Providing early research experiences and creating supportive campus environments are among the promising and intentional strategies outlined in a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine focused on the impact and role of minority-serving institutions (MSIs) in producing graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The academy’s report “Minority-Serving Institutions: America’s Underutilized Resource for Strengthening the STEM Workforce” reaffirms the relevance of MSIs and notes an urgent need to invest in the institutions to not only graduate and prepare MSI students for in-demand STEM careers, but also to sustain and enhance the nation’s economic prosperity, global competitiveness and national security, according to committee members sponsoring the report.
“This country can’t strengthen the STEM pipeline and bring more people into it without engaging the institutions where the students actually are,” said Dr. Kent McGuire, co-chair of the Committee on Closing the Equity Gap: Securing Our STEM Education and Workforce Readiness Infrastructure in the Nation’s Minority-Serving Institutions. “The conversation isn’t about, ‘Well, we can’t work with these schools because they don’t have this or they don’t have that.’ The conversation has to be, ‘We won’t actually be competitive internationally if we don’t help these schools do well what it is they do.’”
McGuire, who is also program director of education at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, added that, among other things, the report speaks to the variation among MSIs in how they serve students and also the challenges they face collectively and individually. America’s nearly 700 two- and four-year MSIs include historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs).
Read the full article here. It also mentions the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) at the University of Alaska Anchorage that embodies the strategies in the report by targeting students earlier in the pipeline – as early as sixth grade – and supporting and nurturing their intellectual growth and interest in STEM fields as they matriculate through their postsecondary education.