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Mini-Grants Available for Education & Professional Development

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 10:34

The AAS Astronomy Education Board (AEB) invites proposals from US-based AAS members to provide education-related mentoring and professional-development experiences for fellow members. Suitable venues for such experiences include (but are not limited to) AAS and Division meetings, college and university campuses, museums, planetariums, observatories, and online webinars and hangouts. The AAS-EPD mini-grant program will provide direct funding and logistical support for these experiences but will not pay any indirect costs (e.g., overhead). Individual grants will range from $1,000 to $10,000, with a typical amount of approximately $5,000, and will be paid on a reimbursement basis. The application deadline is Sunday, 18 June, at 11:59 pm Eastern time.

In January 2017 the AAS Council approved a new education strategy, summarized in the Final Report of the AAS 2016 Task Force on Education (additional Task Force information can be found here). In that report, four broad themes were identified that unify what the AAS can and should promote for its membership via its education-related activities:

  1. Engagement of members and nonmembers with both foundational and new astronomical ideas and data, and in both formal and informal settings.
  2. Communication and networking to connect people with a wide variety of expertise, so that they can pursue coordinated efforts in education.
  3. Mentoring at all career stages, both to receive high-quality mentoring and to be trained in how to provide it.
  4. Equity, inclusion, and diversity in all AAS activities related to education, and engaging our membership on these topics directly.

The Task Force also recommended that the AAS “…create opportunities for professional development activities in the area of education and mentoring, with the goal of enhancing the knowledge, skills and abilities of its members to educate all the audiences with which they engage.... Specifically, the AAS should support and fund a comprehensive, grant-based professional development workshop program around education, mentoring, and related activities at AAS winter, summer, regional, and/or topical meetings. AAS staff should facilitate the coordination and implementation of workshops that are recommended by the AEB, as it does with other AAS committees.”

The AAS-EPD announcement of opportunity is intended to offer support and funding to carry out such professional development activities. For more information, see the complete call for proposals. Remember: the application deadline is Sunday, 18 June, at 11:59 pm Eastern time.

Charles Liu
AAS Education Officer
CUNY College of Staten Island
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