Through this project, the North Carolina State University Data Science Academy will identify the key success components of a model for the recruitment and mentoring of a diverse cohort of postdoctoral fellows who will enter their professions with expertise in data science education research. This model is intended to train and support scholars who have differing levels of experience and strengths in STEM, STEM education, education research, or data science.
Mentoring a Diverse Cohort of Postdoctoral Scholars in Data Science Education Research
Data science is rapidly growing, as a profession, a professional skill and a component of literacy for the general public. With data science research careers moving beyond the university setting and into other sectors, it is imperative to learn what kind of learning environment will support the postdoctoral training and development of diverse, skilled data scientists, educators, and data science education researchers who can help build and communicate with a data-literate public. The ability to consume, question, produce, and use data is critical not only to answer research questions in areas such as health, science, business, and government but also to inform decision-making in many aspects of work and personal life. Through this project, the North Carolina State University Data Science Academy will identify the key success components of a model for the recruitment and mentoring of a diverse cohort of postdoctoral fellows who will enter their professions with expertise in data science education research. This model is intended to train and support scholars who have differing levels of experience and strengths in STEM, STEM education, education research, or data science.
While data science and literacy can be embedded across disciplines, they are central to STEM Education. How data-related skills will be infused in courses across the curriculum and taught in stand-alone data science learning environments is an open and evolving area of education research and practice. The cohort of postdoctoral scholars will study the North Carolina State University Data Science Academy's course design model: All-campus Data science through Accessible Project-based Teaching and learning (ADAPT). Fellows will work as part of a diverse education research team to develop, implement, scale and share a long-term, robust research program that assesses the efficacy of the ADAPT model and related courses. The research will add capacity to STEM education research by presenting a model that has been validated through ongoing assessment and continuous improvement and has the potential to be adapted to other institutions and STEM fields. By matching postdoctoral fellows with a diverse team of mentors with varied data science education research interests, the project also aims to build reciprocal relationships between mentees and mentors who learn from each other and their experiences. Postdoctoral scholars will have opportunities to engage with a network of data science and education leaders in industry, government, education, consulting and agriculture.<br/><br/>The Discovery Research preK-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools. Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.