At NAU, our goals are to increase the academic performance, retention, and graduation rates of underrepresented minority students, especially Native Americans, who are or who could become interested in careers in biomedical sciences. As a result of this program, we hope to increase rates of acceptance into and completion of post- graduate degree programs in biomedical sciences at NAU as well as at other institutions across the nation. To achieve these goals, we have implemented a Minority Student Development Program (MSD). The MSD Program includes research participation, academic enrichment, academic support and faculty development activities.
The specific aims of the MSD program are: 1) to provide opportunities for minority students to become involved in biomedical research projects with selected NAU faculty. Students will be encouraged to give presentations on their research at national meetings and to publish the results of their research in peer-reviewed journals. Changes from the previous funding cycle include an increase in participating faculty from 16 to 30 and development of two new courses, """"""""Introduction to Biomedical Research"""""""" and """"""""Research Rotations"""""""" that will provide MSD students with more information about careers in biomedical research. 2) to implement academic enrichment programs for minority students that will strengthen their academic performance in gatekeeper courses in science and mathematics. Continuing activities include Supplemental Instruction (SI), faculty-led recitations and a readiness test. We also propose the development of a new course, """"""""Skills for Science"""""""" which will target students whose readiness scores indicate that they may not succeed in gatekeeper courses. 3) to maintain an academic support system for minority students. This support system will include a central meeting place where students can meet with academic advisors and Supplemental Instruction leaders. Through this support system, academic advisors will provide academic advisement and personal counseling for MSD students, and provide them with information about research participation and academic enrichment opportunities that are available through the MSD program. 4) to provide professional development for faculty who teach gatekeeper courses in biomedical sciences. Faculty will reform their courses by using new models of teaching that facilitate increased learning by underrepresented students, especially Native Americans. Ultimately, the faculty are catalysts for the persistence of the MSD program at NAU.
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