Establishing a sustainable Broader Impacts infrastructure on university campuses is important in creating a positive academic culture that supports BI. This infrastructure can be something like a repository of tools, but it can also be classes and workshops, especially if lesson plans and schedules are passed along between successive educators and facilitators. The BID Team is working on creating such an infrastructure by repeatedly tweaking our Wisconsin Idea STEM Fellows. Our first STEM Fellows training of 2019 wrapped up earlier this month, and the new cohort of potential fellows have begun working on their activity stations!
We are not alone on the UW-Madison campus, however. The MRSEC (Materials Research Science and Engineering Center) in the College of Engineering also has its Informal Science Education course occurring this semester to help graduate students learn the steps necessary to develop and execute a successful STEM outreach project.
It’s important for universities to support these efforts so more people continue to learn how to do BI work, which is required by any researcher who gets their grant money from the National Science Foundation. If not for these institution-sanctioned training and education efforts, PIs will have no formal (or vetted) guidance.