The Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program assists universities and colleges in their efforts to significantly increase the numbers of students matriculating into and successfully completing high quality degree programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines to diversify the STEM workforce. Particular emphasis is placed on transforming undergraduate STEM education through innovative, evidence-based recruitment and retention strategies, and relevant educational experiences in support of racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders. These strategies facilitate the production of well-prepared students highly-qualified and motivated to pursue graduate education or careers in STEM.
For the United States (U.S.) to remain globally competitive, it is vital that it taps into the talent of all its citizens and provides exceptional educational preparedness in STEM areas that underpin the knowledge-based economy. The Ohio LSAMP program was established in 2013 in response to the need for a more diverse and skilled technical workforce. That need still exists and is particularly acute in the State of Ohio. The goal of the Alliance is to double the number of underrepresented minority (URM) baccalaureate STEM degrees from partner institutions within five years. The ten public institutions that make up the Ohio LSAMP are diverse and include four community colleges and six four-year institutions, including one partner that is classified as a Historically Black College and University. The institutions are Central State University, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Cleveland State University, Columbus State Community College, Cuyahoga Community College, Miami University, Sinclair Community College, The Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, and Wright State University. The Alliance goals include: 1) continuing the innovative, evidence-based high-impact practices that have proven to be effective in recruitment and retention of URM STEM students; 2) strengthening pathways for smooth transitions from community colleges to four-year institutions; 3) initiating innovative interventions that fortify mathematical knowledge, reform mathematics curricula, and prevent mathematics from being a barrier to progression of URM students in STEM; 4) increasing access to high quality faculty-mentored research experiences for URM STEM students; 5) preparing URM students for and facilitate their seamless transition into STEM graduate programs; and 6) developing and implementing an alliance-wide communications plan, including an interactive website, for effective communication and dissemination of information. These goals support the National Science Foundation's strategic goal to "cultivate a world-class, broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce, and expand the scientific literacy of all citizens." In support of the goals, the alliance-wide activities consist of the Annual Research Conference and the activities of the alliance task forces for ancillary studies, communications, community college pathways, corporate engagement, and mathematics curriculum reform. The high-impact practices at each partner institution of the Alliance include advisement and transfer support services, bridge/early arrival programs, tutoring, peer mentoring, faculty mentoring and undergraduate research, and professional development. Of note, each of the four community colleges is in the same city as a four-year institution of the alliance, and a major emphasis of this alliance is to produce viable community college pathways to STEM degrees for URMs. The said activities will produce higher rates of retention and graduation; and moreover, lead to a more talented and diverse STEM workforce.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Ohio State will serve as the lead institution of the alliance, creating a partnership among alliance institutions and industry and community partners that will result in programming that is collaborative, effective, and sustainable and will impact students well beyond the duration of grant funding. The alliance will be housed in Ohio State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) where Dr. Fink, a Faculty Fellow in ODI, will serve as the Ohio LSAMP Alliance Director.
Alliance-wide activities will include innovative curricular reforms in mathematics, an interactive web site, shared online courses and workshops, diversity sensitivity training and a research conference. Each institution will provide advisement and counseling, residential summer bridge programs, paid undergraduate research opportunities, and mentoring, tutoring and supplemental instruction.
The Ohio alliance includes six four-year institutions: Central State University, the University of Cincinnati, Cleveland State University, Miami University, The Ohio State University, and Wright State University. Community college institutions include: Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Columbus State Community College, Cuyahoga Community College and Sinclair Community College. The alliance will also collaborate with community partners, an industry advisory board and other programs supported by the National Science Foundation.