The Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program at the New York City College of Technology (City Tech) represents an integrated, evidence-based set of student developmental activities conducted in partnership with Brooklyn College that promotes academic excellence and facilitates the timely progression of underrepresented (UR) students from the associate to the baccalaureate level of the educational pathway. City Tech is nationally held as a model institution of STEM education (1) and Brooklyn College ranks among the top public regional universities in the Northeast (2). The program leverages the strengths of both institutions to address a critical need in two-year to four-year degree transitions and is predicated upon the achievement of three important specific aims: 1. Increase the retention rate of UR first-time, full-time freshmen enrolled in the associate of science (AS) degree programs within the School of Arts & Sciences (SoAS) at City Tech. 2. Increase the on time graduation rate of UR students completing AS degrees, and 3. Increase the annual number of UR students who successfully transfer to baccalaureate programs in biomedical and behavioral sciences at Brooklyn College, i.e., bachelor's degree programs in Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology. To fulfill its specific aims, the research education program plan is comprised of project activities formulated on the framework of Engagement, Capacity & Continuity (ECC) trilogy developed by Jolly, Campbell and Pearlman (3) as a basis of academic success in the sciences and quantitative disciplines. ECC is integrated into the design of critical program components which are broadly classified into two interrelated categories: I. Initiatives for academic enrichment and student support. Activities include strengthening of a peer-led mentoring program in Mathematics and Chemistry at City Tech, establishment of pre-semester math preparatory workshops, implementing a customized academic advisement model in discipline-based curricular programming, career education in biomedical/behavioral fields, and transfer preparation, and creation of a supportive peer mentoring network between cohorts of students (Bridges Scholars), and Brooklyn College juniors/seniors. II. Integrated student development in research. Activities for Bridges Scholars include the establishment of a summer research academy, followed by a two-semester research development and enrichment program, and culminating in a nine-week summer bridge research experience at Brooklyn College prior to matriculation to the baccalaureate. In addition, a project-based digital platform to promote robust student-mentor interactions, and facilitate innovative means of documenting student activities, scholarly works and undergraduate research experiences will be developed. This platform will help synthesize the program components to build and sustain engagement in research. Collectively these strategies will foster higher rates of student success in enrollment, retention, transfer and completion of associate's and bachelor's degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences.
The Bridges program at City Tech will recognize the unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research workforce. The program's impact will foster an increase in the number and quality of underrepresented minorities entering those fields.