Definition of "Broadening Participation"

"Broadening Participation" is a code-word for bringing members of under-represented groups into academic science.  It is a subcategory of Broader Impacts, but is such an important goal for NSF (and other agencies) that in some solicitations they have made it its own category.  

In the Emergency Frontiers Research and Innovation program announcement, for example, they give this very explicit guideline.

What does the term "underreperesented group" refer to?

URM (under-represented minorities) includes the following: women, persons with disabilities, and ethnic and racial groups which are in the minority in engineering including African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders. (Note: URM Hispanics are Mexican and Puerto Rican, not Cuban, not Latin American, not Spanish from Spain.)

 What are some sample activities appropriate for this goal? 
(Link to inventory of UMass broadening participation initiatives)

  • Po, Co-PI, or other SENIOR PERSONNEL - Inclusion of persons from underrepresented groups as PI, co-PI, and/or other senior personnel, as appropriate for the project;
  • STUDENT AND POST-DOCs - Inclusion of persons from underrepresented groups as graduate student, undergraduate student, and post-doctoral researchers;
  • REU AND GRDS - A plan to apply for post-award supplements to engage undergraduate researchers, using REU supplement, and/or graduate researchers, using Graduate Research Diversity Supplement (see this url for related information from previous year) that are from underrepresented groups;
  • MINORITY SERVING INSTITUTIONS - Engaging faculty and/or student researchers at minority serving institutions in the research project;
  • COMMUNITY COLLEGES - Engaging faculty and/or student researchers at community colleges in the research project;
  • RESEARCH EXPERIENCE FOR TEACHERS - A plan to apply for post-award supplements to engage teachers through the RET program;
  • RESEARCH EXPERIENCE FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS - Provide research opportunities for members of underrepresented groups at the high school level;
  • EXISTING INSTITUTIONAL PROGRAMS - Enhance/collaborate with existing diversity programs at your home institution and/or nearby institutions;
  • MENTORING - Senior Personnel serve as role models and mentors for an underrepresented student population;
  • TUTORING OPPORTUNITY - Provide tutoring opportunities for underrepresented middle school, high school, and undergraduate students;
  • K-12 OUTREACH - Outreach activities that will interest and attract underrepresented K-12 students to engineering undergraduate programs.

Don't forget the evaluation metric: See my evaluation page, especially "Beyond Rigor"

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