Charge to the Workshop

Executive Summary

Part I: The STEM Workforce: Establishing the Need for Change

Under-Representation as a Social Justice Issue

Current Lack of Diversity and Opportunity

Part II: The STEM Pathways Workshop: Describing the Change

Broad Issues Related to the STEM Workforce

From Successful Programs to Large-Scale Change

The Contributions of

An Action Plan

Part III: Conclusion: Toward a New Vision for the Enterprise of Science


Appendix: Workshop Attendees


[Printable Version]                    


This report summarizes discussions and recommendations resulting from a workshop convened at the National Science Foundation to examine issues surrounding the development of a diverse and well-prepared science and engineering workforce for the 21st century. The workshop was given five major charges. The first was to review existing research findings and gaps as well as programs related to workforce issues. The second was to discuss actions needed to broaden participation in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce, comprising all of the fields supported by National Science Foundation program areas – including biology, physics, mathematics, computer and information sciences, engineering, environmental research, geosciences, social, behavioral and economic sciences, and education. The third was to identify strategic research areas and education funding priorities that will result in a rich and diverse STEM workforce strengthened by broader participation of U.S. citizens. The fourth was to identify evaluation methodologies, criteria, and metrics to measure the success of future programs. The fifth was to identify and propose strategies and funding mechanisms that will facilitate more members of under-represented groups – including women, persons with disabilities, African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians – to enter STEM leadership positions.

Workshop attendees represented a range of diverse leaders employed in a variety of sectors and representing the disciplines supported by the National Science Foundation. Participants included leading scientists and engineers; educators from the pre-college through graduate levels; representatives of organizations or programs directed toward communities under-represented in science and engineering; employers from academic, industrial, and governmental sectors; public and private funders of research and development; and representatives of professional organizations. Every effort was made to ensure that the participants reflected both demographic and disciplinary diversity.

The workshop consisted of plenary presentations and panel discussions, each followed by breakout group discussions that were summarized for the entire assembly. Candor and a willingness to articulate deep-seated concerns characterized the workshop, along with growing enthusiasm and excitement that the steps being discussed had the potential to create substantial improvements in the recruitment, retention, and advancement of all US citizens, especially under-represented groups, in STEM careers.

The workshop did not seek to achieve consensus on programmatic recommendations, nor was it able to speak to all the questions underlying the issues raised. Nevertheless, several strong recommendations and principles emerged from the workshop that are reported herein. The report is presented in three parts. Part I elucidates the problem by citing data that indicate the current lack of diversity in the STEM workforce. Part II describes the recommendations from workshop participants, based upon research and exemplary programs that address the problem. Part III describes a future vision of the way we view the enterprise of science that focuses on developing human intellectual potential.

The National Science Foundation has taken an essential step in making the development of the STEM workforce a priority. This report is designed to inform the STEM community about setting a national agenda for possible actions and policies in the vital pursuit of developing a highly skilled, technically competent, and diverse workforce.

C. Dianne Martin, The George Washington University
Willie Pearson, Jr., Georgia Institute of Technology