Dr. Katina Stapleton
The Institute's newest training program, Pathways to the Education Sciences Research Training Program (Pathways Training Program), was launched in 2015 as part of a federal-wide effort to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in the scientific community. The Institute seeks to develop a pipeline of talented education researchers who bring fresh ideas, approaches, and perspectives to addressing the issues and challenges faced by the nation's diverse students and schools. The Pathways Training Program seeks to both (a) increase the number of fellows from groups underrepresented in doctoral study, including racial and ethnic minorities, first-generation college students, economically disadvantaged students, veterans, and students with disabilities and (b) provide greater diversity in the types of institutions that provide IES-funded research training.
For FY 2017, the Pathways Training Program grants will be awarded to minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and other institutions of higher education in partnership with MSIs. The goal is to provide students—especially underrepresented students—with an introduction to education research and scientific methods, meaningful opportunities to participate in education research studies, professional development, and mentoring that lead to doctoral study. The Institute chose to focus the Pathways Training Programs on MSIs because of their role in preparing underrepresented minority students who pursue doctoral degrees.
Training participants (known as Pathways fellows) may include upper-level undergraduates (juniors and seniors), post-baccalaureate students (within 5 years of receiving a bachelor's degree), or students enrolled in master's degree programs. Fellows who complete their Pathways Training Program should be prepared to enter a doctoral program in which they can pursue a future career in education research.
The core feature of the Pathways Training Program is a required research apprenticeship, in which fellows gain hands-on research experience under the supervision of faculty mentors. In order to prepare participants for doctoral study, programs will also provide training in multiple areas: an education problem or issue chosen as the research theme of the training program; methodological knowledge and skills; and career development.
Each proposed training program should be interdisciplinary—involving fields such as education, statistics, economics, sociology, psychology, and public policy—and provide opportunities for students to learn how researchers are addressing significant issues and challenges facing education policymakers and practitioners. Pathways training programs can be of varying formats, lengths, and foci; however, at a minimum, they each must have an education research theme and research apprenticeship opportunities for fellows. Although not required, the Institute strongly encourages programs to provide a course or seminar that addresses the program's theme, mentoring, and additional activities designed to assist fellows in applying for admission to doctoral programs.