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Critical Elements of STEP-funded Project at New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York

Summary of Critical Elements of STEP-funded Project at New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York (NSF STEP Award # 0622493) Metropolitan Mentors: (MMNet): Growing an Urban STEM Talent Pool Across New York City Submitted by: Pamela Brown (Associate Provost) and Janet Liou-Mark (Professor of Mathematics)

Background: New York City College of Technology is a comprehensive college, offering both associate and bachelor’s degree programs. The college plays an important role nationally in the education of future scientists, engineers, technologists, and mathematicians. The National Science Foundation recently ranked the college third nationally in the number of associate-level science and engineering degrees awarded to African American students, 23rd in degrees awarded to male students, and 48th in degrees awarded to women. As a designated minority serving institution, the student body self reports as 32% African American, 34% Hispanic, 20% Asian, 11% European American and 3.4% Native Americans and others. Additionally, 61% reported household income less than $30,000 with 80% of incoming freshmen receiving need-based financial aid.

Vital project elements that could not have been accomplished without STEP funding: 1. Design and implementation of two credit-bearing courses, one in the sciences and mathematics, the other in engineering technologies, offered in a pre-freshman summer experience, to provide academic preparation through a combination of theory and hands-on experience.

  1. Promotion of student involvement on campus and academic focus through undergraduate research opportunities - the number of undergraduates conducting research each semester increased from less than 20 projects at the start of the grant in 2007 to over 200 five years later.

  2. Support of Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) in a mathematics course in 2007 has expanded to 12 other foundational STEM classes five years later, and STEM departments continue to adopt the model. Courses with a PLTL workshop session have resulted in at least a 15% higher pass rate and 10% lower withdrawal rate than sections without it.

  3. Funding for the college’s graduates in graduate school to serve as tutors, role models, and mentors.

Measurable, documentable changes: The primary goal of our STEP grant was to increase the number of graduates in selected STEM disciplines. During the funding period the enrollment in these disciplines increased from 2563 (2007-2008) to 3493 (2011-2012), an increase of 36%. All STEM graduates increased during the same period from 412(2007-2008) to 525(2011-2012), an increase of 27%.

Future NSF funding priorities needed to maintain STEP momentum: A focus on data analysis to drive institutional change and spur innovation.

**The above summary is part of a larger "STEPping into the Future White Paper" effort being led by current and previous STEP PIs. With the discontinuation of STEP and the implementation of IUSE, the "STEPping into the Future” effort reflects upon what we have learned from implementing STEP projects, and compiles collective knowledge to guide future decisions. All STEP PI’s are invited to submit short summaries of why the STEP program was/is valuable to their institutions. The working group will organize the summaries into a white paper, which form a basis for a publication in the Chronicle for Higher Education, and will be adapted and targeted toward decision-makers in NSF, Congress, and elsewhere.

We invite you to join by submitting a one-page summary to STEPCentral. To post a summary, log into STEPCentral and navigate to the STEPping into the future working group (, then click the ADD RESOURCE or DISCUSSION button. Guidelines for submitting a summary can be found here: