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Collaborative Project Management Institute for Informal Science Institutions: 1836963

Principal Investigator: Lesley Markham
CoPrincipal Investigator(s): Judy Brown
Organization: Association of Science-Technology Centers

This workshop is funded by the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, which seeks to advance new approaches to, and evidence-based understanding of, the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments. This includes providing multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences, advancing innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments, and developing understandings of deeper learning by participants. The project will conduct an in-person participatory workshop designed to broaden participation in STEM. The project is designed to build the capacity of informal science institutions (ISIs) and their partners to use evidence-based collaborative project management practices and culturally responsive approaches to manage complex partnership efforts. The workshop will develop structure and provide tools for effective collaborative project management between ISIs including science centers and museums, and their research and community partners. To guide the workshops, participants will explore some core dimensions of culture to understand audiences, communities traditionally underserved by informal STEM institutions, and institutional differences. Participants will leave with concrete, actionable plans that will enable them to more effectively bring their collaboration plans to fruition. The project will develop resources including a playbook of project management templates, video vignettes, and summaries of relevant research findings and lessons from the field. Proceedings and resources from the workshop will be shared online with the field and ultimately archived on informalscience.org.

Conference participants will build the human resource expertise, infrastructure, and capacity needed to develop and maintain lasting partnerships that will further their institutions’ aspirations to broaden participation in STEM. The project brings together an experienced, multidisciplinary team from informal science education and private industry professionals to advance knowledge of the skills and tools needed for managing complex collaborations between researchers, practitioners, and community stakeholders that will increase their effectiveness when working with diverse audiences. During the workshop, participants will think through their current project work by using a defined collaborative project management process to build a foundation of understanding and trust. Upon completion of the Institute, participants will have: (1) a shared purpose and goals that represent the interests of all parties; (2) identified some cross cultural and organizational differences that need to be accommodated for successful collaboration; (3) fostered joint decision making based on objective steps vs priorities of one organization; and (4) clarified deliverables of their project and how to measure success; (5)identified individual roles and responsibilities within their collaboration.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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