Discipline: Science and Mathematics Education
Subcategory: STEM Science and Mathematics Education
Hendricus G. 'Rik' van Antwerpen - Virginia Union University
Co-Author(s): Phillip W. Archer, School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Virginia Union University Zakir Hossain, Division of Academic Affairs, Virginia Union University
This 5-year project is designed to increase the number of STEM graduates from Virginia Union University (VUU), a private, urban, historically black college in Richmond, Virginia. The main objectives of the project are to increase recruitment, retention, and graduation rates in all STEM disciplines at VUU by at least 50%, while maintaining the academic rigor that is required for student success after graduation. To meet these objectives three strategic initiatives are implemented: (1) The establishment of a STEM summer program that improves the preparedness of rising freshmen for their first semester in college. Summer activities are anticipated to improve student performance in gate-keeping courses, and to generate additional positive effects throughout the students’ four-year matriculation; (2) The implementation of high-impact educational practices across the STEM curricula. Specific faculty development activities will allow instructors to initiate on-campus research projects, to stay current on best practices in STEM education, and to implement new approaches for teaching discipline-specific skills and content; and (3) The establishment of a STEM Career Coaching Team. The best indicator for academic and professional success may be a student’s passion for the discipline combined with a well-defined career goal. A critical part of this project concentrates on the personalized guidance of STEM students by full-time, discipline-specific STEM Career Coaches.
Using an evidence-based approach, these three strategic initiatives will help to optimize conditions for minority student success in undergraduate STEM education, with special consideration for students who are underprepared for the academic and extracurricular demands of a successful college career. While the strategies implemented in this project are designed to improve STEM education at VUU, they are anticipated to be equally effective at other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and at non-HBCUs.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This work is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (HBCU-UP; HRD-1238719).
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,