To assure the efficient investment of public funds in the coming years, the NSF Engineering Education and Centers Division (EEC) of the Directorate for Engineering asked the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) to examine the results of a sample of NSF grants program in engineering education, while also developing a master plan for longer term support for research in engineering education. An important first step in the STPI effort involved the organization of a workshop of key experts from two very different communities: engineering education research and the evaluation sector. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss ways to strengthen the use of contemporary evaluation methods as NSF enhances its support for research in engineering education.
The report that follows summarizes key observations from the “Thought Leaders’ Workshop” convened on May 29 and 30, 2008, at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia. The results of that informal discussion provide a useful context for future deliberations by educators, researchers, and policymakers alike.