Limited Submission Programs - NSF - Widening Implementation & Demonstration of Evidence-Based Reforms (WIDER)

Summary of Opportunity
NSF - Widening Implementation & Demonstration of Evidence-Based Reforms (WIDER)
OSP Deadline 06/28/13 by 8:30 a.m.
Funding Agency Deadline 07/03/13
Funding or Award Criteria

Program Description: The chief goal of WIDER is to transform institutions of higher education into supportive environments for STEM faculty members to substantially increase their use of evidence-based teaching and learning practices. The first recommendation in the Report of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), "Engage to Excel," is to increase widespread implementation of evidence-based practices in order to increase persistence in STEM and contribute to the goal of producing 1 million additional STEM graduates.

Through this process, WIDER seeks to substantially increase the scale of application of highly effective methods of STEM teaching and learning in institutions of higher education, by employing instructional materials and methods that have a convincing evidentiary basis of effectiveness. In particular WIDER seeks this transformation for high enrollment, lower division courses required for many STEM majors and taken by many other students to fulfill general education distribution requirements.

Included in our broad definition of effective STEM teaching and learning are not only instructional practices in traditional learning environments, but also modern laboratory methods and field research, proven distance education methods (or hybrid designs incorporating both face-to-face and distance methods), and improved approaches to motivating student interest in STEM. In all cases, the primary goal of WIDER is to increase substantially the scale of these improvements within and across the higher education sector in order to achieve:

  1. Improved student learning;
  2. Increased numbers of students choosing STEM majors, particularly from demographic groups underrepresented in STEM;
  3. Improved retention in the first two years and to graduation of all STEM majors.

Applicants may consider applying to WIDER at different levels of scale:

Planning grants may be requested by single institutions or groups of collaborating institutions in order to develop a strategic approach for leveraging plans to increase institutional commitment to evidence-based teaching and learning.

Institutional Implementation proposals may be requested by single institutions to assist in carrying out plans for increasing the level of evidence-based teaching and learning. Institutional Implementation proposals would be expected to cover multiple STEM departments or disciplines.

Community Implementation proposals may be submitted by consortia of multiple institutions of higher education, disciplinary societies, and college and university associations. Community Implementation proposals might focus on a single discipline in order to reach a tipping point of commitment to use of evidence-based teaching and learning methods. (No limitation)

Research grants may be requested to develop greater understanding of how to change the culture of higher education by placing very high value on undergraduate student achievement in STEM within single institutions or more broadly. (No limitation)

WIDER is interested in supporting all types of higher education institutions that offer STEM courses and/or undergraduate degrees.

WIDER is a research and development initiative. Projects in all tracks are expected to contribute to the knowledge base about how to effect desirable changes in undergraduate STEM education through their evaluation and dissemination activities.

Please see the solicitation for complete information. 

Applicable Field(s)  
Number of Nominees Allowed

Because the goal of WIDER is institutional transformation, an organization may submit only one Planning or one Institutional Implementation proposal for a given deadline. There are no restrictions on the number of Community Implementation or Research proposals that an individual or organization may submit.

Required Internal Review Documents

Associate Deans or Designates should submit the following materials electronically to by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, 2013:

  1. Dean's or ORU Director's Letter of Nomination
  2. Two page maximum lay abstract describing the aims/needs of the proposed research project.
  3. Short bio sketch/CV of the UT PI

Each college may submit only one Planning or one Institutional Implementation proposal for consideration.



Nominee(s) Selected to Advance

Dr. John Ekerdt, School of Engineering

Posting Date 04/28/13