NSF Funding opportunities for Two Year Colleges

The National Science Foundation recently announced an ambitious plan to transform biology education across the United States called "Vision and Change." Funding for this mission is being provided by a new NSF grant program called "TUES" for Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science.

ResearchBlogging.orgThis finding may have been a surprise to some, but two year colleges have a disproportionate impact on biology education in the U.S. (1, 2). At least half of the country's biology students are enrolled at two year colleges. Additionally, community colleges often provide the only college-level biology courses for the nation's high school biology teachers. Community college biotechnology programs, in particular, are also leading providers of professional development opportunities for high school instructors.

One of the challenges, however, in transforming a practice as extensive as college biology teaching is building cohorts and getting seed money out to the people who can implement this change. This is even more difficult with two-year college faculty because community colleges and community college faculty lack the grant-writing experience and support found at the R1 universities. Their goal is to educate students, not bring in grant funds.

The NSF is working to help community college faculty learn how to write grants and get more funds to make transforming biology education go beyond an appealing vision.

If you are a faculty member at a two year college, the NSF is sponsoring a workshop from July 19-22nd in Reno, NV and will provide up to $750 to help with travel expenses and lodging.

Apply here.

1. Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education, A Call to Action. 2011. www.visionandchange.org
2. Fletcher LA, & Carter VC (2010). The important role of community colleges in undergraduate biology education. CBE life sciences education, 9 (4), 382-3 PMID: 21123677

More like this

This morning, I learned that congress wants to reverse the advances made by NIH and go back to restricting access to scientific publications. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (New York) and Congressman Darrell Issa (California) are co-sponsoring a bill to restore the limits on public access to NIH-…
Students in the United States take many convoluted and unnecessarily complicated paths when it comes to finding careers in biotechnology. If Universities and community colleges worked together, an alternative path could benefit all parties; students, schools, industry, and the community. The image…
The 2009 Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates in Environmental Microbiology at UNLV is now accepting applications. This NSF supported program provides undergraduates with an opportunity to perform independent research under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Students will collaborate with…
In part I, I wrote about the shortage of technicians in the biotechnology industry and the general awareness that this problem is getting worse. This part will address the challenge of getting more students into programs that will prepare them for jobs in the biotech field. I've also been asked to…

So, not content with having reduced the teaching effectiveness of research universities by making faculty dedicate all their time to grant writing, the NSF wants to block science teaching in the community colleges as well?

That's an amusing way to look at it. :-)

Consider though, these grants are focused on improving teaching at least, where the other types of grants keep people away from teaching.

An unofficial guide site for undergrad students navigating this thing we call a STEM degree with an emphasis on research & writing.