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Projects & Initiatives

Minority Male STEM Initiative


The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) developed the Minority Male in STEM Initiative (MMSI). The purpose of the MMSI is to increase the recruitment and matriculation of underrepresented minority (URM) males in the STEM disciplines at public universities. Historically the term minority has focused more on Blacks and Latinos; however in more recent years the terms has expanded to include not only Blacks and Latinos, but Native Americans and Southeast Asian Americans (e.g., Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian and Hmong) as well.

The purpose of this initiative is to gather and examine exemplary practices for recruiting and graduating postsecondary science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students from from historically underrepresented minority (URM) populations, specifically undergraduate minority males (African American, Latinos, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders/ Alaska Natives and Southeast Asians).

The MMSI consisted of four institutional partnerships between a four-year and a two-year institution. These partnerships included: Alabama A&M University and Lawson State Community College; California State University- Fresno Fresno State University and State Center Community College District; University of Illinois-Chicago and the City College of Chicago and;  University of Minnesota- Twin Cities and the Minneapolis Community & Technical College. Each partnership site is listed below.

Participants (Cohort 1)

Alabama A&M and Lawson State Community College

The Alabama A&M (AAMU) and Lawson State Community College (LSCC) partnership broadens minority male participation in the national STEM workforce by recruiting, retaining, mentoring, and successfully graduating URM male undergraduates from LSCC to AAMU. The partnership enhances academic support and improves retention of URM males participating in the LSCC 2-Pi STEM program by employing intrusive advising, providing peer-to-peer and peer-to-faculty engagement, and requiring students to participate in a STEM-related summer research experience, bi-weekly seminars, and supplemental instruction for STEM courses.

California State University, Fresno and State Center Community College District

The CSU, Fresno, Get Ahead: A Framework for underrepresented minority student success in engineering and construction management, is a joint effort between California State University, Fresno and the State Center Community College District and its four community college campuses. The project improves persistence and graduation rates among the URM males by providing services and programs aimed at increasing student success. The project supports students by building partnerships between the students and peer mentors, providing students opportunities to work individually with faculty on research and projects in a structured mentor-mentee environment, developing a professional speaker series that helps to connect students from the five campuses with successful engineering and construction management professionals who are also traditionally underrepresented in their professions, increasing opportunities for students to visit industry sites and meet with practicing engineers and construction managers, and developing  multi-lingual programs and services aimed at educating and informing parents and families whose students are traditionally underrepresented in engineering and construction management professions.

University of Illinois at Chicago and City Colleges of Chicago

The UIC and City Colleges of Chicago partnership uses the Guaranteed Admission Transfer (GAT) program—a partnership which offers CCC students the opportunity for guaranteed undergraduate admission to UIC after they complete their first two years at one of the CCC institutions—to employ support activities that enhance the successful transfer of underrepresented minority male students in select STEM disciplines. The partnership provides an orientation to the “culture of science,” along with financial assistance, academic support, research experiences and the creation of cohorts that move together through their undergraduate programs, and tracking these students beyond the funding period through their entire UIC career.

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Minneapolis Community and Technical College

The North Star STEM Alliance, the “Alliance,” is a partnership of 16 Minnesota colleges and universities and two community organizations working to increase the number of underrepresented minority (URM) male graduates with bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is the lead institution in the Alliance, an NSF-funded Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP). The partnership allows for the sharing of effective practices and leverages opportunities for URM male students. The Alliance fosters change toward greater diversity and inclusion, and the alignment of goals allows for the implementation of best practices in undergraduate research, cohorts and community building, faculty and peer mentoring and student academic supports.

MMSI Anticipated Results

  • Increased collaboration between community college and four-year institutions to improve the recruitment and matriculation (access and retention) of minority males in STEM disciplines.
  • The development of new support systems and/or the enhancement of existing support systems on two-and four-year college campuses to improve matriculation and retention of URM males in STEM disciplines.
  • Year to year increases in retention for minority males in STEM disciplines at four-year institutions.

MMSI Next Steps

  • A special STEM module was developed and implemented with the Higher Education Research Institute’s (HERI) Diverse Learning Environment (DLE) Survey. This module will focus on aspects found key in HERI research on STEM degree completion (Eagan, Hurtado & Chang, 2010), such as faculty mentorship, STEM identity, validation in the classroom, and if the student takes advantage of the best institutional practices that the project identified.
  • All  partnerships will submit their first year of data for year one of the project.   
  • The institutional status reports will contain identification of potential students, steps taken to ensure institutional buy-in, program objectives, community partnerships, commitment of institutional personnel and resources, outcome data, lessons learned and challenges to program implementation.
  • The results of this initiative will be shared with the broader community.  APLU currently has a Minority Male STEM Initiative website. A summary of the results for each of the ten projects will also be included on the website at the end of the project.  A link to the APLU website will be included on the AASCU website homepage.  APLU will prepare a media release regarding the project results.
  • On the local level, each grantee will be required to include a dissemination plan for sharing the results of their project.  This plan will be required in the grant application submission.  Each grantee will also be required to demonstrate the sustainability of the program as part of the grant application as well as the final report.
  • APLU will also be planning to convene a meeting in 2014 to bring together STEM professionals for a  one-day workshop on increasing minority male retention and graduation rates in STEM disciplines
  • Minority Male STEM Initiative Phase I

    The goal of the Minority Male STEM  Initiative (MMSI), Phase I was to design a means through which APLU could most effectively engage APLU member institutions in a comprehensive dialogue on the subject of minority males in STEM and provide leading public higher education institutions with the tools, information, and perspectives to assist them in identifying, retaining, and graduating minority males in STEM fields.

    Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, phase I of the MMSI identified effective practices to inform campus efforts to enhance the success of minority men in STEM and provided information to support an extensive APLU action plan for public university leaders and other constituencies to support the success of minority males in STEM fields.  At the conclusion of MMSI, Phase I, the report The Quest for Excellence: Supporting the Academic Success of Minority Males in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Disciplines was published.

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