Academiesâ€™ Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: Americaâ€™s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads.
The recommendations of these reports emphasize the need for greater access for all students to academic excellence in STEM and the necessity of improving talent assessment systems in order to identify currently overlooked abilities. Transfer admissions in general and in STEM in particular are particularly hampered by poor signaling of student talents and accomplishments because the quality of the community college curriculum is viewed with suspicion by university and liberal arts faculty. To address this problem, the National Science Boardâ€™s recommendation to foster a supportive ecosystem is paramount. Creating a supportive ecosystem for transfer students requires the formulation of new incentives and rewards for college faculty in all sectors as well as professional development in teaching, curriculum development, and collaboration. Such professional development activities will be well received if they are accorded prestige and allocated time and resources for the production of new knowledge through research, design experiments, and inquiry, which is the systematic use of data, reflection, and experimentation to improve professional practices.
Taking into account the prestige associated with success in STEM fields and the generally separate nature of faculty networks in different sectors and disciplines, this report endorses the following recommendations:
(i) Create Evidence-Based Innovation Consortia (EBICs), involving STEM faculty, deans, and department heads in geographic and market-based groupings of two-year and four-year colleges and universities to review, invent, experiment with, and evaluate innovative curricula, pedagogies, and assessments of student talents and learning.
(ii) Devote institutional, private, and federal funds to STEM-specific work-study awards and transfer scholarships for transfer students and charge EBICs with the recruitment and selection process.
(iii) Develop a pool of eligible cohorts of students at community colleges through jointly administered two-year and four-year college learning communities and bridge programs, recruiting and retaining a diverse group of students using holistic admissions and assessment criteria developed through the EBICs.
(iv) Accord prestige to EBIC membership and the recipients of the transfer work-study awards and scholarships through highprofile communications and selection procedures.