Computing is increasingly central to innovation across a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary problem domains. As a result, undergraduate CS programs are being called upon to prepare larger and more diverse student populations for careers involving computer science. Many of these students are not traditional CS students who want to major in CS and pursue careers as software engineers, database architects, or user interface specialists. Rather, they are interested in integrating advanced computational skills and methods with domain-specific knowledge from their non-CS majors. Indeed, many departments are already experiencing rapid increases in the enrollment of non-CS majors in higher-level computing courses. At the same time, new interdisciplinary programs are arising in areas such as data science and artificial intelligence. Standard CS course sequences do not always serve these new, larger, and more diverse student populations well. In response, some departments have created novel, more flexible degree pathways, often called "CS+X" or "X+CS"”where X is a discipline or set of disciplines that may include both STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and non-STEM subjects; X might also be a significant societal problem requiring contributions from many such disciplines. The study of X is combined with relevant computing courses tailored to X. With the IUSE: CUE grant program, the NSF aims to support partnerships of Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) as they begin to rethink the role and positioning of CS education, looking perhaps at CS+X or X+CS programs but also at a more holistic restructuring of interdisciplinary degree pathways, with the goal of better preparing a wider, more diverse range of students to collaboratively use computation across a range of contexts and challenging problems.
In addition, as computing becomes more central to so many aspects of our public and private lives, it is incumbent upon the academic community to better prepare students to assume their ethical responsibilities in the use of technology and in guarding against its misuse. Increasingly, the decisions that we make as citizens, consumers, workers, and community members are shaped by digital technologies. Although these technologies can generate large benefits, they can also pose risks, such as erosion of privacy, lack of fairness or accountability in algorithmic decision-making, and the spread of misinformation. It is therefore imperative that computer scientists, data scientists, and engineers have the education and training needed to think critically about the responsible development of these technologies. NSF encourages proposers to use their efforts to re-envision the role of computing to also better integrate the study of ethics into their curricula, both within core CS courses and across the relevant interdisciplinary application areas. Thus, the IUSE: CUE program welcomes two classes of proposals: 1) Proposals that do not include an ethics component and 2) Proposals that do include an ethics component.
Previously funded projects can be seen at https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/advancedSearchResult?ProgEleCode=055Y,1714,1998&BooleanElement=Any&BooleanRef=Any&ActiveAwards=trueresults.
Given its focus on undergraduate education, the IUSE: CUE program is aligned with NSF's Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) framework, which is a comprehensive effort to accelerate improvements in the quality and effectiveness of undergraduate education in STEM fields. IUSE: CUE builds on past investments by NSF's Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), including in the previous IUSE grant funding. This IUSE: CUE solicitation supports the initial formation of teams from multiple IHEs to work together to re-envision how CS education can better support the ubiquitous role of computation across disciplines and within interdisciplinary teams and projects. The efforts should include disciplinary faculty across a broad range of STEM disciplines, including education researchers. It is anticipated that future IUSE: CUE solicitations will support more extensive implementations by successful teams and projects.
This program solicitation is particularly interested in BPC for groups that have been traditionally underrepresented or underserved in CS. Underrepresented groups in computing include women, Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples, and persons with disabilities. However, if proposers wish to target a group not listed, the case for the need and the benefit should be made in the proposal. All proposals must explicitly address broadening participation with respect to the two Additional Solicitation Specific Review Criteria: