STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

Diversity-related sessions at STEP 2011

Several sessions at the upcoming PI meeting will deal with diversity. First of all, both plenary speakers have devoted considerable portions of their careers to understanding the experiences of underrepresented students and to improving the success of those students in STEM disciplines.

In addition, several breakout sessions will touch on diversity-related topics. Of particular note are the following:

III -8 Strategies for Promoting Diversity (panel)

Panelists: Wendy Bohrson, Central Washington University; Kathryn Borman, University of South Florida; William Trent, University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne; Lon Kaufman, University of Illnois at Chicago

Summary: This session will consider the challenges, successes, and best practices in recruiting and retaining students who are underrepresented in STEM disciplines.

III -10 Challenges in Migrating from a STEP 1A to a STEP 1B Project (workshop)

Presenters: Lucy Casale, James Dorsey (PI), VerĂ³nica Guajardo & Erik Jones -- University of Washington (Washington MESA Program)

Summary: The UW MESA team will discuss the successes and challenges experienced during the transition from our STEP 1A project to the current STEP 1B project, the Washington MESA Community College Project (WA-MCCP).

The session will include a brief overview of how the STEP 1A and STEP 1B projects are different, general advice and recommendations for those seeking to transition among STEP projects, and ample time for questions and group discussion. Participants should come prepared to share their own challenges, successes, and concerns.

Many unforeseen challenges and opportunities arose during the first year of this project's migration to the current MCCP model, some that persist into the second year. For example, challenges include those related to data collection mechanisms, the proposal's stated intent to serve underrepresented students, campus leadership, and simple human errors. Finding creative solutions required extensive discussion involving many stakeholders. Open and frank discussion will be promoted to assist participants as they develop their own STEP 1B proposals.