Initial Publication Date: May 18, 2016

Partnerships for alignment and broader impacts

Liesl Baum, Center for Research in SEAD Education, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The most critical collaboration for the Center is the partnership we are building with the Office for the Vice President for Research and Innovation. As the Center is in the early stages of its development and experiencing a transition from a previously established university-wide initiative, it is critical that we build this relationship with the OVPRI, also helping us build a relationships with the Provost's office. This partnership provides us with two things: university-level visibility and impact in regards to broader impacts, and a voice in the PK12 Pipeline initiative.

The OVPRI is the university-wide support for faculty to engage in national and international research priorities. Through collaboration with OVPRI, the Center will gain university-wide visibility and work to become a uniform mechanism for research and evaluation, allowing us to strategically align research proposals and evaluation plans for PK12 STEM- and SEAD-based research projects. One critical component of this is helping faculty with their plans for evaluation and, more specifically, broader impacts. As the Center develops, we continue to add faculty that have extensive knowledge of, and experience with, PK12 policy and procedures and have a long record of building and maintaining strong relationships with school districts throughout the region and across the state. As these relationships are often difficult for individual faculty to develop, the Center will serve as a liaison to provide access to, and agreements with, public schools to allow opportunities for faculty to explore various plans to establish high quality broader impacts.

Directly related to the plans to support broader impacts is our role, as a Center, with the Provost's PK12 Pipeline initiative (official name TBD). This new initiative seeks to strategically align university outreach opportunities with needs of individual school districts with the intent of strengthening student pathways through PK12 toward college and career. Several members of the Center's executive committee serve on the development team for this initiative and we have identified a number of ways the Center can directly contribute, from establishing relationships with school districts to providing longitudinal evaluation for the program. One of the critical elements of this initiative will be to conduct a series of needs assessments for school districts willing to participate in the program. The Center will provide expertise and support to gather that information, analyze the results, and help the university with its alignment.

As the university engages in long-range strategic planning through the Beyond Boundaries initiative, the Center was formed to respond to themes including student preparedness, campus of the future, and ensuring our graduates have the capacity to solve complex problems of a regional, national, and global scale that have yet to be envisioned. We believe this process begins very early, even prior to when children enter the school years. As such, through our commitment, expertise, and solid relationship with the university President, Provost, and OVPRI, we can position Virginia Tech to make contributions to programmatic change in STEM education, and become a leader in STEM workforce development from early childhood through professional practice.


Center Profile: Center for Research in SEAD Education - Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University