We request continuing support for a University of Miami (UM) and Miami Dade College (MDC) partnership which has been funded since 1993 by four successive Bridges to the Baccalaureate awards. An overarching goal of our partnership is to increase the number of underrepresented, underserved minority students entering Ph.D. programs in biomedical research. We have pursued that goal by focusing on student development, curriculum supplementation, and MDC faculty capacity building. In this proposal, we refine our activities for actively recruiting needy high-school students from Miami-Dade County;for providing supplementary courses and workshops to increase bridge scholars'academic competitiveness;and for encouraging interest in research through a collaborative-learning, inquiry-based laboratory course, provision of hourly wages for summer research with mentors at UM, extramural research experiences, support for student attendance and presentations at national meetings, and outreach to parents to raise appreciation of research careers for their children. But with this proposal we take on a new, NIH-mandated, second overarching goal of institutional enhancement: to increase the number of all MDC science students receiving their associate degrees and transferring to a four-year institution. We will accomplish this by motivating MDC students through a Bridge Ambassador Program in which bridge scholars are peer models, through offering UM research faculty career seminars at MDC, and though increasing the academic competitiveness of MDC students in their gateway General Chemistry course by implementing Peer-Led Team Learning on the MDC campuses. We will enhance the MDC curriculum in biology and chemistry and the capacity of MDC faculty to infuse a quantitative approach into that curriculum by providing support for MDC faculty to attend workshops and meetings on innovative teaching, by convening a summer workshop for MDC and UM faculty to exchange and coordinate curricula, and by establishing an MDC/UM Faculty Partnership Program. In that program, MDC and UM faculty will teach together in one another's classrooms and laboratories. The proposed Bridge Program between the University of Miami and Miami Dade College will contribute towards NIH's goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minorities with Ph.D.s in the biomedical sciences. Students at community colleges generally are an untapped pool of talent that could make a real difference if provided with career paths to biomedical research.
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