The PIER Program
The Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research (PIER) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), initially funded by IES in 2004, is designed to train scientists whose rigorous research on learning conditions related to curriculum, instruction, and assessment will improve academic outcomes for pre-kindergarten to postsecondary students. PIER is led by CMU faculty from several academic departments (psychology, statistics, human-computer interaction and economics) and the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence. PIER fellows are recruited primarily from these participating departments, but can come from any CMU doctoral program flexible enough to accommodate all PIER requirements.
Over the course of the five-year grant, CMU will offer approximately 20 doctoral students five year fellowships (including 3-4 years of fellowship support provided by the training grant and 1-2 years of fellowship support provided by CMU). All PIER fellowships will include tuition and benefits, $30,000 stipends, and a small research fund.
Ph.D. students in the PIER training program will participate in an interdisciplinary core curriculum consisting of coursework in the learning sciences, instruction, assessment, research methodology, and statistics. Fellows will also participate in field-based experiences in which they conduct collaborative research with practitioners, interdisciplinary research projects with other PIER fellows, and research apprenticeships with PIER faculty. The PIER training program also includes an ongoing interdisciplinary colloquium in the education sciences and a biweekly brown bag series on education research.
The total projected costs of the training program are approximately $8 million. In addition to the $3.67 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, CMU will be contributing approximately $3.56 million to cost-share fellows' stipends/tuition during the award period and approximately $765,000 in fellowship support to continue to train fellows for up to two years after this grant concludes.