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Broadening Participation Research Center: Center for the Advancement of STEM Leadership

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 collaborative project at the University of the Virgin Islands, Fielding Graduate University, North Carolina A&T State University and the Association of American Colleges and Universities seeks to formally establish the Center for the Advancement of STEM Leadership (CASL).

The United States continues to lag other nations in preparing sufficient numbers of its citizens to fill STEM workforce needs. For the US to remain globally competitive, it must continue to broaden participation in STEM education at all levels. Among higher education institutions, only 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, CASL seeks to determine how the leadership of HBCUs has contributed to this consistent sustained success and then to use that knowledge to prepare future leaders. Through disseminating its research findings and its leadership development model, ultimately CASL will allow all of higher education, and thus American society, to benefit from the experience and lessons of HBCUs in broadening participation.

CASL uses a groundbreaking scholarly approach based in the success of HBCUs in broadening participation while also taking advantage of established and culturally-responsive research and theoretical frameworks. CASL is thus able to generate, analyze, and interpret broadening participation research questions about academic leadership. Designed to be the nation's premier research center examining and determining the kind of academic leadership that broadens the participation of African Americans and other underrepresented groups in STEM, CASL will use its knowledge to contribute to the development of next-generation HBCU leaders who can themselves contribute to continued broadening participation efforts.

CASL's three objectives are: 1) to examine how intuitive, unwritten codes of excellence in leadership result in the broadening participation success of HBCUs and to integrate this knowledge into STEM higher education reform; 2) to provide a community of scholars with a world-class leadership development program that integrates personal and institutional histories into broadening participation research and practice; and 3) to assimilate the HBCU institutional narrative into the national undergraduate STEM reform knowledge base through mainstream outreach and knowledge transfer outlets. To accomplish these goals, CASL's initiatives include its empirical research agenda; strategic initiatives including occasional papers, study groups, and the STEM Central online platform; and its leadership development program involving both didactic and action learning components. 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 also funded by the NSF's Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, which targets increasing the number of historically underrepresented minority faculty in STEM disciplines.

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.

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  • Status


  • Institution Type

    Doctoral Universities - Moderate research activity

  • Full Name

    Broadening Participation Research Center: Center for the Advancement of STEM Leadership

  • Award Number


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