Paper No. 264-5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
A NATIONAL COLLABORATIVE FOR RESEARCH ON FOOD, ENERGY, AND WATER EDUCATION (NC-FEW)
Societies today face an array of global challenges in the Food-Energy-Water-Nexus (FEW-Nexus), which foregrounds Earth systems and their human dimensions. Despite compelling evidence for the very real and pressing nature of these challenges, the need to foster scientific literacy in today’s global citizens, and necessity of meeting workforce needs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as investments by NSF and USDA-NIFA in FEW-Nexus research, the education component of these efforts has been underemphasized. There is a need for a sustained and systematic effort focused on education and education research grounded in the FEW-Nexus. Institutions of higher education must take a leading role in preparing all global citizens for the FEW challenges of today and tomorrow. Capitalizing on opportunities for innovative research around FEW-Nexus educational programs will require transdisciplinary collaborations that can be greatly facilitated and enhanced by cultivating a novel and transdisciplinary community focused on FEW-Nexus education research. To begin to address this need, we have recently established a National Collaborative for Research on Food, Energy, and Water Education (NC-FEW), which will serve as a nucleus for transdisciplinary efforts to 1) advance educational programming and outreach efforts; 2) foster education research and evaluation; and 3) enhance collaboration around education and education research grounded in the FEW-Nexus. The fundamental assumption underlying NC-FEW is that the FEW-Nexus affords a novel theoretical and analytical lens through which to foster and understand teaching and learning about contemporary FEW challenges. Through cultivation of a transdisciplinary network involving contributors from a wide array of disciplinary backgrounds, NC-FEW will enhance capacity for high-impact education research, cultivate significant stakeholder engagement and involvement in FEW education efforts, and catalyze external funding to support affiliated activities. NC-FEW’s long-term mission is to serve as a clearinghouse for evaluation of FEW education and outreach programs and as a hub for communication between researchers, educators, scientists, policy-makers, and other stakeholders.