SET-GO: Science, Engineering & Technology Gateway Ohio
This project features academic institutions partnering with local community based organizations to increase the number of students graduating with an associate's or bachelor's degree in the sciences or mathematics. At its heart are faculty at a four-year institution who are collaborating with colleagues at a local community college to facilitate student transitions from the two-year institution into a broad range of majors in the sciences and mathematics at the baccalaureate institution. Project activities include a non-residential summer bridge program and a summer research experience, complemented by monthly academic year meetings and faculty-to-student and student-to-student mentoring. The bridging program is designed to mitigate weak academic preparation and issues related to transitioning to the university setting from impoverished/rural communities. The authentic research work provides peak experiences that carry students through the challenges of meeting academic standards. A learning community with a strong thematic center ("Building a Better Environment") provides a point of convergence for diverse scientific interests and highlights the value of interdisciplinary research. The assessment process includes formative and summative evaluation strategies, with particular emphasis on measuring changes in student perceptions and attitudes. Dissemination processes include an array of presentations and publications in both public and academic arenas. The project's intellectual merit lies in its strong programmatic activities that provide unique new opportunities in teaching, research and scholarship that benefit students, faculty, and the participating institutions alike. Evaluation of the project centers on developing evidence of the efficacy of the approach as a model for regional application, where more partnerships of 2- and 4-year institutions are arising as a means to offset the economic barriers to higher education. The project's broader impacts are felt through its creation and enhancement of networks and partnerships for research and education, as well as the professional development of participating faculty. The project is also leading to a better-prepared, more flexible and demographically representative workforce, with consequent economic impact in the northwest Ohio region.