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NSF 15-078

Dear Colleague Letter: Stimulating Research on Effective Strategies in Undergraduate STEM Education at Two-Year Hispanic Serving Institutions


NSF invites proposals that address effective approaches in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for students at two-year Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), which encourages research on the science of broadening participation and related STEM education areas, is one of two DCLs highlighting funding opportunities focused on students at HSIs in STEM in Fiscal Year 2015.

NSF encourages the submission of proposals for Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) and Conferences that focus on evidence-based practices that have been shown to be particularly effective for students at HSIs, as well as exploratory research that may lead to new models and best practices. Examples of appropriate topics include:

  • Understanding factors that will lead to improved retention of students in STEM programs at two-year HSIs
  • Understanding barriers and challenges that prevent the transfer of students at two-year HSIs to four-year colleges; understanding factors that promote the transfer of students including articulation agreements
  • Improving the quality of STEM undergraduate academic and research experiences at two-year HSIs
  • Research on strategies that enhance interest and motivation of students and improve persistence and graduation rates in undergraduate STEM programs at HSIs through innovations in STEM curricula, instructional materials, and research experiences
  • Building capacity at HSIs through collaborations with majority institutions that support faculty research, professional development, and mentoring
  • Building capacity at HSIs for successfully competing for federal funding aimed at improving STEM education and research

Submission Deadline

Proposals for funding in Fiscal Year 2015 must be submitted by June 19, 2015; proposals for funding in Fiscal Year 2016 must be submitted by May 31, 2016.

Funding Level and Award Duration

  • EAGER: Up to $300,000 and two years duration
  • Conferences: Up to $50,000

Participating Directorates and Programs

The following NSF Directorates and Program Offices will accept inquiries and submissions of EAGER and Conference proposals:

BIO DBI, DEB, EF, IOS, MCB Contact the cognizant program officer in the appropriate Biological Sciences Organization & Program.
EHR A. James Hicks
Tasha Inniss
Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation
Bridges to the Baccalaureate
  Dave Brown Advanced Technological Education
  John Krupczak
Paul Tymann
NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  Myles Boylan Improving Undergraduate STEM Education
CISE Jan Cuny Contact the CISE program officer listed for information on participating programs.
ENG Bevlee Watford Contact the ENG program officer listed for information on participating programs.
GEO Lina Patino Contact the GEO program officer listed for information on participating programs.
IIA Dragana Brzakovic
Joan Frye
Science and Technology Centers
MPS AST, CHE, DMR, DMS, PHY Contact the cognizant program officer in the appropriate Mathematics and Physical Sciences Organization & Program
SBE Sally Dickerson Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Science
  Linda Layne Division of Social and Economic Sciences

Special Instructions

Please contact the Program Director or Division listed above prior to submission to ensure that the proposed idea is in compliance with the program of interest and meets with program submission requirements.

Proposals should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the guidance in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, Part I: Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) (NSF 15-001): Specific instructions for EAGER proposals are found in Chapter II.D.2 of the GPG and specific instructions for proposals for Conferences are in Chapter II.D.9.

NSF uses the definition for HSIs as defined in the Higher Education Act (Title V, Part A of the Higher Education Act as amended (20 U.S.C. 1101a (5)) which defines an Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) as an institution of higher education that is (A) is an eligible institution; and (B) has an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic students at the end of the award year immediately preceding the date of application. For your convenience, the National Center on Education Statistics (NCES) publishes IPEDS data on HSIs.

The following resource is designed to help with educational research proposal preparation: Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development (NSF 13-126). This new publication was jointly developed by the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education and describes six types of research studies that can generate evidence about how to increase student learning. The Common Guidelines may be accessed at the following link: NSF 13-126. A set of supporting FAQs is also available: NSF 13-127.

To ensure proper processing, please begin the proposal title with: DCL:HSI.

Both two-year and four-year institutions are eligible to submit proposals, however, four-year institutions of higher education are strongly encouraged to partner with a two-year HSI or have the two-year institution serve as the lead organization.

Three informational webinars will be held to provide general guidance on EAGER and Conference proposals. For more information or to join a webinar, please use the following links:

May 11, 2015, 2 p.m. Eastern:

May 18, 2015, 2 p.m. Eastern:

May 20, 2015, 3 p.m. Eastern:

If you prefer to call in for audio only, dial: +1-888-240-2560 (US Toll Free) and enter conference ID (the nine-digit # at the end of the URL above).


Joan Ferrini-Mundy, Assistant Director
Directorate for Education and Human Resources

Participating Directorates and Offices

Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO)
Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE)
Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR)
Directorate for Engineering (ENG)
Directorate for Geological Sciences (GEO)
Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS)
Directorate for Social, Behavior, and Economic Resources (SBE)
Office of International and Integrative Activities (IIA)