MMSA welcomed a senior NSF official, John Cruickshank, for a site visit to review our six current NSF-funded projects and to share news about upcoming funding opportunities.
Mr. Cruickshank oversees policy, grants, and conflict management for NSF educational research programs, and serves as a senior advisor across many aspects of the agency. Some years ago, John worked closely with our own Dr. Sue Allen when she served as Acting Division Director at the Division of Research on Learning (DRL). He was also senior advisor to Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy before she left NSF to take a new position as President of the University of Maine.
John spoke passionately to the team about the value of work in supporting STEM capacity building in rural communities, drawing from his experience as an EPSCoR program leader and a long-time expert on island life in Micronesia and the South Pacific.
John applauded MMSA’s focus on several current areas of major NSF investment, such as computer science education, augmented reality, learning ecosystems, and citizen science, and he noted the importance of building infrastructure and capacity throughout the state. He also spoke highly of MMSA’s intersectional work at the intersection of research, practice, formal and informal STEM education, in an era when cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and convergent strands of research are highly valued. Similarly, he emphasized the increasing importance of state-wide and national partnerships among organizations working across a range of settings and target audiences, and encouraged us to continue and expand our collaborations.
He also reviewed the current funding opportunities at NSF, and on post-award management strategies and tips. We were privileged to spend a day with him, sharing ideas about innovative STEM education research. John was delighted to visit Maine for the first time, and hopes to return. John’s full set of slides are available on request (firstname.lastname@example.org).