Strategic management of the NASA education portfolio requires the participation of the Office of Education, the four Mission Directorates and all ten NASA Centers. This extensive participation provides broad education engagement with NASA content, people and facilities. Close and effective consultation, coordination and cognizance among all entities are critical to the optimal fulfillment of NASA's objectives relative to its education investment.
The Office of Education administers national education efforts that draw on content from across the agency. As an institutional management office, the OE is responsible for ensuring compliance with external requirements and laws, NASA-wide processes, procedures, standards, audits and accounting related to Education. It also provides the leadership for coordinating and integrating NASA's education strategic framework, implementation approach and policies. The OE provides national partnership networks and infrastructure to disseminate NASA education content and activities developed by the Mission Directorates, Centers and education partners. It solicits external advice and represents the agency externally, especially in interactions with Congress, the Office of Management and Budget and other federal agencies. The OE refers external inquiries to specific managers within its own office or any of the Mission Directorate or Center Education Offices as appropriate.
The Office of Education provides integration and evaluation support to the Education Coordinating Committee. As such, the OE maintains a centralized database of all NASA education activities and investments, and coordinates the evaluation and assessment of the Agency education portfolio. The integration and evaluation results are aggregated to demonstrate the total impact of NASA education efforts and assessed to provide data to the ECC to improve the effectiveness of the overall Agency education investment strategic framework.
The Mission Directorates - Aeronautics Research, Human Exploration and Operations, Science, and Space Technology - and other HQ organizations that fund education efforts are responsible for embedding education components into their research and development programs and flight missions, for administering the discipline/content-specific activities for which they provide funding, and for ensuring meaningful collaboration between the NASA science/engineering community and the education community. Each Mission Directorate supports the NASA education portfolio by providing discipline-specific content, funding and human resources to plan and implement educational programs, projects, products and services. Additionally, Mission Directorates and other HQ organizations that fund education at NASA develop partnerships specific to their disciplines and needs, including discipline-specific interactions with other federal agencies. Each Mission Directorate identifies an Education Lead, who represents their Associate Administrator to the Office of Education and to the Education Coordinating Committee with the authority to commit resources. The Education Leads reside in Mission Directorate office space and work for the Mission Directorates. Education Leads are responsible for program coordination with the Office of Education and the Centers, program evaluation using ECC criteria, and data distribution to the central Agency education database.
Center Education Offices are responsible for implementing NASA education programs, projects and activities for the Mission Directorates and the Office of Education, as well as planning and implementing education projects that are unique to and funded by their Centers. Centers are responsible for execution of programs and projects and for institutional assets. The Center Education Offices provide expertise in state standards and requirements in their area of geographic responsibility for K-12 education, and provide valuable field-based input into education program planning. Center Education Offices work closely with their regional customer base in support of systemic reform initiatives in formal education, assist with the generation and communication of knowledge for their unique research and technology development requirements by involving colleges and universities across the country, and establish linkages with informal education networks in support of agency national STEM education initiatives. Center Education Offices maintain cognizance of all NASA-funded education efforts that take place in their geographic region and/or programmatic areas of responsibility, regardless of funding source.
Center Education Directors report administratively to their Center management and functionally to the Office of Education, as well as receiving programmatic direction from the Headquarters organizations that provide education funding to their Center. Center Education Directors are functionally responsible for all Center education efforts.