Frequently Asked Questions
What is the AAAS Center for Advancing Science & Engineering Capacity?
The "Capacity Center" is a human resource development consulting service for science and engineering. As a fee-for-service contract organization, it provides institutions of higher education with assistance "where they are" in improving delivery of their educational mission in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The Center is located in the AAAS Education and Human Resources Programs, which has an unparalleled record of achievement in developing, managing, documenting, and evaluating programs to enhance the participation of all students, K-16 and beyond, in STEM careers.
What is the Center's core mission?
The AAAS Capacity Center works to increase recruitment, enrollment, retention, and graduation of U.S. students in STEM fields, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups. The Center serves as a national research and technical assistance partner for institutions seeking to sustain the teaching and learning of its diverse student body and professional corps (postdocs, faculty, and administrators).
When was it established?
The Capacity Center was established in August 2004 with a 3-year grant awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Washington, DC-based organization that serves some 265 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals and spanning the spectrum of science and engineering -- education to the workplace.
Who are its clients?
The AAAS Capacity Center is a national resource for academic personnel, with clients ranging from individual project investigators to department chairs, deans, and chief executives. The Center seeks not only to reduce underrepresentation in STEM, but also to promote structural changes that aid the successful entry of graduates into postgraduate study and the technical workforce.
What kinds of services does the Center offer?
The Capacity Center offers various services focused on human resource development for science and engineering. Under the intellectual guidance of the AAAS Center Director, clients are served by teams assembled from a pool of consultants whose collective experience spans the university's needs. A team is created, as appropriate, for each individual client. Each team is:
- attentive to data and emerging research, national and local context, field specificity, and evaluation for practical uses;
- skilled in recognizing collaborative opportunities across units
- dedicated to deriving, sharing, and exporting principles of what works, for whom, and under what circumstances;
- diligent in measuring outcomes specific to undergraduates, graduate
students, postdocs, faculty, and/or administrators; and
- experienced in program modification, policies, and strategic plans that transform the institution's approach to client service.
What kinds of outcomes does the Center seek to achieve?
The Capacity Center is a full-service organization, like the AAAS,"advancing science, serving society."It is dedicated to achieving goals at many levels -- the student, the institution, and the nation. Foremost among these are:
- enhancing the institution's capacity to recruit, enroll, and
support U.S. students in STEM;
- retaining U.S. students to degree completion while making their skills and academic performance more competitive, flexible, and marketable with other students in the same field;
- connecting student and faculty experiences to employers' needs for"cultural competence"and a diversity of career opportunities; and
- improving communication, collaboration, and accountability within
the structure of the STEM teaching and learning environment across
How does the Center do its work?
The Capacity Center capitalizes on AAAS's extensive track record of research, policy analysis, technical assistance, and capacity building. In addition, AAAS has experience in interacting with universities and colleges, their various governance and operating units, faculty, students, sponsors, and partner organizations. The Center is committed to working in confidence if the client so requests, or sharing what is learned with relevant communities facing similar challenges.
How can we receive more information and initiate a conversation about using the Center's services?
Please contact the Capacity Center Director, Dr. Daryl Chubin, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-326-6785.