Broadening the participation of underrepresented populations
For the past 20+ years, the National Science Foundation has been funding initiatives aimed at broadening the participation of underrepresented populations though the Broader Impact efforts supported by the various research divisions.
Millions of dollars and countless hours of work have done little to “move the needle” towards the desired outcome of achieving the full participation of diverse individuals in all facets of STEM. According to Dr. Alicia Knoedler who serves on NSF’s Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE), states that the “cumulative, overall impact on underrepresented groups is minimal.” To address this shortcoming, CEOSE released a list of recommendations to the NSF in their 2011-2012 report to implement a bold new initiative to fund broadening participation through institutional transformation and systems change using clear benchmarks of success, longitudinal data, and significant financial support. NSF Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) is what emerged from this report, along with adoption of a framework to ensure shared accountability to promote participation and excellence.
Image caption: Visual display depicting one brain-storming session held by NSF INCLUDES participants during the Summit held January 8-10th, 2018.