The California Minority STEM Faculty AGEP Alliance Model was created in response to the NSF's Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program solicitation (NSF 16-552). The AGEP program seeks to advance knowledge about models to improve pathways to the professoriate and success of URM graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty in specific STEM disciplines and/or STEM education research fields. AGEP Alliances develop, replicate or reproduce, implement, and study, via integrated educational and social science research, AGEP Alliance Models to transform the dissertation phase of doctoral education, postdoctoral training and/or faculty advancement, and transitions within and across the pathway levels, of URMs in STEM and/or STEM Education research careers. This collaborative research project brings together four California State Universities (CSU), California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, CSU-Dominguez Hills, and CSU-Fresno, with the goal of developing, implementing, studying, evaluating, disseminating and scaling an AGEP Alliance Model. The project employs a culturally-informed, strengths-based faculty development approach for advancing newly hired historically underrepresented minority (URM) faculty in STEM and STEM Education research fields. The early-career faculty interventions include trainings about culturally-informed strengths and identity, senior faculty mentoring, peer coaching and networking, and grant proposal writing trainings. The primary outcomes of this AGEP Alliance Model project are improved faculty retention, promotion and tenure for the URM early-career faculty in STEM at CSU campuses.
As the nation addresses a STEM achievement gap between URM and non-URM undergraduate and graduate students, our universities and colleges struggle to recruit, retain and promote URM STEM faculty who serve as role models and academic leaders for URM students to learn from, work with and emulate. Recent NSF reports indicate that URM STEM associate and full professors occupy only 8% of these senior faculty positions at all 4-year colleges and universities, and only about 6% of these positions at the nation's most research-intensive institutions. The California Minority STEM Faculty AGEP Alliance has the potential to advance a model to improve the success of URM early-career STEM, and STEM Education, faculty. Advancing the careers of these minority faculty ultimately leads to improved academic mentorship for URM undergraduate students in STEM and STEM Education research fields.
The integrated social science research being conducted by this Alliance examines how URM STEM faculty integrate their academic discipline, social and cultural identities, and their strengths, into their faculty identities. The research also addresses questions about how STEM faculty professional networks relate to sense of belonging, job satisfaction, academic self-efficacy, teaching evaluations, success and engagement; and it explores questions about what structural variables of the professional networks relate to faculty success and engagement within the networks. The project uses social network analysis methods in a mixed methods study design.
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.