Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: STEM Research
Eyualem Abebe - Elizabeth City State University
Co-Author(s): Rebecca Jordan, Rutgers University
The Department of Biology, Elizabeth City State University (an HBCU), has the second largest student enrollment of all university departments, with close to a total of 300 students. However, in the past ten years the program has been seriously challenged by a 40-50% student failure rate in the two introductory gateway Biology courses. Consequently, in 2012, we introduced a comprehensive student support program, with the goal of increasing the success of African-American students in the two introductory gateway Biology courses. Our program supports a total 25 students in three cohorts and applies the four lessons from model institutions of excellence that were reported to enhance the success of students from underrepresented groups: 1) A precollege initiative in the form of four and half week summer bridge program; 2) An academic year mentorship, counseling and student support using peer-, graduate student and faculty support; 3) Assistance in securing undergraduate research experience through close partnership with other ongoing federally funded projects; and 4) A targeted graduate school and science career preparation. The limited data based on two cohorts of students shows that the program (Application of Lessons from Model Institutions of Excellence – ALEMIE) enhances retention within the department and increases the success rate of involved students significantly. Here we report a statistically significant higher Biology course grade and overall GPA of ALEMIE participants over the control Biology Majors group.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): HBCU-UP, Target Infusion Grant, National Science Foundation
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,