Like the Lemelson Foundation, AAAS believes in the importance of cultivating a new and diverse generation of inventors and increasing global understanding of the role of invention, inventors and invention education in building economies and fostering innovation. The Ambassadors Program is proposed as a unique collaboration between the two organizations, building on the experience and reach of AAAS and the Lemelson Foundation to: 1) generate compelling, evidence-based messaging about the role of invention in creating jobs and strengthening the economy; 2) build of a cadre of inventor “Ambassadors” dedicated to disseminating this message among key audiences; and 3) plug these Ambassadors in to dialogue with policymakers, other key stakeholders, and the general public in strategic and visible ways to demonstrate the importance of invention to advancing world economies and improving quality of life for all.
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The Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), aims to significantly increase the number of students who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents receiving post secondary degrees in the computing disciplines. Initially, its emphasis will be on students from communities with longstanding underrepresentation in computing: women, persons with disabilities, and minorities. Included minorities are African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. The BPC program seeks to engage the computing community in developing and implementing innovative methods to improve recruitment and retention of these students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Because the lack of role models in the professoriate can be a barrier to participation, the BPC program also aims to develop effective strategies for identifying and supporting members of the targeted groups who want to pursue academic careers in computing. While these efforts focus on underrepresented groups, it is expected that the resulting types of interventions will improve research and education opportunities for all students in computing.
The AAAS Center for Advancing Science & Engineering Capacity (www.aaascapacity.org) is conducting a 3-year portfolio assessment of the Alliance component of the NSF-BPC program. The Alliances formed through BPC projects extend organizational commitments to education, train, and utilize STEM professionals in various communities. The portfolio assessment offers data-collection, analysis, and technical assistance that would build on, while standardizing wherever possible, the project-specific formative and summative evaluation data.
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Through the Center for Advancing Science & Engineering Capacity and with the support of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation officer's grant awarded in February 2005, AAAS has offered STEM human resource development consulting (on a cost-sharing basis). We have addressed key umbrella organizations and visited institutions of higher education to engage faculty and administrators in ways of examining their programs, outcomes, and overall capacity to recruit, enroll, and support STEM students.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is leading a law and diversity project, with participation by the Association of American Universities (AAU), which has been funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation. This project will provide in-depth legal resource materials for General Counsels in the AAU (and, we hope, eventually to universities across the country) on effective and legally sustainable approaches to build greater diversity in the faculty, as well as graduate and undergraduate student bodies.
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