Hora and Colleagues Awarded $2.2 Million from National Science Foundation

October 20, 2017

Matthew Hora and colleagues have been awarded $2.2 million from the National Science Foundation to investigate whether four specific competencies – teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and self-directed learning - are being cultivated in college classrooms and workplace training. They also will study the cultural, organizational and systemic factors that support or impede such practices.

Hora and Ross Benbow, with colleagues at the Rochester Institute of Technology, are examining how educators and employers define the four competencies, whether or not they are being taught in the workplace as well as 2- and 4-year colleges and universities, and how cross-sector partnerships and social networks impact  the approach educators and employers take to teach and train.

The fields investigated include photonics, information technology, energy, advanced manufacturing and nursing in four U.S. regions with high concentrations of STEM jobs—Seattle, Raleigh, Houston and Denver.

The study will produce a comprehensive account of how educators in community colleges and universities, as well as workplace trainers and employers in STEM-related companies, think about and cultivate skills strongly associated with student success in school, life and work. It will provide empirical evidence about whether or not students and employees are provided with opportunities to attain these transferrable skills, and explore the socio-cultural and organizational factors supporting or impeding such opportunities.

The project, "Exploring factors that shape education and workplace training on essential 21st century competencies: A translational study in four high-STEM job regions,” runs through 2020. 

This work is supported by NSF's EHR Core Research program, which emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates knowledge in three areas: STEM learning and learning environments, broadening participation and STEM workforce development.