The University of Georgia, Florida International University, Savannah State University, Clark Atlanta University and Fort Valley State University will lead this Design and Development Launch Pilot to address enhancing recruitment, retention, productivity and satisfaction of historically underrepresented minority (URM) undergraduate students who enroll in STEM graduate programs at primarily white (PWI) and research intensive (RI) universities. This project was created in response to the Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES) program solicitation (NSF 16-544). The INCLUDES program is a comprehensive national initiative designed to enhance U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) discoveries and innovations focused on NSF’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and broadening participation in these fields. The INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilots represent bold, innovative ways for solving a broadening participation challenge in STEM.
The full participation of all of America’s STEM talent is critical to the advancement of science and engineering for national security, health and prosperity. Our nation is advancing knowledge and practices to address the STEM education practices for retaining and educating URM undergraduate STEM students at our nation’s research intensive universities (RIs). This project, NSF INCLUDES: An Integrated Approach to Retain Underrepresented Minority Students in STEM Disciplines, has the potential to advance a collaborative approach by a group of organizations to improve the success of URM undergraduates in STEM disciplines.
The collaborating universities will work together for the purposes of empowering URM students to more effectively navigate STEM undergraduate and graduate education at minority serving institutions (MSIs) and PWIs, and for transforming the culture of PWIs and RIs. The team plans to use evidence-based approaches to gain insights into cultural differences that impact the success of URM STEM students. Three interventions will be included in the pilot study: (1) undergraduate URM student exchanges between MSIs and PWIs, (2) collaborative inquiry to engage URM students in social science research about issues and experiences of under-representation in STEM, and (3) the adaptation of resources from the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) to train STEM faculty to embrace diversity and improve teaching in diverse classroom settings. The project team plans to develop strategies to scale approaches and develop an alliance of institutions to maximize potential project outcomes.