A NIC is a specialized form of a network, defined by four key characteristics that make it a powerful structure to engage in the complexity of broadening participation in STEM:
- Focused on a well-specified common aim.
- Guided by a deep understanding of the problem, the system that produces it, and a shared working theory of how to improve it.
- Disciplined through an approach to testing changes using the methods of improvement science.
- Coordinated to accelerate the development, testing and refinement of interventions, their rapid diffusion across participating classrooms or schools, and their effective integration into varied contexts (Bryk et al., 2015;).
An accreditation process for pre-college STEM programs will be developed to elevate the work of the programs, resulting in them having greater currency with post-secondary admissions offices.