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Sloan Foundation Funds New AAAS Center For Advancing Science And Engineering Capacity
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded AAAS a three-year, $400,000 grant to help establish a new Center for Advancing Science and Engineering Capacity. The Center will provide consulting services to individual universities and colleges seeking to increase the participation of U.S. students, especially women and underrepresented minorities, in science and engineering careers.
Daryl Chubin, former senior vice president for research, policy & programs at the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, will direct the new center. With a distinguished record of scholarship, policy analysis and advocacy, Chubin has emerged as a national expert on expanding and diversifying the science and engineering workforce. He has served in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and has published eight books and numerous policy reports, articles, and commentaries.
"By pulling together what we now know and setting a research agenda for the future, this Center will surely help multiply the impact of the many efforts going on around the country to increase participation in science by members of under-represented groups," said Alan I. Leshner, AAAS's chief executive officer and executive publisher of the journal Science.
"We at AAAS are extremely fortunate to be able to attract Dr. Chubin," added Shirley Malcom, director of Education and Human Resources. "I can think of few people anywhere who have the combination of commitment, skills and experience that Daryl has. He sees the big picture, and he knows the research base. And he understands the practical constraints that are inevitable as institutions try to prepare all students to live, work and compete in a global and diverse workforce."
AAAS has taken a leadership role in recent years in identifying and shaping efforts to improve science education and to recruit more students into science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
The need for the new Center for Advancing Science and Engineering Capacity can be traced to a shift in American culture: While science and technology are increasingly critical to economic growth and innovation, student interest in the fields has not kept pace. Through the hi-tech and medical research boom of the past 30 years, college enrollments in science and engineering have only held steady. In the past 15 years, the proportion of women in computer sciences and other booming fields has declined.
But researchers have found that if minorities and women participated in the science and engineering workforce in numbers proportionate to their presence in the general population, the technical workforce would be more diverse in composition and robust in talent for decades to come.
The Center will draw on Education and Human Resources and other expertise at AAAS, as well as the private sector, to help schools recruit and retain students. Numerous federal and corporate investments in science, mathematics and engineering reform efforts, undergraduate and beyond, operate today on a variety of campuses. The Center will expand and connect these efforts through research-based technical assistance to sustain and scale-up innovative practices in teaching and learning.
That model persuaded the Sloan Foundation to make the grant, with the belief that the Center can be self-supporting after three years. "We're convinced that the colleges and universities need the services in question," said Ted Greenwood, the project director who oversees Sloan's programs for women and minorities in science and engineering. "And we felt that AAAS had assembled a terrific team that has the skill to do this work."
Chubin joined the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering in March 2001 after nearly 15 years in federal service, the last three as senior policy officer for the National Science Board at the National Science Foundation. He joined NSF as division director for Research, Evaluation and Communication in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources in 1993; he served in 1997 as assistant director for Social and Behavioral Sciences (and Education) at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He began his federal career in 1986 at the congressional Office of Technology Assessment.
Earlier in his career, Chubin served on the faculty of four universities, including the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, where he was promoted to full professor. Since 1991, he has been an adjunct professor at the Cornell-in-Washington Program.
"As demographics, law and renewal of the science and engineering workforce continue to challenge U.S. higher education, the Center will magnify the scope, value and impact of its clients' efforts to develop talent as well as new knowledge," Chubin said. "To do this at AAAS, under the leadership of Alan Leshner and Shirley Malcomwith whom I have worked in various roles for 20 yearsis an opportunity I relish."
Chubin will assume his new post on 2 August. Inquiries about the Center should be directed to him here.
Edward W. Lempinen
2 August 2004