Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

NSF awards $5M STEM collaborator project to three urban universities, including IUPUI

September 11, 2018

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI

INDIANAPOLIS -- A new urban STEM collaborator project funded by the National Science Foundation is aligning IUPUI and two other urban universities with a collective $5 million award, including $3 million for scholarships.

The School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI is receiving $1.7 million for the Urban S-STEM Collaboratory project. Engineering and mathematics departments from the University of Memphis and the University of Colorado Denver are sharing the rest of the funding, which comes from the NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics "Design and Development: Multi-Institutional Consortia" program.

Administrators and faculty from the schools will partner to provide academic, social, professional and peer networking; career preparation; and scholarship support to approximately 150 deserving engineering and mathematical sciences majors.

"This collaboration recognizes the strength of the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI and its ability to provide the marketplace with well-qualified graduates in high-demand STEM areas," said David Russomanno, dean of the School of Engineering and Technology and principal investigator of the project at IUPUI. "Urban universities' diverse student populations will benefit from this project."

The Collaboratory will generate new knowledge for STEM educators by investigating a variety of mechanisms for supporting a diverse set of students in an urban context in their development of a STEM identity -- the lack of which is a fundamental reason that students often select out of STEM majors and careers.

Among the project's goals are increasing recruitment, retention, student success and graduation rates of academically talented and financially disadvantaged undergraduate engineering and mathematical sciences majors and implementing ambitious but feasible strategies contributing to student academic success, development of STEM identity and workforce readiness.

In collaboration with the STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute at IUPUI, formative and summative evaluations will be performed, with special focus on determining the effectiveness and impact of the project's activities and strategies.

The project will also explore an extensive set of research questions examining factors influencing development of STEM identity and the resulting impact on student success, attitudes, workforce readiness and STEM self-efficacy, with particular attention to the impact on first-generation and underrepresented students.

Co-principal investigators from the School of Engineering and Technology include Karen Alfrey, associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs and programs, and Terri Talbert-Hatch, associate dean for recruitment, retention and student services. Other co-principal investigators from IUPUI include Jeff Watt, chair of the department of mathematical sciences, and Clayton Nicholas, industry research development specialist.