Santa Fe College (SF) and the University of Florida (UF) seek to develop the SF2UF program, a partnership designed to increase the number of underrepresented students who transfer from SF to UF and graduate with baccalaureate degrees in biomedical and behavioral science- related disciplines. For the purposes of the SF2UF project, UR students are those who are racial or ethnic minorities under-represented in the sciences, persons with disabilities, or persons with low-income. The two guiding themes of the SF2UF program are that the first two years of college are the most critical for recruitment and retention of students in the sciences, and that early participation in mentored research increases retention and academic performance, especially among UR students. More undergraduate students transfer to UF from SF than from all other community colleges combined, within the biomedical and behavioral science-related disciplines, UR students at SF are half as likely as non-UR students to transfer to UF. The SF2UF program will target this disparity with nine main components: 1) establish guaranteed UF transfer admission policies for student participants; 2) establish mechanisms for communicating changes in transfer requirements and expectations between academic advisors at SF and UF; 3) establish common learning outcomes between SF and UF and effective instructional techniques in the foundational science courses; 4) modernize the teaching resources available in science and behavior courses at SF; 5) create a Chemistry and Biology Studio at SF that will provide tutoring to all interested SF students; 6) develop and offer an Entering Research course at SF that will introduce students to the profession of science and engage them with enthusiastic UF research scientists; 7) develop and offer the X-Lab Institute, a summer program to provide the SF2UF participants training in key biomedical and behavioral science research skills, basic statistics and RCR; 8) recruit UF faculty preceptors, graduate students and post-docs to complete a mentoring workshop designed to increase their effectiveness in mentoring UR students; 9) place 48 SF students with NIH-funded faculty preceptors at UF for three years of continuous research experience and effective mentorship. 1
Diverse perspectives in biomedical and behavioral research lead to greater innovation and greater recognition of issues that continue to threaten the health, well-being, and inclusion of underrepresented communities. Therefore increasing the diversity of biomedical and behavioral research scientists increases our potential to address the most urgent public health challenges, and is critical to the full realization of our national research goals. Two-year colleges are the first access point for a large number of minority students, but faculty at these institutions rarely have the resources or infrastructure to pursue research activity. The proposed SF2UF program would enhance the academic preparation and research skills training of underrepresented minority students at Santa Fe College, place them in mentored research environments with dynamic, experienced faculty preceptors at the University of Florida, support the students through to their graduation with a B.S. degree in a biomedical or behavioral science-related discipline, and promote their continuation to a successful career as a research scientist.