About this Project


The Future of Undergraduate STEM Education workshop is centered on the concept of a studio-format workshop experience. Approximately 50 expert participants will engage in an iterative set of facilitated design-based exercises with the objective of collaboratively establishing a vision for the future of the substance of STEM education. Informed by the framework developed by Kereluick and others participants will not only seek to better understand current and future contexts and needs, but also reimagine possibilities for the future, and through that, they will develop a well-articulated framework for the future of STEM education that can be implemented in the real world. The vision is to prepare a diverse STEM workforce to meet future challenges.

Download the Developing the Future Substance of STEM Education framework (Acrobat (PDF) 6.2MB Jul24 20)

This 5 day online workshop will be preceded by a series of webinars with robust discussion, featuring invited expert keynotes. The pre-workshop experience will foster a community of practice (CoP); acquaint participants with motivation, context, and key concepts; and ideate and converge on the curricular types, learner personas, and agenda for the workshop. Workshop participants will be selected for this CoP based on their expertise, knowledge, engagement, and leadership in the field. Following the workshop, the prototype curricula will be made openly available to the wider CoP to foster an emergent network that will continue to collaboratively develop and iterate content and resources.

Intellectual Merit

It is widely understood that the "how" and "who" of STEM education must evolve in response to rapidly changing societal needs by embracing empirically validated teaching practices and fostering inclusion of a wider diversity of learners. Considerably less attention is given to evolving the "what" of STEM education, especially in higher education. Even when best practices are adopted the emphasis typically remains on mastering content and concepts rather than inculcating habits that facilitate creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, or the complex skills and mindsets that allow for ethical decision-making and action in the world. Further, STEM courses and degree programs remain largely organized around traditional disciplinary definitions and within traditional boundaries, even as the most pressing problems require interdisciplinary work within and across STEM disciplines. The proposed program will guide NSF and the wider community in addressing this gap by developing a well-articulated framework that redefines what the substance of STEM education should be and providing example curricula that transform this framework into practice.

Broader Impacts

The framework, curricula, and CoP that we will develop through this project will provide a pathway to evolve the substance of undergraduate STEM education to better meet rapidly emerging economic, environmental, and societal challenges. We expect that participants will implement the outcomes in their own institutions, and thus the program will serve as a springboard and lead to broader change. Future students—including non-traditional learners—will engage with real-world needs and with STEM-infused challenges not only by applying disciplinary knowledge, but also through creativity, critical-thinking, and ethical decision making. We also anticipate that the format for this workshop, in which the PIs will use a studio-based approach, will find broader application as a result of the visibility of this project.


Dr. Ariel Anbar, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University
Dr. Punya Mishra, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University
Dr. Trina Davis, Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture, Texas A&M University
Dr. Cathy Manduca, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College
Dr. Stephanie Pfirman , School of Sustainability, Arizona State University

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DGE-1747486. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.