STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects


The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program - University Partnership (NU STEP-UP) is a partnership between Northeastern University, two NSF-supported research centers and three Boston-area community colleges (Massachusetts Bay Community College, Middlesex Community College, and Northern Essex Community College) to increase the number of students receiving degrees in STEM disciplines. NU STEP-UP is focused on developing a sustainable STEM model that provides a seamless transition between two- and four-year institutions. Using research as the catalyst for engagement, NU STEP-UP is: (1) creating a sustainable STEM partnership between the university's STEM departments and local community colleges, (2) creating a Partner Faculty Network, with representatives from all stakeholders, (3) providing community college faculty the opportunity to immerse themselves in a research environment, (4) providing community college students access to extensive research experiences, (5) developing a transfer bridge program for community college students transitioning to Northeastern University; and (6) providing academic mentoring and research activities for all STEM students throughout the partnership. Participants in the Partner Faculty Network are involved in working seminars helping them implement the latest pedagogical approaches in their own classrooms. They are sharing innovative STEM instructional models and practice and collaborating to bring STEM courses at community colleges in alignment with comparable courses at four-year institutions. A multi-faceted approach to program evaluation aims to assess progress toward achieving established benchmarks, as well as to understand the contribution of various program elements. The evaluation plan includes: (1) tracking student transfer rates, retention rates and student performance, (2) surveys of stakeholders, including students, faculty and alumni, (3) focus groups with transfer students and with faculty, and (4) cohort analysis of transfer students. Results and outcomes are being disseminated through publications, a project web site, and presentations at regional and national conferences.

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  • Status


  • Institution Type

    Doctoral Universities - Higher research activity

  • Disciplinary Focus

    All STEM

  • Full Name


  • Award Number


  • Official Award Organization

    Northeastern University

  • No Events

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