APA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR) took an important step toward increased cooperation when Luther Williams, PhD, Assistant Director of NSF for EHR, met in February with William Howell, PhD, and Jill Reich, PhD, APA's Executive Directors for Science and Education. At that meeting, discussion centered on funding opportunities for psychology researchers and educators.
EHR has the mandate of fostering education in science, mathematics, and technology at all educational levels, through various means, such as teacher preparation and enhancement, curriculum development, educational reform, informal education, and research on teaching and learning. Drs. Howell and Reich explored with Dr. Williams how to overcome a widespread perception among psychologists that their proposals have not been welcome in EHR education and research programs.
One area focused on at the meeting is the teaching of psychological science in secondary schools. Although EHR supports a variety of teacher preparation and enhancement and curriculum development projects for math, chemistry, physics, and biology, psychology projects are rare. Drs. Howell and Reich pointed out that psychological science is an excellent vehicle for teaching the principles of scientific reasoning, methodology, and inference, because its content is accessible and intrinsically interesting to secondary students.
Drs. Howell and Reich also urged Dr. Williams to support more basic research on the learning process and cognitive development because of its direct relevance to EHR's mission to improve the teaching of math and science at all levels, beginning with K-12.
Dr. Williams expressed a willingness to work with APA to better inform psychological scientists of funding opportunities in EHR (see box) and welcomed APA's offer to send suggestions for reviewers for those EHR programs that receive psychological science or education proposals. These first steps are important in establishing a more productive working relationship between EHR and psychology.