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Understanding NSF Grantees' Engagement


Drawing upon survey data of 19 MSP grantees and 130 non-MSP NSF grantees in STEM-related disciplines from three Mid-Atlantic States, this study employs a mixed-method approach to explore to what extent demographics, institutional norms and practice, and self-perceptions about importance of research, teaching and service differ between the MSP program grantees and other NSF grantees during the 2007-08 academic year. Guided by Hora and Millar's (2008) institutional context framework (ICF), the study also examined faculty's own assessment of values of MSP or other education outreach programs on various aspects of their scholarly lives and their institutions. Findings show that the MSP participants had more females, non-Asian minorities, considerably more years of prior K-12 engagement experience, and were more likely to be in institutions where teaching was emphasized more for promotion and tenure. In addition, the study provides strong evidence of positive impacts of educational outreach work to the higher education institutions' communities, the institutions and the faculty. Findings suggest that higher education faculty reward structures should find ways to value service-oriented scholarship.