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Scientific community/Education/Education policy

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Anant Agarwal, president of edX, speaking at the AAAS 2013 S&T Forum. [Credit: AAAS/Robert Beets]

Diverse learning environments clearly offer educational benefits to both minority and majority students, AAAS and seven other scientific societies wrote in a legal brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will soon hear a challenge to diversity-recruitment efforts by the University of Texas at Austin.

Science & Diplomacy, a free online publication that will explore the intersection of international scientific cooperation, foreign relations, and public policy, was launched today by the AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy. As international relations become increasingly complex and scientific endeavors become more international, it is important to have a dialogue between these two communities.

Improving education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), a bipartisan goal backed by politicians and business leaders alike, will require a new approach that views education as part of a larger, more complex enterprise that reaches far beyond the classroom, speakers said at a recent AAAS event.

The classic model for undergraduate science education features a lone professor standing before a lecture hall dispensing the laws and equations that students must master to advance in science, or at least to pass the class. But consider an experiment detailed by Carl Wieman, the Nobel laureate and White House adviser, during a recent talk at AAAS:

A multi-disciplinary team of educators, program managers, policy experts and researchers from across the nation convened recently in Boulder, Colorado, to collaborate on a common goal: how to make interdisciplinary research and education work.

A key obstacle to science-based policy is the reluctance of some researchers to communicate their findings to non-scientists, lest they may be perceived as “advocates,” rather than scientists, said Kit Batten of The Heinz Center.

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