Knowledge Exchange: Project Overview

The AAC&U STEM Central Knowledge Exchange brings together an interdisciplinary intellectual community to develop shared ways of knowing, measuring, and describing successful evidence-based strategies to accelerate systemic and sustainable changes that broaden the participation of academically talented, low-income students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Specifically, the Knowledge Exchange supports NSF S-STEM and STEP project leaders and discipline-based educational researchers to:

  • identify key lessons learned to date about effective strategies that support the success of academically talented low-income STEM undergraduates; and 
  • prioritize remaining gaps in knowledge that should be addressed in current and future NSF investments, particularly those of the NSF S-STEM program. 

Through the STEM Central National Knowledge Exchangea national convening organized around an evidence-based approach, STEM faculty practitioners and discipline-based education researchers systematically identify and outline next generation challenges and opportunities in need of strategic action in order to optimize broadening the participation of this student demographic group. Click here to learn more about the Knowledge Exchange outcomes.

Why is this Important?

Despite the implementation of active-learning teaching strategies that have improved undergraduate STEM student retention and graduation, undergraduate students from low socioeconomic backgrounds continue to leave STEM by dropping out of college at higher rates compared to those who are from the highest economic quartile. Creating solutions to support the success of our nation’s academically talented, low-income undergraduate STEM students requires intentional dialogue between distinct groups of teaching and research communities who directly serve this student demographic. However, such dialogue seldom occurs—leading to significant knowledge gaps and missed opportunities to generate creative and interdisciplinary approaches that can be sustained at all institution types. The Knowledge Exchange aims to narrow this gap by creating dialogue around important aspects of quality undergraduate STEM teaching and learning that are not only effective in the success of academically talented low-income students, but simultaneously feasible by STEM faculty practitioners and respected by discipline-based education researchers.

 The AAC&U STEM Central Knowledge Exchange project is generously funded by the National Science Foundation (#1634807).