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Collaboration
1/30/2015 12:00 AM
The Education Department (ED) has announced the expansion of an existing pilot program with NASA and is working to build new partnerships with the National Park Service (NPS) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through its collaborative 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

The Education Department (ED) has announced the expansion of an existing pilot program with NASA and is working to build new partnerships with the National Park Service (NPS) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through its collaborative 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC). The partnerships will bring hands-on STEM learning opportunities to high-need students during after-school and out-of-school time, the department said in a statement.

These partnerships will create opportunities for students to engage in solving real-world STEM challenges with scientists and experts in their field, Ed said. The number of participating 21st CCLC sites will increase from approximately 20 in 2014, to more than 100, in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

The department said that engaging students during out-of-school time is an important tool for supporting all students learning in STEM subjects. Through these collaborative efforts:

  • NASA will support students as they work through one of six design and engineering challenges that scientists may face in navigating the solar system. Building on last year's efforts, students and support staff will interact directly with NASA engineers and scientists at up to 80 schools and organizations across 10 states.
  • The National Park Service (NPS) will introduce environmental monitoring and citizen science programs at 11 schools overseen by the Bureau of Indian Education. The schools will work with park rangers as well as Hands on the Land, a national network of classrooms and resources that connect students to public lands, to bring their expertise to student learning.
  • IMLS will support STEM-focused making and tinkering activities, building on enthusiasm for the "maker movement," at 25 schools and organizations across California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

For more information on the 21st CCLC program and the interagency collaboration, visit www2.ed.gov/programs/21stcclc/index.html.

New Initiatives
1/23/2015 12:00 AM

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Chairman William D. “Bro” Adams recently introduced “The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square,” an agency-wide NEH initiative designed to demonstrate the critical role humanities scholarship can play in our public life.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Chairman William D. “Bro” Adams recently announced a new NEH initiative focused on the humanities in public life.

Chairman Adams introduced “The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square,” an agency-wide NEH initiative designed to demonstrate the critical role humanities scholarship can play in our public life and that recalls the agency’s dual role of ensuring leadership in the realm of ideas and cultivating humanities in the public sphere.

“The notion of ‘the common good’ should be familiar to us,” said Chairman Adams in a statement. “It is central to democratic political theory and expresses both the right and the obligation of citizens to debate and determine the general welfare; it is the aspirational goal, the guiding ambition that anchors citizenship and participation in democratic politics.”

The Common Good will encourage humanities scholars to turn their attentions to topics that have widespread resonance with the American people and that lend themselves to the methods and concerns of the humanities, the chairman said.

“We’re all aware of recent criticisms that humanists have become too inwardly and professionally focused,” said Adams. “This initiative will provide encouragement and support to humanities scholars who wish to demonstrate the relevance of their professional interests and skills to American life.”

NEH said it has already taken steps toward this goal with the creation of two new NEH grant programs: the Public Scholar Grant Program, which seeks to encourage the publication of nonfiction books that apply serious humanities scholarship to subjects of general interest and appeal; and Humanities Open Book, a new joint grant program with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that aims to “unlock” great out-of-print humanities books by republishing them as freely accessible e-books.

The Common Good initiative will also encompass the agency’s existing Standing Together initiative, Adams said, which supports projects and grants connecting the humanities to the experiences of war and veterans.

To learn more, visit www.neh.gov/commongood.

1/16/2015 12:00 AM

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has announced more than $55 million to develop and deploy cutting-edge vehicle technologies that strengthen the clean energy economy.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz has announced more than $55 million to develop and deploy cutting-edge vehicle technologies that strengthen the clean energy economy. The technologies will play a key role in increasing fuel efficiency and reducing petroleum consumption, and support the Energy Department’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge to make plug-in electric vehicles as affordable to own and operate as today’s gasoline-powered vehicles by 2022, the department said.

“Energy Department investments in advanced vehicle technologies have had a major impact on the industry, driving down costs for consumers and reducing carbon emissions,” said Secretary Moniz said in a statement. “These projects will continue America’s leadership in building safe, reliable, and efficient vehicles to support a strong, 21st century transportation system.”

Funding will go toward a wide range of research, development and demonstration projects that aim to reduce the price and improve the efficiency of plug-in electric, alternative fuel and conventional vehicles, DOE said. Topics addressed include:

  • advanced batteries (including manufacturing processes) and electric drive research and development;
  • lightweight materials;
  • advanced combustion engine and enabling technologies research and development; and
  • fuels technologies (dedicated or dual-fuel natural gas engine technologies).

DOE said it will award funding for cost-shared projects involving private industry, national laboratories and university-led teams.

For more information, go to http://1.usa.gov/1uGG2Ns.

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