Purchase College, State University of New York is partnering with Dutchess Community College, Rockland Community College and Sullivan County Community College to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups (primarily African Americans and Hispanics, with a few American Indians and Pacific Islanders) who successfully complete baccalaureate degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences. This new Partnership for Excellence Bridges Program builds upon the success of the current program that has achieved 96% transfer rate and 71% bachelor degree completion in biomedical and behavioral sciences. This new Partnership program has significant changes that focus attention and resources on the two-year partner schools to improve competitiveness of their science graduates. It will replicate at the two-year institutions an integrated system of developmental activities (skills assessment, academic advising, early warning system, freshman seminars, and tutoring) that has successfully enhanced student engagement at Purchase. (Each two- year partner has committed to begin partial funding of these activities in years 4 and 5 and to take over full funding at the end of the grant period.) The program will also provide skills-building activities that will increase the capacity of students to advance to increasingly rigorous content in the sciences (five- week residential Summer Research Program, Research Methods Workshop, and web-based training in responsible conduct of research). Two program components will enhance the level of continuity for students: faculty collaboration will create integrated syllabi for all introductory science courses at the four partner institutions and Joint Admissions. In order to ensure leadership support for the integrated system of developmental activities at each two-year institution, this Partnership will implement an innovative series of meetings with Presidents and Chief Academic Officers of all partner institutions to build an infrastructure of communication between academic leadership and faculty around issues of student outcomes and program challenges. This will ensure support for the program and sustainability beyond the grant period. The external evaluator will conduct both formative and summative evaluation activities that are designed to inform programmatic decisions about "what's working" and provide evidence about the impact of program initiatives on participants'skills and abilities. The Partnership will increase by 50% the overall transfer rate of Dutchess from 20.3% to 30.5%, Rockland from 11.5% to 17.3%, and Sullivan from 18.9% to 28.4%. It will ensure that 96% of the Bridges Scholars will transfer to baccalaureate degree programs in biomedical or behavioral sciences. It will ensure that 80% of those Bridges Scholars who transferred to a four-year institution successfully complete their baccalaureate degrees in biomedical or behavioral sciences.
The Partnership for Excellence Bridges Program will increase the number of students from underrepresented groups who successfully complete baccalaureate degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences. Developmental activities will enhance engagement of students in biomedical and behavioral sciences during their first year of study, provide skills building research, smooth out the transition from the two-year to the four-year institution, and ensure completion of baccalaureate degrees in biomedical fields.