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Using NSF's "Broader Impacts" Criterion to Improve Undergraduate Education and Instruction

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Location: Center for Student Services 360 (Workshop Space)

A Discussion with Tobin Smith, Vice President for Policy at the Association of American Universities




The National Science Foundation evaluates every research proposal on both intellectual merit and broader impacts -- the potential to benefit society. Projects fulfill broader impacts in a variety of ways, including engaging a wider audience through preK-12 and public science education. This discussion will focus on newer efforts to incorporate improvements in undergradaute science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) into NSF broader impacts.


Guest Speaker:

Tobin (Toby) Smith is Vice President for Policy at the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization of 62 leading U.S. and Canadian research universities devoted to maintaining a strong system of academic research and education.

Toby oversees and coordinates AAU's policy and policy analysis activities. Among his specific areas of responsibility are issues relating to science and innovation policy; academic research; regulation, compliance and research costs; technology transfer; and openness and security. Toby also oversees AAU's Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative.

Prior to joining AAU in January 2003, Toby worked as a federal relations representative in the Washington D.C. Offices of the University of Michigan (1999-2002) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1992-1999). Toby began his Washington career on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant to Congressman Bob Traxler (D-Michigan).

Toby has written and spoken widely on science policy and science funding issues. He is the co-author a book on national science policy published in 2008 by the University of Michigan Press titled, Beyond Sputnik – U.S. Science Policy in the 21st Century.  He is currently a member of the National Academy of Sciences Roundtable on the Communication and Use of Social and Behavioral Sciences and sits on advisory boards to the National Alliance for Broader Impacts (NABI) and the International Network for Assessment and Evaluation of the Societal Impacts of Science (AESIS). Toby is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He holds a Masters Degree in Arts of Legislative Affairs from George Washington University, and a Bachelor Degree in General Studies from the University of Michigan.

Thanks to the Twenty-Seven Foundation for supporting this event, as well as sponsorship of other opportunities for Caltech faculty and students to engage in new perspectives on teaching and learning throughout the year.

For more information, please phone 626-395-8427 or email

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