Interdisciplinary Team Awarded NSF Grant to Address Technology and Skills Gaps

Patricia Herzog, Casey Harris, Lindsay Aloia, Kevin Brady
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Patricia Herzog, Casey Harris, Lindsay Aloia, Kevin Brady

An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Health Professions, including Patricia Snell Herzog and Casey Harris from the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Lindsey Aloia from the Department of Communication, and Kevin Brady from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, recently received an NSF grant to organize and host a workshop next fall, entitled "Addressing Technology and Skills Gaps in Adulthood Transitions: Challenges and Opportunities at the Human-Technology Frontier."

The goal of the workshop will be to advance interdisciplinary expertise about the changes affecting transitions to adulthood.

"Our team sees numerous advances at the human-technology frontier, yet there are also disparities in how social contexts combine to create technology and skills gaps in adulthood transitions, which can impede equitable workforce entry," said Patricia Snell Herzog, the project's principal investigator.

As a result, Herzog said the workshop will support discussions by scientists and leaders in industry and policy regarding data literacy for the 21st century. The workshop will be held by the Center for Social Research on the University of Arkansas campus in September 2018, with more details forthcoming.  

"Bringing scientists from different disciplines together with industry and policy leaders to address emerging challenges and opportunities is the foundation for breakthrough research and innovative policy approaches and solutions," said Anna Zajicek, chair of Sociology and Criminal Justice.

The first two days of the workshop will draw on prominent interdisciplinary scholarship focusing on how young people assume adult roles, especially through institutions like the University of Arkansas. Workshop participants will discuss scholarship on life course development and contextual effects in addressing issues of information flow and brain drain.

Following the scholarship focus of the first two days, the third day will promote data literacy across sectors. Industry and policy leaders will join the scientists from the first two days in discussing ways to partner in supporting data-informed decision-making. Discussions will result in a set of best practices for attenuating brain drain and bridging gaps in information flows.

During the final day of the workshop, the project team will meet with student participants to discuss and distill the information shared into an edited volume and a series of brief papers.


Anna Zajicek, chair
Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice


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