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H.R. 4955 (111th): Transforming Undergraduate STEM Education Act

The text of the bill below is as of Mar 25, 2010 (Introduced).



2d Session

H. R. 4955


March 25, 2010

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Science and Technology, and in addition to the Committee on Education and Labor, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


To authorize the National Science Foundation to provide grants for implementing or expanding research-based reforms in undergraduate STEM education for the purpose of increasing the number and quality of students studying toward and completing baccalaureate degrees in STEM.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Transforming Undergraduate STEM Education Act.


Transforming undergraduate education in STEM

Section 17 of the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 1862n–6) is amended to read as follows:


Transforming undergraduate education in STEM


In general

The Director shall award grants, on a competitive, merit-reviewed basis, to institutions of higher education to implement or expand research-based reforms in undergraduate STEM education for the purpose of increasing the number and quality of students studying toward and completing baccalaureate degrees in STEM.


Uses of funds

Activities supported by grants under this section may include—


development, implementation, and assessment of innovative, research-based approaches to transforming the teaching and learning of disciplinary or interdisciplinary STEM at the undergraduate level;


expansion of successful STEM reform efforts beyond a single course or group of courses to achieve reform within an entire academic unit, or expansion of successful reform efforts beyond a single academic unit to other STEM academic units within an institution;


creation of multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary courses or programs that formalize collaborations for the purpose of improved student instruction and research in STEM;


expansion of undergraduate STEM research opportunities to include interdisciplinary research opportunities and research opportunities in industry, at Federal labs, and at international research institutions or research sites;


implementation or expansion of bridge, cohort, tutoring, or mentoring programs proven to enhance student recruitment or persistence to degree completion in STEM;


improvement of undergraduate STEM education for nonmajors, including education majors;


implementation of technology-driven reform efforts, including the installation of technology to facilitate such reform, that directly impact undergraduate STEM instruction or research experiences;


development and implementation of faculty development programs focused on improved instruction, mentoring, evaluation, and support of undergraduate STEM students;


support for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to participate in instructional or assessment activities at primarily undergraduate institutions; and


research on teaching and learning of STEM at the undergraduate level related to the proposed reform effort, including assessment and evaluation of the proposed reform activities and research on scalability and sustainability of approaches to reform.


Selection process



An institution of higher education seeking a grant under this section shall submit an application to the Director at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Director may require. The application shall include, at a minimum—


a description of the proposed reform effort;


a description of the research findings that will serve as the basis for the proposed reform effort or, in the case of applications that propose an expansion of a previously implemented reform effort, a description of the previously implemented reform effort, including data on student recruitment, persistence to degree completion, and academic achievement;


evidence of institutional support for, and commitment to, the proposed reform effort, including long-term commitment to implement successful strategies from the current reform effort beyond the academic unit or units included in the grant proposal;


a description of existing or planned institutional policies and practices regarding faculty hiring, promotion, tenure, and teaching assignment that reward faculty contributions to undergraduate STEM education; and


a description of the plans for assessment and evaluation of the proposed reform activities, including evidence of participation by individuals with experience in assessment and evaluation of teaching and learning programs.


Review of applications

In selecting grant recipients under this section, the Director shall consider at a minimum—


the likelihood of success in undertaking the proposed effort at the institution submitting the application, including the extent to which the faculty, staff, and administrators of the institution are committed to making the proposed institutional reform a priority of the participating academic unit or units;


the degree to which the proposed reform will contribute to change in institutional culture and policy such that a greater value is placed on faculty engagement in undergraduate education;


the likelihood that the institution will sustain or expand the reform beyond the period of the grant; and


the degree to which scholarly assessment and evaluation plans are included in the design of the reform effort.



For proposals that include an expansion of existing reform efforts beyond a single academic unit, the Director shall give priority to proposals for which a senior institutional administrator, including a dean or other administrator of equal or higher rank, serves as the principal investigator.


Grant distribution

The Director shall ensure, to the extent practicable, that grants awarded under this section are made to a variety of types of institutions of higher education.