Tuesday, January 5, 2010

HU Receives $1.4 Million to Increase Minority STEM Professionals

Dr. Anne Pierce, Dr. Carolyn Morgan and
Dr. Clair Berube of Hampton University

Hampton University was recently awarded two grants totaling more than $1.4 million from the National Science Foundation. The cross-discipline grants both seek to increase the production of minority professionals in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Dr. Carolyn Morgan, professor of mathematics, is principal investigator for both grants.

HU received a NSF Educational Research grant of $565,441 to support Financially Oriented Research Calculus Experience (FORCE), a collaborative effort between the School of Science and the School of Liberal Arts. The grant will investigate whether the integration of financial applications into calculus courses significantly increase achievement for STEM majors. FORCE will support the university's Quality Enhancement Plan targeted at enhancing student-learning outcomes in mathematics and financial literacy.

"Students often come to the classroom thinking that they want to be engineers, but have no idea what that entails mathematically," said Morgan. "It's going to be a very interesting project."

Morgan, along with co-principal investigator Dr. Anne Pierce, director of humanities at HU, will conduct mixed-methods research by integrating topics of finance into MAT 151 and MAT 130 Calculus I courses, taken by business and sciences majors. Using a base-line methodology, results of this research will have a broad impact on the enhancement of calculus reform, contributing to the body of evidence that increased academic achievement in calculus is a significant factor in retention of STEM majors.

HU also received a five-year NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program grant in the amount of $840,881. This grant is a collaborative effort between the School of Science and the College of Education and Continuing Studies. It aims to prepare STEM undergraduates and professionals to become K-12 science teachers in high-need, economically disadvantaged public school districts. The grant intends to ensure that more minority students will join the ranks of highly qualified STEM teachers.

As co-principal investigators, Morgan and Dr. Clair Berube of the HU Division of Professional Education will prepare 30 highly qualified undergraduates and career-switching professionals through scholarships, summer workshops, involvement in educational research and curriculum development, and attendance at local and national conferences. The grant will also provide integrated support services during the teachers' first through third years in the field. As an educational research component, HU will measure the effectiveness in attracting and retaining STEM undergraduates and professionals into the teaching profession.

"These grants are a collaborative effort highlighting Hampton University's emphasis on the importance of interdisciplinary grant initiatives," said Morgan.

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