We seek continuation of our IMSD program that focuses on preparing talented undergraduate scholars from underrepresented groups (URs) for later success in graduate school. The successful growth of our program is best illustrated by the fact that over the previous 3 funding cycles, there has been a progressive increase in the percentage of IMSD scholars entering PhD programs, now approaching 60% of all participants in IMSD III. Although the majority of IMSD scholars are recruited from a rich pool of KU UR students, the impact of this program is broadened by our partnership with a neighboring tribal college that allows a unique opportunity to recruit American Indians. IMSD IV proposes four levels of impact. Level I: The core of our program, preparing highly trained IMSD scholars from underrepresented groups for successful completion of PhD programs; Level II: enhancing underrepresented-student success and retention in the sciences at KU through supplemental instruction; Level III: building overall diversity at KU; and Level IV: disseminating successful approaches beyond the borders of KU. The training of IMSD scholars follows a thoughtfully organized stepwise plan that centers on the undergraduate research experience. The mentoring of our scholars will be provided by the faculty research mentor, program directors, the IMSD program coordinator, teaching postdoctoral fellows and IMSD peers (senior scholars). Innovative approaches in training include the formulation and use of an online Individual Development Plan (IDP) that extends beyond the traditional academic degree plan and requires scholars to carefully consider the requirements and training needed for later success in graduate school. We are developing a new performance-based rubric to assess the scholars' research skill development. We also incorporate in our mentoring a web video based mentoring system (Science Career Pathway) developed by KU IMSD that provides mentoring from peers and successful scientists in a format relevant to college students. All scholars complete seminars in topics ranging from responsible conduct of research to preparing highly competitive applications to graduate school and appropriate T-32 programs. Full institutionalization of the supplemental instruction, developed in IMSD II and III to promote student success in the sciences, will occur in IMSD IV. IMSD staff will develop new materials to increase the number of students who have benefitted from these enhancements to math and science curriculum. Publication of results from the successes of our program and uses of our Science Career Path mentoring system constitute the dissemination plan. Evaluation of measurable objectives for all four levels of the program will be carried out by an external evaluator with the assistance from the internal evaluation team. Evaluation and tracking procedures allow for periodic adjustment of activities during the course of the program and assessment of whether goals have been met. Continuation of the KU IMSD will maintain the momentum and proven success in recruiting and preparing a diverse group of undergraduate IMSD scholars for subsequent completion of the PhD and entry into the scientific community.
The proposed project will increase the diversity of the scientific community by preparing students from underrepresented groups with a focus on American Indians for graduate study and careers in biomedical research. The project will increase the size of the scientific workforce and increase interest in research regarding diseases with a high incidence in minority populations, improving both health care and disease prevention in this country.
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