This collaborative research project brings together nine very high research (R1) universities with the goal of developing, implementing, self-studying, externally evaluating, and disseminating an AGEP Alliance Model about faculty career pathways that increases the number of historically underrepresented minority (URM) Mathematical, Physical Science, Environmental Science, and Engineering (MPESE) faculty. The partnership involves the University of California Berkeley (Berkeley), the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Stanford University (Stanford), the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the University of Washington, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Michigan, Harvard University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The Alliance team is expanding and improving activities that have previously been piloted by a Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford and Caltech partnership; and the nine-institution team will study, operationalize, adapt and implement the activities across all collaborating universities. The project employs multiple participant-focused interventions to facilitate the advancement of URM doctoral candidates, postdoctoral scholars and early-career faculty in MPESE disciplines: A doctoral candidate and postdoctoral scholar research exchange across partnering institutions; an on-line portal to facilitate placement and hiring management of postdoctoral scholars; a faculty advancement initiative for postdoctoral scholars transitioning into early-career faculty positions; and a suite of academic community-building activities to enhance faculty career pathways, such as targeted professional development, cohort building and network development. The primary outcomes of this AGEP Alliance Model project are increased rates of doctoral candidates transitioning into postdoctoral scholar positions and postdoctoral scholars transitioning into early-career faculty employment, as well as the scaling of the research exchange and postdoctoral on-line portal beyond the nine partnering institutions.
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. This AGEP Alliance Model has the potential to improve the success of URM doctoral candidates and postdoctoral scholars transitioning into early-career MPESE faculty positions. Advancing the careers of URM faculty ultimately leads to improved academic mentorship for URM undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars, in STEM disciplines.
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.