STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

Towson Opportunities in STEM (TOPS)

Towson University (TU) and Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) are in partnership with several Baltimore City high schools to increase the number of associate and bachelors degrees in five STEM departments, as well as two interdisciplinary programs, Environmental Science and Studies and Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and Bioinformatics. This partnership is also focusing on enhancing the diversity of the STEM student body. The project is called Towson Opportunities in STEM (TOPS) because it provides multiple, smooth paths from Baltimore area high schools through the baccalaureate degree in STEM disciplines at TU. Strategies based on identified best practices include: high school outreach, articulated 2+2 programs between BCCC and TU, joint BCCC/TU student advising and mentoring, active recruitment of non-STEM BCCC students into STEM programs, scholarships for students from underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines at TU and BCCC, as well as Summer Bridge Scholarships for BCCC/TU transfer students, a new TOPS Learning Center, and research experiences. The program is coordinated by the PI working closely with two TU co-PIs and two BCCC co-PIs, as well as a number of senior personnel. Faculty are developing 2+2 articulation agreements between TU and BCCC that consider both overall curriculum, as well as course redesign, to ensure coordination of both content and pedagogy. The intellectual merit of this project is the adaptation of several strategies that have been shown to be successful in the recruitment and retention of STEM students, in general, and underrepresented minorities, in particular. Beginning with strategies that have been successful in other environments, the project is studying which combinations and/or modifications are effective in an urban area such as the Greater Baltimore environment. The broader impact of TOPS is reflected in the goal of increasing the diversity of the STEM graduates. Underrepresented students are the predominant population at BCCC and in the Baltimore City Schools. The project is opening doors for these students through proactive recruitment efforts that help introduce them into the world of postsecondary STEM education and multi-faceted support programs designed to retain these students through their college years

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  • Status


  • Institution Type

    Master's Colleges and Universities - Larger programs

  • Disciplinary Focus

    All STEM

  • Full Name

    Towson Opportunities in STEM (TOPS)

  • Award Number


  • Official Award Organization

    Towson University

  • No Events

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