Johnson C. Smith University is a private historically-black college located in Charlotte, North Carolina. The university enrolls 1500 full-time students, of which approximately 300 are declared science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors. Within the newly established STEM College, the university awards Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology, Chemistry, General Science, Mathematics, Mathematics Education, Computer Science/Information Systems, Computer Engineering, and Information Systems Engineering. Johnson C. Smith University proposes to build on the successes of the previous HBCU-UP project. This project entitled "Academic Enhancement of the STEM College at Johnson C. Smith University" adds the promise of sustainable impacts from new and exciting activities arising from "lessons learned" during the initial implementation project. These activities include establishing a Faculty/Student Undergraduate Research Community designed to revise, enrich and create transformative STEM courses and programs; establishing and developing faculty/student collaborations and partnerships with STEM related industries, research centers, laboratories and other higher education institutions; providing STEM faculty "Market-Driven Re-Tooling" opportunities in pedagogy and discipline specific development; and enhancing STEM student retention, graduation and critical transitioning to graduate studies and/or the STEM workplace.
The Academic Enhancement of the STEM College was the second implementation program of HBCU-UP at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), which is a Historically Black College and University located in the heart of Charlotte, NC. The HBCU-UP program has supported approximately 300 declared STEM majors by providing year-round research opportunities, tutoring, internships, scholarship application assistance, "shadowing" opportunities, and exposure to graduate and professional studies. A CRUISE (Collaborative Research for Undergraduates in Science and Engineering) summer project was institutionalized with several other universities and institutions for STEM students. This implementation program has been successful with significant increases in the enrollment of STEM majors as well as measurable increases in retention and graduation rates among STEM students and the number of STEM graduates pursuing advanced studies. In addition to STEM students, this program also supported approximately thirty-three STEM faculty by providing faculty and student research collaborations, and faculty re-tooling experiences. The HBCU-UP program has enhanced the universityâ€™s efforts related to transformative undergraduate research, and continued to position both faculty and students to pursue cutting edge experiences designed to enhance the offering of the STEM College through course and curriculum development. As a result, undergraduate research has been infused into STEM curriculum at all levels. This program demonstrated the success of the evidence-based practice and its conceptual framework which was based on the ECC Trilogy "Engagement, Capacity, and Continuity" (Jolly, Campbell Perlman, 2004). Engagement (awareness, interest, and motivation), capacity (acquired knowledge and skills), and continuity (institutional and programmatic opportunities, resources, and guidance) are three important elements to consider for designing and implementing student support and learning activities to ensure the success of STEM students. The HBCU-UP program at JCSU had full participation of women and underrepresented minorities of STEM students. The evidence-based practice generated from this program serves as a model for other institutions to replicate to enhance STEM student success.