“The festival is an annual event but this year, in particular, what we’re interested in is the mini-symposium on broadening participation in STEM,” Laura Heisler, Director of Programming for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation told Madison365. “It’s something that came up because we had research that showed women and people of color as underrepresented. So we wanted to broaden that study.”
To broaden participation in STEM programs and fields, the National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced the award of a five-year, $10 million NSF INCLUDES Alliance grant to be co-led by UW–Madison’s Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
“We are delighted to be among the first recipients of NSF’s INCLUDES Alliance awards,” states Robert Mathieu, an astronomy professor at UW–Madison who co-directs the new alliance. “Despite the importance of a more diverse faculty and the use of more inclusive practices by all faculty to advance learning and student success, improvement efforts have not been as successful as needed, particularly in STEM subjects. For example, underrepresented minority faculty are a mere 8 percent of associate and full professors in STEM fields at four-year institutions. Data show that when diverse faculty members teach underrepresented students, these students achieve at significantly higher rates, shrinking achievement gaps in those classes by 20 to 50 percent.”
The words “diversity” and “inclusivity” are guaranteed to be found on every website at UW-Madison. But how “diverse” and “inclusive” is UW-Madison exactly? Are mentors and faculty advocating for underrepresented students? How do students find support and connect with others with interests in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields?
A year after the Black Cultural Center opened to great fanfare, the two new “startup centers” will open this year to focus on two other ethnic identities: The Latinx Student Center and APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American) Student Center will start serving students in smaller spaces in the North Mezzanine area of the Red Gym, which houses the Multicultural Student Center, and work toward grand openings in the spring of 2019.
The Wisconsin HOPE Lab at UW-Madison, which made headlines with research showing many college students struggle to find enough to eat and a place to live, has closed with the expiration of its funding.
Other UW-Madison researchers are engaged in research focusing on marginalized students, however. And HOPE Lab founder Sara Goldrick-Rab is launching a new research center at Temple University in Philadelphia that is an evolution of the Wisconsin lab.
“CCWT wants to give a voice to marginalized students who often serve as research subjects, but do not actively participate in the college-to-work debate. For instance, a current study is looking at how, or how not, Latinx college students benefit from student services and resources at their schools,” said Janet Kelly, WCER director of communications.