Equal access to scientific inquiry and STEM careers is an important goal for the National Science Foundation and for the nation as a whole. However, minority students are not participating in the scientific enterprise in proportion to their representation within the general population. One barrier is the lack of connections between scientists at minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and at primarily white institutions (PWIs). This disconnect leads to a self-perpetuating cycle of primarily PWI graduates entering the highest ranks of academia and industry, relying on networks of trust that favor elite institutions in areas such as research collaborations. One possible solution is to build new faculty-based networks that thrive on mutual trust and exchange between MSIs and PWIs. This workshop will convene a group of faculty from MSIs and PWIs to begin a conversation about how to develop such a network.
The two-day workshop, to be held June 25-26, 2018 at the University of California, Irvine, will engage approximately 40 faculty members (20 from MSIs and 20 from PWIs) in a series of exercises to facilitate the development of partnerships across institutional types, and to begin the planning stages for writing proposals to support the partnerships. Faculty will meet each other, engage in discussion about model partnerships, and formulate ideas that could be used for grant proposals to be submitted to private foundations and national funding agencies. Workshop assessment will be conducted using surveys to measure how social networks have changed because of the meeting, and to follow up with partnerships established at the meeting to determine if they led to the submission or awarding of grants. Workshop discussions will be aggregated to develop a policy paper on best practices in developing MSI-PWI networks, which will be circulated publicly via posting on the University of California, Irvine website for the Division of Teaching and Learning, and by public presentation at relevant conferences and regional meetings.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.