UW-Madison Wins Two First-Ever NSF INCLUDES Awards

September 12, 2016

Funding Supports Bold Methods to Diversify U.S. Science and Engineering Workforce

Madison, WI -- Two projects of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research within UW–Madison’s School of Education are among those selected to receive first-ever National Science Foundation INCLUDES funding. The purpose of this funding is to develop bold, new approaches for diversifying the science and engineering workforce of the United States.

NSF INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) granted two-year awards to 37 proposed “Design and Develop Launch Pilots.” UW–Madison was among only four institutions to be funded for two pilots while 57 awardees were funded for single projects.

The UW–Madison projects to be funded are:

CIRTL INCLUDES – Toward an Alliance to Prepare a National Faculty for Broadening Success of Underrepresented 2-Year and 4-Year STEM Students

Principal Investigator: Robert Mathieu (UW–Madison)

Collaborating Institutions:  Iowa State University, Michigan State University, University of Georgia, University of Pittsburgh, University of Texas at El Paso

Description: To create an alliance among 45 universities and 23 national cross-sector partners experienced in helping underrepresented students succeed in undergraduate STEM (Science Technology Engineering  Math) studies that will focus on:

  • Preparing all future college STEM faculty in proven teaching, mentoring and advising practices that promote undergraduate success;
  • Expanding and strengthening faculty preparation at two-year colleges, where most underrepresented students first experience college-level STEM studies; and
  • Positioning underrepresented future STEM faculty for early career success by preparing them to teach and mentor effectively.

“Our pilot program is focused on preparing future STEM college instructors, at UW–Madison and across the nation, to use teaching, mentoring and advising practices that increase student learning, persistence and degree completion among students underrepresented in STEM,” states Robert Mathieu, principal investigator of the Center for the Integration of Research and Learning (CIRTL), director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and a Vilas Distinguished professor of astronomy.

“A new emphasis for CIRTL will include the preparation of future and new faculty at two-year colleges, where the greatest number of U.S. students take their first college-level STEM course.”

The Consortium of Minority Doctoral Students

Principal Investigator: Juan E. Gilbert (University of Florida)

Collaborating Investigator: Jerlando F L Jackson (UW–Madison)

Description: To build a data repository from three minority doctoral scholars programs and mine it to identify proven, high-impact and scalable recruitment, retention and mentoring strategies for increasing the number of Hispanic and Black/African American doctoral students in engineering, computing and information sciences programs.

“If our pilot project uncovers aspects from the three studied programs that are readily transferable, it will lead to forming a national alliance with the potential to impact the effectiveness of mentoring programs for underrepresented doctoral students in Wisconsin and across the United States,” states Jerlando F L Jackson, principal investigator and director of the Wei LAB and a Vilas Distinguished professor of higher education.

The initial NSF INCLUDES design awards provide funding at a maximum of $300,000 per project. In a second phase of funding, five of the pilot projects will be selected to receive awards of $12.5 million each over five years.

Currently, fewer than 40% of U.S. students who enter college intending to major in a STEM subject complete a STEM degree. The loss is highest for underrepresented groups; attrition is still higher at two-year colleges. The National Academy of Sciences has identified undergraduate STEM retention and completion as its first priority for increasing participation among underrepresented workers in the U.S. STEM labor force.


The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL), a network of 45 major research universities, promotes development of a national faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) committed to implementing and advancing effective teaching practices for diverse student audiences as part of their professional careers.

Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory (Wei LAB) designs, conducts and disseminates research that informs policymakers, practitioners and concerned citizens about how to best promote equitable and inclusive learning and work environments in education in general, and higher education in particular.