National Collaborative for Research on Food, Energy, and Water Education (NC-FEW)
Cory Forbes, University of Nebraska Lincoln
National Collaborative for Research on Food, Energy, and Water Education (NC-FEW) has received funding from NSF's ECR-EHR Core Research for a Research Coordination Network to build a transdisciplinary community of education researchers and practitioners in the FEW-nexus. To learn more, visit: https://serc.carleton.edu/nc-few/index.html
Problem to be Addressed
Worldwide, there has been rapidly growing interest in research, education, and discourse around the Food-Energy-Water-Nexus (FEW-Nexus). The FEW-Nexus serves as a conceptual framework to describe and aid in addressing complex interrelationships associated with coupled human-natural systems at local, regional, and global scales. The inter-linkages between water, energy, and food means that changes in one system can have far-reaching impacts in others, resulting in significant ecological, economic, social, and political consequences.
The education component of these FEW-Nexus efforts has been underemphasized and under-represented, despite compelling evidence for the very real and pressing global challenges in the FEW-Nexus, the need to foster science literacy in America's citizenry, and necessity of meeting ever-evolving needs of the STEM workforce. These challenges provide a rationale for sustained, systemic, and interdisciplinary education efforts focused on food, energy, and water issues in a wide array of educational contexts. All students must be actively supported to learn to leverage scientific knowledge and negotiate its intersection with social, cultural, and economic values to make science informed decisions about FEW issues.
Currently, no systematic discipline-based education research (DBER) effort exists to study strategies, processes, and outcomes of FEW education efforts. Capitalizing fully on this significant opportunity will require transdisciplinary collaborations that can be greatly facilitated by cultivating a community around FEW education and DBER that is national in scope. NSEC-affiliated centers are uniquely positioned to synergize this effort with an emphasis on STEM. This project affords NSEC the opportunity to be a critical incubator for growth of a targeted, transdisciplinary, timely, and high-impact DBER community through which to cultivate scientific literacy.
Building the National Collaborative for Food, Energy, Water (NC-FEW)
To address this need, this collaborative held the Innovating Teaching and Learning in the Food-Energy-Water-Nexus: Toward a National Collaborative for Food, Energy, & Water Systems Education (NC-FEW) conference on May 22-23, 2018. This 2-day invited conference drew upon expertise of faculty from around the world leading educational programs (K-12, undergraduate, informal, non-formal) and education research grounded in the FEW-Nexus. Conference participants had opportunities to share their research and engage with colleagues from a diverse array of disciplinary backgrounds (education, STEM disciplines, agriculture, natural resources) to articulate and shape discourse around a systemic approach to FEW-Nexus education and education research.
The conference resulted in the development of a framework for a National Collaborative for Food, Energy, & Water Education (NC-FEW) and laid the foundations for a transdisciplinary community of FEW-Nexus education scholars.
Participants included 43 invitees and a number of additional support staff from an array of institutions from around the U.S. and the world. There were 8 NSEC-affiliated STEM centers represented at the conference.
Discussions in educational context teams focused on relevant research, standards and curriculum in which FEW issues are relevant, and identification of core opportunities for impact of FEW education efforts in these domains. This information is being actively compiled and translated into a visioning document to serve as a resource for the community moving forward.
In 2019, the National Collaborative for Research on Food, Energy, and Water Education (NC-FEW) received funding from NSF's ECR-EHR Core Research for a Research Coordination Network to build a transdisciplinary community of education researchers and practitioners in the FEW-nexus. To learn more, visit: http://ncfew.org/get-involved/
NSEC Centers Participating in NC-FEW RAC
Institution, STEM Center, & Research Program
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education
Dr. Cory Forbes
Dr. Leilani Arthurs
Dr. Hui-Hui Wang
Dr. Lynn Bryan
North Carolina State University
Dr. KC Busch
Dr. Kathryn Stevenson
Dr. Hannah Scherer
Dr. Liesl Baum
University of Oregon
Dr. Nicola Barber
Michigan State University
Dr. Kelly Millenbah
Dr. Joe Krajcik
University of Minnesota
Dr. Brad Greiman
Dr. Gillian Roehrig