June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Educational Research and Methods
13.330.1 - 13.330.15
Content Analysis of the History of NSF Funding for Engineering Education Research Abstract
The National Science Foundation (NSF) was established in 1950 with the dual mission of supporting education and basic research in the mathematical, physical, medical, biological, engineering, and other sciences. Although engineering education research has occurred in some form for many years, only in the past 20 years has it received significant funding support from the NSF. More recently, engineering and engineering education have been reevaluated and charged with producing engineers who will function in rapidly evolving technical and business environments. In addition to new ABET criteria for engineering program accreditation, a 2004 National Academy of Engineering report on the future of engineering encouraged more scholarly research on engineering education. In light of these changes, and in an effort to evaluate some portion of both progress and the current funding environment in engineering education research, the NSF funding patterns for engineering education research were analyzed through a content analysis of the abstracts of awards according to directorate and topic to examine trends in NSF funding for rigorous engineering education research. Overall, both the number of and the money awarded to grants for engineering education research have increased substantially over the past 20 years, with most focused on teaching and learning. This analysis provides a global overview of the NSF-funding environment for engineering education researchers.
Engineering education research has occurred in some form for many years, but only in the past 20 years has it received significant funding support. Engineering education research encompasses examination of not only teaching, learning and assessment, but also issues associated with faculty rewards and the organizational dynamics of engineering departments 1. However, studies of teaching and learning are the most prevalent. For many years, such studies focused more on student and faculty opinions of curricular or pedagogical innovations rather than on assessment of student learning. More recently, researchers have begun to develop research questions related to the mechanisms underlying effective teaching and learning 2. One common method of examining change and growth of an academic field is to analyze its publications for unifying themes and research methods 2. One database devoted to research on attainment of student learning outcomes (http://www.pr2ove-it.org) includes over 400 research articles and conference papers from 1970-2005, although more than 95% were published after 1995. Many of the articles and conference papers in this database do not represent controlled research 3, although with the 1997 change in accreditation standards 4 came an increased focus on performing and reporting research assessing student learning rather than opinions. The articles included in the database were published in refereed journals from both engineering and non-engineering fields as well as the proceedings of a conference devoted to innovation in engineering education.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) was established in 1950 with the dual mission of supporting education and basic research in the mathematical, physical, medical, biological, engineering, and other sciences. This focus was later modified to drop the medical sciences and
Cady, E., & Fortenberry, N. (2008, June), Content Analysis Of The History Of Nsf Funding For Engineering Education Research Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3151
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