About

The ISL Framework was developed through two years of studying the tasks, activities, and skills of practicing professionals across a range of science centers and other STEM-rich museums.

The research team included Margaret Glass, Michelle Kenner, and Lesley Markham at ASTC, Martin Storksdieck, Nancy Staus, and Nancee Hunter at Oregon State University’s STEM Research Center, Dennis Schatz at Pacific Science Center, Kris Morrissey at University of Washington Museology Graduate Program, Joe Heimlich at the Lifelong Learning Group of COSI Columbus, and Cathlyn Stylinski at University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

Why A Framework?

ISL work is important. Public knowledge and engagement in STEM is critical for a vibrant, democratic, healthy society and ISL organizations play a vital role in stimulating public interest and engagement in STEM. Each year, hundreds of millions of people visit ISL institutions. The success of those experiences is dependent on the competencies of those who work within the ISL field.

ISL work is difficult. Learning how to reach, engage, inspire, and inform public audiences is a significant and lifelong challenge. Our society, our knowledge-base, and the interactions between society and STEM knowledge are complicated, sophisticated, and ever-changing.

ISL work is unique. People come to ISL work from many fields and the career path is different for each person. This diversity brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise, commitment, and passion to the field, but it also leaves individuals or organizations with gaps.

If you are exploring the ISL Professional Competency Framework, you probably know that ISL work requires a unique set of skills. Perhaps your experiences or your education has led you to a point where you want a better sense of what you know and what you don’t know. Perhaps you’re wondering how to take the next step in your career, or maybe you are in a leadership position and you want to know how to help your staff take the next step. And maybe you work in an ISL institution, but you don’t know if you consider yourself an ISL professional. The Framework is designed for you. 

How Was it Created?

Three facilitated workshops were held at science centers in different parts of the United States with participants from small, medium, and large science centers and museums and representing different levels of their careers. Results were verified through a national survey and targeted interviews with ISL professionals. Learn More

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