Rice University, the University of Houston, Texas Southern University, the University of Houston-Downtown, Texas State University, Houston Community College, and San Jacinto Junior College, propose an exciting new alliance, the Rice-Houston Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (Rice-Houston AGEP). Situated in one of the nation's largest, most culturally diverse cities, the proposed Rice-Houston AGEP unites many of the city's research and teaching universities and community colleges in the common mission of significantly increasing the number of underrepresented minority students earning Ph.D.s and positioning them to become leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The proposed Rice-Houston AGEP builds on and leverages the strengths of two highly successful programs - the Rice AGEP and the Houston Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (H-LSAMP) - to build a unified, multi-level, long-range alliance deeply committed to this cause.

In order to accomplish its mission, the Rice-Houston AGEP has established the following goals:

Increase minority undergraduate retention in STEM majors to the B.S.;

Promote and motivate more minority STEM undergraduates to pursue the Ph.D.;

Increase minority STEM graduate admissions; and

Increase minority STEM graduate retention to the Ph.D.

Program Strategies. The Rice-Houston AGEP will accomplish its goals by building a strong community of scholars across the Alliance institutions creating unique opportunities for all participating students including those from community colleges and other minority serving institutions, exposing them to the excitement of research and a career in the professoriate that they would never experience otherwise. Through the Rice-Houston AGEP community, students will develop personal and professional relationships with peers and professors and enjoy a supportive network where they are welcomed, encouraged, and supported to pursue Ph.D.s, while mentoring others as they attain their own goals.

Activities. Main activities within the Rice-Houston AGEP community include yearly: university faculty workshops, integrated undergraduate and graduate summer research and mentoring programs, student research/professional development conferences, extensive student/faculty conference attendance, and multi-institutional national and local graduate student recruitment.

Intellectual Merit. The Rice-Houston AGEP will test several new or adapted components of its program. It will examine the effects of intensive and sustained faculty workshops on faculty commitment to the promotion of STEM diversity; it will evaluate the effectiveness of a university-wide, faculty-led model of program direction; it will assess program effects on broader faculty and institutional culture, and it will assess the impact of multi-institutional community activities to encourage and promote STEM graduate education.

Broader Impact. The Rice-Houston AGEP has the potential to impact hundreds of underrepresented minority students - encouraging, preparing, and retaining them as they pursue STEM Ph.D.s. The Rice-Houston AGEP will provide a model for undergraduate and graduate education that effectively promotes careers in science and sustains students as they pursue careers as scientists.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Human Resource Development (HRD)
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Jessie A. Dearo
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Rice University
United States
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