ECR Projects

Explore past and current fundamental STEM education research projects across the three research areas that NSF's EDU Core Research (ECR) program funds, as well as across ECR funding types. Other search filters draw from both NSF's data and the ECR Hub's hand coding of award abstracts.

Ninth-grade biology students create cell models using clay.

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STEM Learning and Learning Environments STEM Learning and Learning Environments  Broadening Participation in STEM Broadening Participation in STEM

Examining Blackness in Postsecondary STEM Education through a Multidimensional-Multiplicative Lens

Effective Years: 2022-2027

Despite well-intentioned university efforts to support Black undergraduate STEM students, policy and practice reforms run the risk of not appropriately benefiting all Black people due to pervasive, deficit-based assumptions about Black racial identities and the types of structural engagement needed to advance holistic, racial well-being in transformative and sustainable ways. Stated simply, STEM contexts do not adequately support Black undergraduate STEM students because STEM educators and practitioners remain unsure of what Blackness means for individuals, thereby constraining true racial equity endeavors. Contemporary literature regarding race posits instead that embodiment(s) of Blackness differ across multiple dimensions and axes, including ethnic identity (e.g., African American, Caribbean American, Nigerian American), place identity (e.g., South, Midwest), and generational identity (e.g., first-generation, second-generation, third plus generation). Black students from different ethnic and generational identities having varied perceptions of the racial climate and understandings of their STEM experiences. Recognizing the scope of Blackness and its implications for creating and sustaining holistic, heterogenous conceptions of racial equity in STEM, the team will establish a collaborative network among six institutions (two HBCUS, two PWIs, one majority Black institution, and one HSI) located across the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest, and Midwest regions of the US to study how Black undergraduate STEM students’ notions of Blackness vary with respect to these dimensions.

The research team will conduct an exploratory sequential mixed methods project, integrating mosaic ethnography, survey design and administration of the survey to Black undergraduate STEM students across five states. Through these methods, the students’ conceptions of Blackness will be explored as it relates to their STEM engagement and perspectives of racial equity in STEM. In efforts to foster racial equity in STEM for all Black people, this project will produce tools of analysis (i.e., theories, research methods, qualitative and quantitative measures) and translational products (i.e., professional developments, aminations, infographics) that will change how institutional and organizational policies, practices, and future research treat Black people in STEM, thereby promoting tailored resources and supports to meet Black people’s nuanced needs. The desired outcomes from this work will inform the development and implementation of racial equity focused policies and practices in STEM education, facilitating increased access and sustained engagement in STEM for Black undergraduate students.

This collaborative project is funded through the Racial Equity in STEM Education program (EHR Racial Equity). The program supports research and practice projects that investigate how considerations of racial equity factor into the improvement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce. Awarded projects seek to center the voices, knowledge, and experiences of the individuals, communities, and institutions most impacted by systemic inequities within the STEM enterprise. This program aligns with NSF’s core value of supporting outstanding researchers and innovative thinkers from across the Nation's diversity of demographic groups, regions, and types of organizations. Funds for EHR Racial Equity are pooled from programs across EHR in recognition of the alignment of its projects with the collective research and development thrusts of the four divisions of the directorate.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.