative include Bancroft (Caribou County), Boise (Ada County), Fairfield (Camas County), Idaho Falls (Bonneville County), Jerome (Jerome County), Kamiah (Lewis County), Lewiston (Nez Perce County), Melba (Canyon County), Pocatello (Bannock County), Post Falls (Kootenai County), Priest River (Bonner County), and Terreton (Jefferson County). Focus groups were conducted in 2011 in each of these communities (three different focus groups in each community composed of teachers, parents and community members) and phone statewide surveys that oversampled in the target communities’ counties were conducted in 2012. Student surveys were conducted in 2013. Parent and teacher surveys are being conducted currently. Applicants can review the focus group report, statewide survey report and the 2013 student survey report to inform their innovation proposals by going to the UI-Micron STEM Education Research Initiative site Any requests for more specific data that would inform a specific project should be directed to Debbie Storrs, initiative co-director, at dstorrs@uidaho.edu.

All UI faculty or staff are eligible to submit a proposal. Interdisciplinary teams are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to applicant groups that engage/collaborate with community partners. Projects with significant efforts performed by external partners will be considered but must have a University of Idaho principal investigator.

Guidelines: Interested applicants should contact Melinda Hamilton before pursuing their proposals to discuss innovation ideas and coordinate efforts. Final proposals should be submitted to Melinda Hamilton at mhamilton@uidaho.edu by 5 p.m. on May 31, 2013 and should include the following components:
1) a description of the proposed innovation including a timeline for planning, development, implementation, and assessment;
2) a description of how the innovation is informed by the UI-Micron STEM Education Research Initiative data and what research findings are being addressed;
3) the expected impact to the community or state (stated as hypothesis and anticipated outcomes);
4) a brief description of the applicant’s qualifications including previous research experience, outreach experience and ability to manage administrative details of the project;
5) a plan for evaluating the program’s objectives and goals;
6) potential and plans for future external funding and follow on activities; and
7) a detailed budget.

The narrative should be no more than five pages in length.

Deliverables: Recipients of innovation grants will submit a report to Hamilton no later than one month after the completion of the project. This report should consist of: 1) summary of activities completed; 2) summary evaluation of program outcomes relative to objectives and goals; 3) description of personnel and community partners who participated in the project; 4) budget summary; and 5) list of external grant proposals submitted or in preparation.

Review and Selection: Proposals will be reviewed by Melinda Hamilton (UI STEM Education Director), and a team of reviewers that may include Jim Gregson (Associate Dean of College of Education), Debbie Storrs (associate dean of College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences), Susan Stauffer (research associate) and an external reviewer. Decisions will be announced by June 5, 2013 to allow time for activities and programs to begin as early as June 17, 2013.