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Wabash College awarded NSF grant

(photo courtesy of Wabash College)

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Wabash College says professors Laura Wysocki and Sara Drury will lead a study on the impacts of deliberation on undergraduate STEM education. The study is being funded by a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

The college says the study aims to determine whether deliberative pedagogy enhances scientific learning, encourages a deliberative mindset, and deepens students’ sense of civic engagement.

“Our research shows that students in a non-majors chemistry classroom participating in a deliberation module gain confidence and knowledge about chemistry topics while making connections to complex problems facing society and understanding their urgency,” said Wysocki. “This grant allows us to develop deliberations for science majors – students who will be technical experts in the future with a need to engage the public for more inclusive decision making. It also enables collaboration with other institutions to discover if the positive results seen in our classrooms can be replicated in different environments, which could impact science education more broadly.”

Wabash says the project will expose undergraduate STEM students to deliberative pedagogy, an approach that teaches respectful conversations by speaking with, and not just talking to, diverse stakeholders.

“This award is an opportunity to learn more about how critical conversations can lead to innovative, collaborative decision-making,” said Drury. “The activities in this grant challenge students to consider their roles in socio-scientific issues, reflect on the stakes for and needs of diverse publics, and engage possibilities for working together to improve our shared future.”

The study’s goal is to engage a diverse group of students in multiple educational settings to better prepare graduates to enter the STEM workforce and become engaged citizens.

The funding will also provide opportunities for Wabash undergraduate students to take part in academic year and summer research internships. The college says the grant also provides funding for student internships at other campuses, as well.