Project: National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE)

Authors: Jenifer V. Helms, Michelle Phillips, Mark St. John

Type: Report

Publication: August 2010

National Center for Engineering and Technology Education – Review of NCETE’s Research Initiative (pdf, 51 pages)


Inverness Research has evaluated three NSF-funded Centers for Learning and Teaching (CLTs). Through this work, we have identified and vetted five dimensions for examining the work that Centers do. These dimensions are: Leadership; Knowledge Generation and Flow; Relationships and Connections; Programs, Structures, and Policies; and “Centerness.” As the external evaluator for the National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE), Inverness has focused its efforts in year 6 on documenting the progress the Center has made according to these drivers. It is the second dimension— Knowledge Generation and Flow—that concerns itself with research. There are multiple levels of knowledge a national Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT) is positioned to gather, generate, use, and disseminate, including knowledge of the policy, practice, improvement, and curriculum landscape associated with the Center’s domain. This report presents and reviews the key features of the research efforts of the NCETE, an NSF-funded CLT, which intended to build capacity in the areas of leadership and research for its particular domain within STEM education: infusing engineering design concepts into technology education.

It is important to note that CLTs were not initially conceived as primarily research centers; instead, the majority of funding within Centers was originally intended for graduate training and practitioner programs. Over time, NSF increasingly emphasized research as an important outcome for CLTs, but did not earmark funding for research. In reality, most Centers focused on creating what we at Inverness Research have come to describe as a “research rich milieu” for the purposes of shepherding the improvement of the domain that the Center represented.

In the following pages, we highlight the important features of the NCETE research initiative. We provide an overview of the Center’s various research initiatives, as well as a wide range of perspectives on the efficacy of those initiatives. The primary audience for this document is potential funders of ongoing and future research efforts initiated by NCETE, and secondarily, other researchers or program leaders interested in learning more about this particular strand of Center work.

See also the report on NCETE’s Review of Leadership Capacity.

Intended Audience

Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) Education Leaders, Professional Development Providers, Teachers, Funders, and general public.


Any and all errors are claimed by the authors of this document, Inverness Research, Inc.

Distribution Policy

Inverness Research Inc. grants permission to print and distribute copies.