FSU’s CDHS wins $399,986 NSF Grant

Fayetteville State University’s (FSU) Center for Defense and Homeland Security (CDHS) has been awarded $399,986 from the National Science Foundation HBCU-Up Targeted Infusion Program. The grant will be used to improve the quality of science education for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors (STEM). The goals of this HBCU-Up Targeted Infusion Project are to:

• Implement Student-Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs (SCALE-UP) and Flipped Education in a technology-rich, highly collaborative, hands-on, interactive learning environment such as Hi-Tech Studio Classrooms
• Reduce students’ failure (i.e., DFIW) rates
• Improve passing grades
• Improve students’ problem solving ability
• Increase students’ conceptual understanding
• Improve students’ attitude towards STEM courses
• Increase students’ class attendance
• Build a community of STEM educators at FSU to replicate Hi-Tech Studio classrooms across the campus for other both STEM and non-STEM courses

Dr. Cevdet Akbay, CDHS Scholar and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics, in the College of Arts and Sciences served as Principal Investigator (PI), and collaborated with chemistry faculty, Drs. Abdirahman Abokor, Gurcharan Rahi, and Daniel Autrey (Co-PIs) on the resubmission of this NSF HBCU-UP proposal.
Developed by Dr. Robert Beichner, North Carolina State University (NCSU), SCALE-UP establishes a highly collaborative, hands-on, computer-rich, interactive learning environment for both small and large introductory college courses. SCALE-UP has been successfully used at MIT, Dickinson College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, UC-Davis, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

According to Dr. Curtis Charles, Executive Director of the CDHS and Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Transformation at FSU, although last year’s versions of this SCALE-UP and Flipped Education proposal, did not receive NSF funding, Dr. Akbay and his colleagues were able to use the NSF reviewers’ comments to improve the proposal. In addition, the CDHS provided the proposal team with the services of external evaluators to give feedback on the proposal before submission. These CDHS faculty support services have now resulted in $718,000 and $399,986 in STEM funding from the Office of Naval research and the National Science Foundation, respectively.

The CDHS’s 22-interdisciplinary scholars facilitate curricular innovations, research and partnerships in the areas of cybersecurity threats, national security challenges, emergency management and STEM education and outreach in preparing the next generation of STEM graduates and national security professionals. The CDHS leverages its partnerships with the military commands, National Laboratories, as well as, local and national defense businesses to expand the level and diversity of research in areas impacting defense and security, and to bring more external funding to the university in the form of contracts and grants. Over the past two years, three CDHS scholars, and eight STEM students have conducted summer research at MIT Lincoln Lab and Oakridge National Lab, while CDHS scholars have collectively published more than 75 peer-review journal articles in their disciplines.

FSU is a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina and the second-oldest public institution of higher education in the state. FSU offers nearly 60 degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. With nearly 6,000 students, Fayetteville State University is among the most diverse institutions in the nation.
For more information, call (910) 672-1474.