WASHINGTON – Academic leaders from seven regional universities gathered recently on the main campus of Howard University to discuss the status of minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The Annual Board of Governors (ABG) meeting, held Oct. 25, was convened to discuss the progress of the Washington Baltimore Hampton Roads-Louis Stokes–Alliance for Minority Participation. The program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is designed to increase the number underrepresented minorities receiving Bachelor of Science degrees.
Howard President Sidney Ribeau, Ph.D., in an address to the ABG, discussed the program’s successes and outlined challenges as participating institutions work to achieve NSF goals. Ribeau encouraged the group to continue to develop strategies to enhance the program. He also noted that seven of the 17 academic leaders in the alliance received doctoral degrees in science, mathematics, engineering or technology from Howard University.
Representatives from Bowie State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University and Virginia State University shared strategies. Their approaches included: raising enrollment graduate programs in STEM fields, increasing the retention and graduation rates of minorities at the baccalaureate level in the disciplines, institutionalizing best practices with greater emphasis on collaboration, and expanding international opportunities for the students.
The Washington Baltimore Hampton Roads-Louis Stokes–Alliance for Minority Participation was established in 1993 to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in STEM careers. It seeks to substantially boost the number of graduates earning Bachelor of Science degrees. The program also emphasizes working with community colleges and community college graduates. Since 2000, programs at the seven alliance institutions have produced 1,603 students with Master of Science degrees, and 460 students with Ph.D. degrees in science, technology, engineering and math fields, making it the nation’s top source of minority students with such degrees.