Broadening Participation Research Centers provide support to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to conduct broadening participation research and serve as national hubs for the rigorous study and broad dissemination of the critical theories, structures and pedagogies, as well as culturally sensitive interventions that contribute to the success of HBCUs in educating African American STEM undergraduates. The project at Morehouse College, in partnership with Spelman College and Virginia State University, seeks to formally establish the HBCU STEM Undergraduate Success Research Center – STEM-US. The mission of the center is to “understand and tell the stories of HBCUs through convergence research for us and the Nation; thereby, documenting the legacy of excellence in STEM education at HBCUs and contributing to future educational innovation”. Among higher education institutions, HBCUs have a sustained record of consistently producing a diverse group of graduates in the STEM fields who are prepared for further education and the STEM workforce. Through research, education, knowledge building, and outreach, this center will have an impact on STEM education reform and broadening participation at all HBCUs, but will also allow all of higher education, and thus society, to benefit from the experience and lessons of HBCUs in broadening participation.STEM-US will conduct a systematic and comprehensive investigation to elucidate how HBCUs with diverse academic cultures successfully graduate African American students at a higher rate than other institutions; produce a higher rate of African American STEM students receiving PhDs; and instill in students a greater sense of well-being. STEM-US will take a comprehensive approach that includes: 1) a strategy integrating research, education, knowledge transfer and outreach to understand and disseminate, at local, state and national levels, the contributions, impact, and positive legacy of HBCUs in broadening participation; 2) a common theoretical framework that exposes individual and systematic vulnerabilities while developing the institutional supports necessary to promote success and retention of students; and 3) research to support the development of evidence-based interventions that will inform education reform. Specific research projects will emanate from a core research hub consisting of three partner institutions - Morehouse College, Spelman College and Virginia State University - as well as fifty other HBCU participants. The center will conduct convergence research using a community-based participatory research model to include education and knowledge transfer that will allow for the sharing of data and results to improve student outcomes across the HBCU network. The center will conduct outreach to all accredited HBCUs with education and knowledge transfer strategies utilizing online newsletters, white papers, listservs, blogs, webinars, and workshop-based conferences. A robust external evaluation will monitor and assess progress on all objectives, providing both formative and summative assessment of all center activities.This Broadening Participation Research Center is funded by the Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Undergraduate Program, with significant and generous cofunding provided by the Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate program , NSF INCLUDES, the Build and Broaden program, the EHR Core Research program, and the Convergence Accelerator program.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
This project aims to serve the national interest by building the capacity of the STEM community to design and conduct rigorous research studies to investigate Problem-Based Learning (PBL). PBL is an educational approach and instructional practice in which students learn by solving a complex, real world problem. The propagation of PBL in higher education outpaces research on this experiential learning approach. In response, this project aims to develop and foster the research capacity of the STEM community to investigate PBL. The project will address a significant gap in the research on PBL: most research on PBL has focused at its impacts at the course level. This project will instead focus on PBL as a mechanism to transform STEM programs and higher education institutions. This focus draws on the project team?s expertise and experience in faculty professional development, including in fostering the propagation of PBL in STEM. The project is expected to contribute to examination of the efficacy of PBL as a mechanism for transforming undergraduate STEM education at the program and institutional levels.Cognizant that there are a multitude and variety of research topics to investigate and hypotheses to test, this project aims to build the capacity of partner institutions to engage in research through the use of different research methods, from quasi-experimental and analytic studies to phenomenological and multi-site case studies. Activities will include participation in professional learning communities augmented by engagement in semester-long training, auto-ethnography, systematic research syntheses/meta-ethnography, and the application of developmental evaluation for assessing innovation and use (Patton, 2010). Self-reflection and auto-ethnography, as a means to document and investigate the development of expertise, is grounded in a phenomenological approach to research and knowledge generation. STEM Central, administered by Project Kaleidoscope, will provide an easily accessible site for sharing project deliverables including a PBL literature review, a census/field scan of institutions implementing PBL, MOOCs on organizational change theories, and logic models. It will also support development of a national community of practice among institutions implementing and researching PBL. The collaborating institutions include Worcester Poly Technic, Texas A&M University, Bellevue College, and the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The NSF IUSE: EHR Program supports research and development projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM education for all students. Through the Institutional and Community Transformation track, the program supports efforts to transform and improve STEM education across institutions of higher education and disciplinary communities.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Jackson State University is examining the effect of active flipped learning on student success in STEM. The project team will structure an intervention around mathematics, physics, and engineering courses and conduct research to produce knowledge that can be used to enhance African American students' learning and engagement in STEM. The goal is to implement and assess the effectiveness of an evidence-based active flipped learning model on student outcomes. <br/><br/>The project will be implemented using five experimental periods that will apply flipped learning and mixed traditional classroom lecture with active flipped learning. The activities will be guided by relevant affective, cognitive, and behavioral models. Participants will be provided data-driven personalized feedback, scaffolds, and learning tasks through advanced smart technologies. A series of surveys and interviews will be conducted to compare students' learning engagement, empowerment, self-efficacy, and satisfaction with active flipped learning. The project could catalyze a paradigm shift replacing passive learning with active learning in STEM education at HBCUs and other institutions.<br/><br/>This project is supported by the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) Targeted Infusion and Broadening Participation Research in Education tracks. This program supports ideas to create and study new models and innovations in STEM teaching and learning, investigate the underlying issues affecting the differential participation and success rates of students from underrepresented groups, and produce knowledge to inform STEM education practices and interventions.
The Historically Black Colleges and Universities-Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) Research Initiation Awards (RIAs) provide support to STEM faculty at HBCUs to pursue research at their home institution, at an NSF-funded Center, at a research intensive institution or at a national laboratory. The RIA projects are expected to help further the faculty member's research capability and effectiveness, to improve research and teaching at his or her home institution, and to involve undergraduate students in research experiences. With support from the National Science Foundation, Jackson State University (JSU) will design and develop nanoparticles which are sensitive to pH change and have biocompatibility and low toxicity and can be used for molecular imaging and therapeutics. The proposed project will strengthen the educational and research capacity at JSU, augment the ongoing research being conducted in the Department of Chemistry, and build collaborations both internally and externally. The project will allow undergraduate students to connect basic chemistry and materials science with potential application in biomedical engineering. The exposure of underrepresented minorities to cutting-edge research and instrumentation will result in students who are well-prepared for graduate school and well-qualified to compete in the Nation's STEM workforce. <br/><br/>The goal of this project is to develop biomimetic nanoparticles to enhance magnetic resonance (MR) signals in response to pH. Specifically, this study aims to: 1) synthesize and characterize poly(N,N-dipropyldopamine) nanoparticles (PDNPs) with pH sensitive components 2) develop new schemes to modify the surface of PDNPs to improve their solubility and for further functionalization; 3) prepare multifunctional PDNPs by intrinsically chelating with iron(III); and 4) evaluate the biocompatibility of nanoparticles by incubating with living cells. The development of the PDNPs will provide a procedure to prepare melanin-like nanoparticles with pH sensitive MR properties and photothermal effect. The structural characterization of PDNPs will provide information for the mechanisms of interaction of the metal ion with catechol groups. The project will not only enhance biomedical engineering research but also provide excellent education and training opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students at JSU. This work will be conducted in collaboration with the Washington University in St. Louis. The research and educational activities will advance the academic mission of JSU.