Well-articulated policies and coordinated plans can help two-year colleges play an important role in increasing the proportion of underrepresented students who successfully complete behavioral and biomedical science research focused degrees and go on to successful research careers in their chosen fields. The program described in this proposal will leverage existing partnerships, strategies and resources between the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and four City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) to improve the transfer pipeline and baccalaureate degree completion of underrepresented students in behavioral and biomedical research focused science careers represented in our College of Nursing, School of Public Health and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, Physics). The proposed program will also enhance collaborations and professional development opportunities between UIC and CCC faculty that will lead to a more robust educational experience for the participating students. UIC is a public research-intensive university with a diverse undergraduate student body. CCC is a seven- institution community college system serving the city of Chicago. This proposal will build upon the structure of the Guaranteed Admission Transfer (GAT) program - a partnership which offers CCC students the opportunity for guaranteed undergraduate admission to UIC after they complete their first two years at one of the CCC institutions - by providing a variety of support and research focused educational activities to enhance the successful transfer of underrepresented students into one of the three identified behavioral and biomedical science research career paths. By providing enhanced recruitment efforts, placement, training, and mentorship, we can expose students to a "culture of research science" and provide academic support, research experiences, and the creation of cohorts/learning communities to move the transfer students through their undergraduate programs. Furthermore, we propose to track these students through their entire UIC career, and measure the impact of this program on the transfer process, retention, persistence, graduation in the behavioral and biomedical science research-focused majors, and continued success along the trajectory toward research careers. This program will augment our current NIH-sponsored Bridges to the Doctorate for Minority Nursing Students program in the College of Nursing.
This program will recruit underrepresented students from the City Colleges of Chicago and enhance their basic research skills, such as quantitative and qualitative analysis, critical thinking, and innovation. These skills, and the capacity for leadersip and collaboration, will be gained by working alongside faculty members in their scholarship programs. The program goals are twofold: 1) produce behavioral and biomedical scientists in nursing, public health, psychology, chemistry, biology, and physics, who will provide healthcare leadership within the community, and 2) mentor faculty in the community colleges and enhance their expertise as educators in scientific fields.