Mark Connolly, an associate research scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) in UW-Madison’s School of Education, has been invited to serve on a National Academies of Sciences committee charged with developing indicators of quality in undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The National Academy of Sciences, established by Congress in 1863, provides scientific and technological advice to the nation.
Connolly will join 13 other national experts in education, workforce and industry, and data analytics over the next two and a half years to study the issue and create a framework for indicators to gauge the national status and quality of postsecondary STEM education.
The study will be overseen by the National Academies’ Board on Science Education (BOSE), in collaboration with the Board on Higher Education and the Workforce (BHEW) and the Board on Testing and Assessment (BTA).
The committee will eventually issue a consensus report on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations. The indicators will assist the National Science Foundation (NSF), other federal agencies, private foundations and professional organizations with assessing the current state of undergraduate STEM education in the U.S. and tracking improvements over time.
Connolly’s research focuses on teaching and learning in STEM fields. He currently is the principal investigator of two national studies. Talking about Leaving Revisited, funded by the NSF and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is studying the factors that encourage undergraduate students to leave or stay in STEM degree programs. The Longitudinal Study of Future STEM Scholars examines the preparation of future STEM faculty and academics to teach and mentor undergraduate students. A report of the findings from this seven-year, multi-institutional impact study will be released soon.