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.
STEM Enrichment Institute and academic enhancement program for eighth graders and high school students; implementing a college bridge program for incoming freshman and graduating high school seniors; and providing research, mentoring, and academic development opportunities for STEM students, improving persistence and efficacy. The project will employ activities and strategies that are evidence-based, but will be studied for effectiveness in the setting of this two-year institution. The project will be advised and evaluated for effectiveness by internal and external advisory boards and by a team of evaluators. This project provides a model for how community colleges can take a more direct, purposeful role in impacting the potential employment pool of STEM professionals.