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Report encourages bold leadership to broaden participation in STEM

January 20, 2022
By: Emily Chesser

Broadening participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is vital for encouraging innovative advancements in scientific research and developing a diverse STEM workforce that engages citizens from all backgrounds. The Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) 2019-2020 Biennial Report to Congress outlines plans to broaden participation in STEM by focusing on "Making Visible the Invisible."

CEOSE is a committee of the National Science Foundation mandated by Congress to promote the participation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in STEM. Their biennial report summarizes the past year's activities and provides recommendations for future steps to continue broadening participation. A series of meetings focused on supporting persons with disabilities in STEM; issues of intersectionality and diversity; the importance of assisting Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs); and the need to advance diverse STEM leadership.

The report’s central theme of "Making Visible the Invisible," highlights three primary goals:

  1. Encouraging bold leadership decisions
  2. Understanding critical issues in intersectionality
  3. Addressing challenges associated with severely underrepresented groups

Although numerous resources, funding programs, and initiatives have broadened participation in STEM fields, the report found that strong leaders will be required to incorporate these efforts and develop cultures of inclusivity. Specific examples of CEOSE recommendations of bold leadership decisions are:

  • Recognizing and rewarding leadership in broadening participation and diversity by creating new awards;
  • Valuing risk-taking as a part of leadership through training proposal reviews and program officers;
  • Encouraging leadership in directing long-term changes in mindset by requiring sustainability plans for program accountability;
  • Transforming leadership across institutions by funding the development of infrastructure to support broadening participation; and,
  • Building awareness of leadership examples supporting diversity and inclusion by highlighting effective leadership models.

View the full report to learn more about the CEOSE 2019-2020 activities, plans, and recommendations.