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Dowd STEP 2011

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Uploaded on Jun 7, 2011

Speaker: Alicia Dowd, Associate Professor & co-Director, Center for Urban Education, USC.

Abstract: Abstract: In releasing its 2010 report Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators, the
National Science Board emphasized the need to make STEM fields more inclusive of
underrepresented students and called for a "renewed aspiration towards equity and excellence in
U.S. STEM education." The Board recommended greater investment in professional development
for STEM educators to assist them in identifying talented students from diverse backgrounds,
creating "supportive learning ecosystem(s)," and offering curricula based on inquiry-based learning
and real-world problem-solving. This presentation describes an emerging science of agency and
"praxis" in STEM focused on understanding the kinds of professional development STEM
educators need to become "institutional agents" on behalf of underrepresented racial-ethnic groups
in STEM. Based on case study research supported by the National Science Foundation, the Center
for Urban Education at the University of Southern California has characterized the role of
"institutional agents" in STEM and is now evaluating the factors that enable STEM educators to act
as the agents of equity and excellence called for in the Board's report.

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