HBCU Alliance Responds to Under-Representation in STEM Disciplines and Careers

Last Updated on May 31, 2023

On November 20, 2012, HBCU presidents, provosts, faculty, and other key administrators gathered at Howard University to discuss the progress of the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Washington Baltimore Hampton Roads-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (WBHR-LSAMP) program. The WBHR-LSAMP program is a nationally recognized initiative designed to increase the diversity, quality, and quantity of students matriculating in STEM baccalaureate and graduate degree programs.

The leadership of the STEM community will be an important part of those who mold and define the shape and direction of the national and global community. This annual Board of Governors meeting is an opportunity for members of the alliance (Howard University [HU] – the lead university, Bowie State University [BSU], Hampton University [HaU], Morgan State University [MSU], Norfolk State University [NSU], University of the District of Columbia [UDC], and Virginia State University [VSU]) to refine program strategic goals and address student recruitment, retention, and graduation issues. The attendees also focus on maximizing research opportunities.

President Sidney Ribeau, Ph.D., of Howard University, noted the fact that STEM education is a cornerstone of his vision for Howard and stressed his commitment to the National Science Foundation LSAMP initiative. Howard’s Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Wayne Frederick, welcomed alliance members to Howard and discussed the importance of student participation in research activities on alliance campuses, in national laboratories, and through their international experiences. Senior Academic Advisor to the President of Howard and PI for the LSAMP initiative, Alvin Thornton, Ph.D., welcomed the alliance coalition partners and charged them to continue the outstanding work that has resulted in the success of the initiative.

To ensure that compliance requirements are met, Howard’s Research Administrative Services staff (Ms. Dana Hector – Executive Director/Lead, Research Operations Support, Mr. Thomas Joy – Academic Affairs Team Leader, Ms. Yasmin Smith – RAS Post Award Analyst for LSAMP Grant, and Ms. Kemorine Wallace – Contract Negotiations Specialist) led a discussion of funding guidelines and emphasized the importance of maintaining NSF funding goals and obligations.

Clarence M. Lee, Ph.D., executive director of the WBHR-LSAMP, encouraged alliance members to focus more on student retention and graduation rates. He noted that the student matriculation goals are to graduate annually at least 1600 bachelor level STEM students 2015, and increase the percentage of STEM students continuing to graduate school from 30% to 40% in the next five years. Career awareness, mentorship programs, and internships were highlighted as student development areas on which the alliance will focus.

Christine E. Barrow, Ph.D., dean of STEM at Prince George’s Community College, discussed the importance of strengthening articulation agreements between community colleges and four-year institutions. She emphasized the importance of this unifying mechanism as a means of bridging these institutions and ultimately fortifying the alliance. T. Joan Robinson, Ph.D., Chair HBCU-Brazil Alliance and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Morgan State University, stressed the importance of advantage of the HBCU-Brazilian Partnership entered into by President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. “Given the importance of STEM training to global competition, emphasis will be placed on the education of Brazilians, especially Afro-Brazilians, in STEM disciplines,” Dr. Robinson noted. The proposed platform will include short-term exchange programs for Brazilian and HBCU students.

Arlene P. Maclin, Ph.D. Adjunct Professor of Physics at Morgan State, highlighted some of the current programs within the alliance, such as the NSF PIRE Program involving Georgetown University and Howard University, Cancer Research Institute at University of the District of Columbia with Lombardi Clinic, Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, outreach partners Howard University and Morgan State University, and the International Research Program with Senegal headed by Hampton University. Aashir Nasim, Ph.D. Evaluator and Executive Director of Culturally-Responsive Evaluation Strategies & Technologies (CREST), LLC offered action steps to achieve the goals of program sustainability and effectiveness through the use of Concept Mapping, which uses data collection and analysis to provide insight.

The attendees at this coalition of WBHR-LSAMPs were charged with the continued challenge to commit themselves and their institutions to increase their enrollment and degree completion rates, bolster opportunities for undergraduate research and internships, increase the number of transfer students from two-year institutions to four-year institutions, and up the percentage of students who pursue graduate degrees in a STEM discipline.

One of the attendees, Elaine T. Eatman (HaU), Ph.D., announced her recent retirement. She was presented with a plaque in honor of her 19 years of outstanding and dedicated service to the alliance.

Participants shown in photo: [spoiler]Seated (left to right): Dr. Clarence M. Lee –  Executive Director, WBHR-LSAMP (HU); Dr. Weldon Jackson – Provost & VP of Academic Affairs (BSU); Dr. Wayne Frederick – Provost & Chief Academic Officer (HU); Dr. T. Joan Robinson – Provost & VP for Academic Affairs (MSU); Dr. Rachel Petty – Professor, Psychology & Human Development (UDC); Dr. Alvin Thornton – Senior Academic Advisor to the President, PI (HU). Second Row:  Dr. Jean Purchas-Tulloch – Resident Writer/Editor, Faculty, Dept. of  World Languages & Cultures (HU); Dr. Arlene Maclin – Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Consortium ,Center for Academic Excellence (MAC-CAE) & Adjunct Professor of Physics (MSU). Third Row: Dr. Anika Bissahoyo – Director, Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (BSU); Ms. Marquia Whitlock – Office Manager ,WBHR-LSAMP (HU); Ms. Remonica Rainey – Chief Accountant (HaU); Ms. JoVita Wells – Director, Office of Sponsored Programs (UDC); Dr. Uvetta Dozier – Project Coordinator (BSU); Ms. LaVonne Manning – LSAMP Director (UDC); Mr. Mamadou Barry – Grant Officer (UDC); Ms. Sarah Green – Grant Supervisor (NSU); Dr. Elaine Eatman – Project Coordinator, Retired (HaU). Fourth Row: Ms. Nerissa Simpkins – Senior Assistant (BSU); Dr. William Gordon – Alliance Coordinator, Dept. of Biology (HU); Dr. Ali Ansari – Project Coordinator (VSU); Dr. John Wheatland – Director, Freshman Program (MSU); Ms. Yasmin Smith – RAS Post Award Analyst for LSAMP Grant (HU); Dr. Aashir Nasim – Executive Director, CREST; Ms. Dana Hector – Executive Director/Lead, Research Operations Support (HU); Ms. Kemorine Wallace – Contract Negotiations Specialist (HU); Dr. Shawn Abernathy – Associate Professor, Chemistry (HU); Mr. Thomas Joy – Academic Affairs Team Leader (HU); Dr. Michelle Penn-Marshall – Chair, Department of Biological Sciences (HaU).

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at www.howard.edu.

Source: Howard University Office of University Communications, Photo Credit: Justin D. Knight

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