STEM faculty receive $10 million grant to advocate inclusivity and opportunity for undergraduates

Cell Biology lab in Peckham Hall Image By: Alex Shukoff, Nazareth College and Alex Shukoff and Nazareth College

The National Science Foundation revealed a $10 million award to boost involvement in STEM programs at UW-Madison. This will also prove as an opportunity to provide underrepresented students with the chance to thrive in the program.

NSF INCLUDES will be co-led by UW-Madison’s Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The funds will be given over a five-year period to build on the initiatives introduced in 2016.

UW-Madison will partner with a plethora of other universities and two-year colleges to diversify the STEM faculty and educate them on inclusive teaching methods.

The alliance is focusing on promoting recruitment and hiring of marginalized STEM educators in their practices and resources. This will also create conversation around diversity and valuing inclusivity within the faculty.

Past research disclosed that undergraduates tend to leave STEM programs due to an “uneven quality of teaching, mentoring and advising.” This, combined with non-inclusive classrooms and inefficient teaching, often prevents individuals from succeeding while studying in the programs.

“After laying the groundwork through pilot projects, NSF INCLUDES is taking a significant step toward creating a true national network with these new awards,” said NSF director France Córdova to the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

The underlying goal of the initiative is to introduce a nationwide systemic change to how STEM faculty are hired and retained to offer the best programs to their students. In order to analyze this, the alliance will self-assess their work throughout the course of the academic year.

They are also exploring methods of expanding STEM partnerships with professional agencies to offer students the hope of security following graduation.

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