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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN 3 PROGRAM DESIGN (STRUCTURE) We propose that a National Scholars Program provide leadership, guidance, and support for the development of 20 to 30 National Scholars consortiums. The model we envisage will have as its core collaboration among one or more undergraduate institutions and one or more graduate institutions or departments. Also required is a precollege component. A consortium may elect to develop an intensive relationship with a precollege science program or a school system, initiate a new precollege activity, or develop linkages with several precollege programs to recruit talented high school students for undergraduate study. A consortium should also develop linkages with other organizations or entities from the public and private sectors such as scientific societies, minority professional associations, and business and industry. Several, although not necessarily all, of these elements should be incorporated in the activities of each consortium. Operational responsibility for a National Scholars Program should be assigned to a National Scholars Coordinating Council. The council, with the assistance of staff, will establish guidelines for the design of the consortia, evaluate proposals for consortium funding, oversee performance of the individual consortiums, develop linkages with national organizations, organize a national conference, establish a national database, secure supplemental funding, provide technical assistance, and facilitate student movement among consortiums. The council may be established as an independent entity or housed at an existing organization that has strong credibility within the scientific community. OVERVIEW OF THE PROGRAM Building on the array of programs which already exist to interest high school students in math and science, the National Scholars Program will provide support to students from their freshman year in college through completion of the Ph.D. The primary selection point will be in the student's senior year of high school, concurrent with his or her application to college. Students will be selected by the individual consortiums, based on a portfolio including a student statement on academic and career goals, letters of recommendation, a high school transcript, and SAT or ACT scores. When possible, an interview with each applicant should be conducted. The program will also admit a limited number of college sophomores and juniors, to accommodate "late bloomers" and
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN those who did not know about the program, and also to replace freshmen who leave. Undergraduates must maintain a 3.2 GPA in science and mathematics course work and satisfactory academic progress. Furthermore, students will be required to sign a yearly, renewable contract in which they declare their intent and commitment to pursue advanced (doctoral) study in science and engineering. A fuller discussion of selection criteria is contained in Chapter 6. Students must attend a graduate school that is a member of a National Scholars Consortium to retain their eligibility for scholarship and other forms of program support. They will be required to apply through the normal admissions process. Students who choose not to attend a member institution will no longer be National Scholars, but they will be tracked and kept involved in the informal organization. (See the section on Student Choice in this chapter.) Undergraduate students will be provided an annual merit scholarship of $6,000 for four years, to be applied to tuition, room and board, and fees. In addition, students with financial need will receive an additional need-based award to fill the gap between all financial resources and the cost of attendance. Graduate students will receive two years of support, one in the first or second year of their graduate career and one at the dissertation stage. Each year's award will be for $23,000, consisting of a stipend and an institutional allowance for tuition and fees. (See Chapter 5 for a fuller discussion of student financial support.) STRUCTURE: NATIONAL SCHOLARS CONSORTIA Why a Consortium Approach? Before describing the organizational structure of a National Scholars Program, it is useful to explain why we have chosen to recommend a consortium approach rather than an established training grant, fellowship, or other models. We see many advantages to a consortium approach. The most obvious is that it is amenable to the development of the vertical integration necessary to establish a program continuum from high school through doctoral study. High schools, colleges, universities, agencies, and organizations working together can support student development through all levels of the educational system. More generally, a consortium can marshal a wider range of resources and expertise to target the stated needs than a single institution or organization. Each partner can participate according to its individual capabilities. A local research laboratory might fund a single fellowship or internship, while a state university system might host summer research opportunities for many students. A consortium affords an opportunity for institutions or organizations that lack the capacity to mount an initiative alone to contribute in a collaborative effort. We cite, as a possible example, liberal arts colleges that are renowned for their teaching excellence but lack affiliations with minority communities. A consortium offers potential financial economies and administrative advantages. Expanding and strengthening established programs can reduce infrastructure costs and may be cost effective. The flexibility inherent in this collaborative approach permits wide latitude in the organization and scale of the
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN consortia. A program can expand by attracting additional financial support for its activities or by bringing in other institutions or partners. A program may add other disciplines or establish new linkages with organizations that have complementary goals. Existing consortia and organizations may—if they can clearly demonstrate a "value added" to their current program of activities—expand their missions to implement a National Scholars Program. Care must be taken, of course, to insure that any expansion of a consortium or any new institutions which join participate fully in the program and meet the same criteria for selection as were used to make the initial award. At the national level, the National Scholars Program can expand the number of consortium sites and develop associations with national organizations. Administratively, an institutional partnership provides continuity in personnel and activities. If the commitment of one partner wanes, others in the consortium can sustain the momentum and the historical record. A consortium approach does, however, require resources and energy for its organization. Because the establishment of linkages and cooperative arrangements absorbs scarce time and money, a greater effort is required to mobilize a collective set of activities than is needed for a single individual or academic department to embark upon a new endeavor. Furthermore, individual institutions and organizations would have less autonomy in implementing program activities than they might otherwise have absent consortium obligations. A requirement of the National Scholars Program is that scholars must attend a graduate school that is a member of a National Scholars consortium in order to retain their eligibility for scholarship and other forms of program support. Clearly, this provision limits choice, a significant consideration for students contemplating graduate school. On the other hand, the committee believes that this is an essential component of the program (see Chapter 7 for more discussion). Overview of the Consortium Model A National Scholars consortium will develop a continuum of support to foster student development from precollege through doctoral study. The backbone of the organization will be the substantive linkages among the participating academic programs. These will involve collaboration among one or more undergraduate institutions and one or more doctoral universities or departments. There must also be a relationship with a precollege program or school system from which scholars will be recruited. A consortium can also be strengthened with the involvement of professional societies, agencies, and the private sector. When we speak of a consortium, linkages, and program elements, we intend a concerted and serious effort to bring together key people and organizations who are committed to a common goal, not inordinate complexity. Potential partners should identify common ground from which collaboration can emerge to benefit both. An identified need, a proposed action, and a desired result should be the basis for determining the necessary (minimal) organizational structure. We discourage bureaucracy but do insist on tangible evidence of effective and genuine commitment from all partners. The National Scholars Program should not be prescriptive or issue long lists of regulations. Instead it should encourage commitment, creativity, and initiative. There should be flexible guidelines, suggested
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN strategies, and promising models, not mandatory, immutable regulations. Each consortium applicant should specify its goals and provide supporting evidence that it is likely to accomplish those goals. A variety of consortium options is possible. An aspiring consortium might propose a set of arrangements that builds on its unique capabilities or involves multiple partners and fields of study. The engineering college and several physical science departments in a research university might collaborate with a cluster of liberal arts colleges. Several universities might choose to establish a consortium that focuses on a single discipline, or an existing association of colleges or universities might elect to expand its organizational mission by implementing a National Scholars consortium. Faculty leadership and participation are essential. Because faculty interactions are the operational linkages of the consortia, faculty should be involved in developing program guidelines, establishing linkages with other consortium members, and selecting, advising, and teaching students. The program should have genuine and visible support from the academic leadership of the college or university, including the president. In the sections that follow, we describe how a consortium might be organized and highlight examples. THE CONSORTIUM PARTNERS Undergraduate Program The core of a National Scholars consortium is the undergraduate program. It will be the responsibility of the undergraduate institution to select highly motivated and talented students to be National Scholars and to provide the kinds of support that will produce exceptionally well-prepared and dedicated science graduates. The undergraduate program should be comprehensive in the sense that it seeks to assure that a high quality learning experience will be available to each National Scholar. This does not mean that the program alone should provide and prescribe all aspects of the students' educational and social environments, but it should assure that the essential factors that foster success are available to the scholars. Institutions ranging from liberal arts colleges to state universities to research-intensive universities are eligible to provide the undergraduate component of the program, although diversity among the consortial partners is likely to produce the strongest result. Program Elements The undergraduate component of a National Scholars Program should have the following educational elements: recruitment and selection procedures, prefreshman summer bridge programs, research participation, academic advising, mentoring, structured teaching, and enrichment activities. (See Chapter 4 for complete descriptions.) The National Scholars Program is not intended to build up the basic science education capability of a college or university, but a strong science program at the undergraduate institution will ensure that each scholar receives a thorough grounding in science and mathematics. Program Direction The consortium at the undergraduate institution should be directed by a senior faculty member who will be responsible for
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN communicating with colleagues, high school teachers, and graduate faculty. This individual should have strong credibility within the institution; an administrator without senior faculty status would not be appropriate. An advisory committee comprised of the chairs from the pertinent academic departments and other key faculty members would assist the director. The president and other key institutional leaders should state their explicit commitment to the program as well as provide funding and other resources as appropriate. Graduate Program Program Elements At the graduate level the notion of a self-contained program gives way to a wide range of activities focused on fostering the development of graduate students in the National Scholars Program into full doctoral scholars. Some are explicit activities that might be implemented by the consortium, such as a structured teaching experience, seminar series, or undergraduate mentoring. Others take the form of providing incentives and assurances that minority doctoral students are integrated into the mainstream of the academic department, so that they, too, will obtain and benefit from the full complement of departmental and institutional resources enjoyed by other successful students. The guiding principle should be to assure the kinds of support necessary to foster successful student development. Program Direction The academic departments are the loci of decision making and activities for the graduate component of the program. An individual faculty member should assume overall responsibility for the program, but effective implementation of the activities should be carried out by a faculty committee rather than by an administrative structure. Two key faculty members from each of the participating departments should agree to introduce students to the department and serve on an advisory council that will set policy and assure that students do not "fall through the cracks." Other functions that need to be carried out include communication with the national organization and undergraduate faculty, participation in the admissions process, explicit commitment to student financial support, oversight of teaching assignments, arranging a visiting scholars seminar series, data collection and evaluation, and "shepherding" of the individual scholars. This latter function parallels the undergraduate mentoring and support network. Some of these activities could be carried out by an administrative assistant; however, faculty participation must be substantive and substantial, not merely honorary. Administrative support for the program could also come from the graduate school. We have emphasized the importance of faculty leadership and involvement in the National Scholars Program. However, we recognize that the administrative burdens may be heavy, depending on the scope of the activities. Therefore, we describe but do not offer an opinion about the desirability of one option suggested below. VERTICAL LINKAGES A consortium may choose to have many or only a few partners, but it must establish two essential vertical linkages. The
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN first is a linkage between the precollege and undergraduate levels. The second is between undergraduate and graduate programs. Precollege-College Linkages The precollege component of a National Scholars consortium will not be a stand-alone activity. Rather it will be an association with the undergraduate institution(s) in the consortium. A consortium may connect with existing science and mathematics precollege programs in the immediate region, and, with their cooperation, the consortium could tap into a talent pool of secondary school students for the National Scholars Program. However, such linkages can and should be more than a vehicle for recruitment. The precollege link should be a serious outreach effort to broaden the base of minority youth interested in and well prepared for science study. Early identification of minority youth who demonstrate promise is key. High school students who show special talent and interest can be invited to participate in a summer research activity or in consortium activities on campus in the summer or during the school year, giving scholars the opportunity to serve as mentors and role models. Intensive academic advising can assure that students enroll in the appropriate college preparatory courses. These activities accomplish several purposes. By serving to strengthen student preparation, sustain student interest in science, and give first-hand knowledge of the benefits and expectations of the National Scholars Program, the consortium is also enhancing the effectiveness of precollege initiatives. Fostering linkages between and among the participating academic programs might be enhanced by designating a National Scholars Program coordinator at the graduate institution. The coordinator, who might be a member of the graduate administrative team, could perform the following functions: Work with the graduate departments to secure their commitment to the goals of the program, as well as to interact with the undergraduate institutions. Facilitate interactions among the faculty from participating departments throughout the consortia. The topics for these interactions may range from the mechanics of admissions to encouraging discussions about curriculum and creating research experiences for students. Help scholars take advantage of everything the consortium offers. Within the graduate institution, the coordinator can ensure that scholars are aware of centrally offered graduate student services, such as workshops for teaching skills, publishing in academic journals, and the academic job search. The National Scholars would look to their departments as the primary source of support and information, but the coordinator would augment departmental support and make scholars aware of institution-wide information. As an administrator in the graduate school, the coordinator could further improve the program's ability to connect scholars with other fellowship recipients as well as with the broader university minority community.
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN There are several highly regarded precollege science initiatives that seek to attract and prepare minority students for careers in science. They offer hands-on science experiences and exposure to scientists in order to excite students about science and provide academic support, counseling, and career awareness activities. The Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program teaches good study skills and provides academic counseling, hands-on activities, and rewards for academic achievement to interest and prepare students in pursuing math-based careers. The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) provides an enrichment program for American Indian high school students. NASA sponsors a number of programs such as the Space Science Student Involvement and Aerospace Education Services Program to capture student interest in science, mathematics, and technology and also to channel students into career paths in science. Few of these academic year-long programs for high school students offer a significant research component. This is not to say that these programs do not value research involvement, rather they lack the resources to offer research opportunities for all students. There are, however, a number of residential summer research programs for high school students that usually draw students from a broad regional or even national pool. Most are directed to talented students who are seriously considering pursuing science and mathematics study in college. For example, the NASA-sponsored SHARP Program selects 200 students—most of whom are minority youth who have shown an aptitude for and an interest in science and engineering careers—to spend six weeks in an intensive research apprenticeship program at a NASA field center. A National Scholars Program could be a major contributor to precollege initiatives by providing summer research experiences to students in these programs. It could also spur students to consider science or engineering careers by providing a successful introduction to research and, at the same time, teach them about the benefits of the National Scholars Program and what they need to do (and learn) in order to qualify for admission. The AISES summer programs are beginning to introduce science project research into the curriculum. Students research a particular subject area and write up and/or create a science fair poster which is then judged by professional scientists and engineers. Students are encouraged to enter the National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair or other state or regional fairs with their projects, which is one means of providing research exposure for high school students. The second facet of precollege linkages should be carried out at the national level. In order to develop a national flow of students into the program, the National Scholars Coordinating Council should establish connections with national precollege initiatives The National Association of Precollege Directors lists over 40 programs that are engaged in increasing the interest in and preparation for science study in college. Most of them target minority students. The NASA-sponsored SHARP program has already been discussed. Project SEED of the American Chemical Society provides summer research opportunities for high achieving high school juniors and seniors who are economically disadvantaged. A large proportion of these students are minority youth.
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN A National Scholars consortium could elect to play a major role in revitalizing science and mathematics education in local K-12 school systems. Below we highlight an example of the potential for curricular alignment that might be affected through the participation of a National Scholars Program. Undergraduate-Graduate Linkages A primary purpose of establishing linkages between the undergraduate and graduate levels is to enable undergraduate scholars to move smoothly into graduate study. These linkages could be forged by the creation of the National Scholars consortia and should be rooted in person-to-person relationships. Opportunities for undergraduates to interact with graduate students and faculty can foster a positive mind-set about doctoral study as well as draw students together. First-hand knowledge of a graduate department, whether gained through a research experience or through the advice of a graduate mentor, is strong encouragement for a college student. At the same time, graduate faculty can become acquainted with students by discussing their research in formal seminars or by meeting informally with undergraduate students and other faculty. Students and faculty from the entire consortium should assemble at various times for a visiting seminar series, and mentors and students should attend professional meetings together. As selected institutions commit to forming a consortium, faculty from the participating departments could meet and compare courses of study. Some participating undergraduate institutions may be unaware of the content mastery expected by the graduate departments, and faculty meetings could be arranged to create a forum for faculty to share Early exposure to a good curriculum is pivotal to laying a solid academic foundation in science and mathematics. The National Scholars Program can communicate the means available to the various educational levels so they might design and offer quality curricula that succeed in moving capable students through to graduate study. Through efforts such as the NSF-funded State and Urban Systemic Initiatives, significant reforms that emphasize science and mathematics content have occurred in selected school districts. Cornerstone issues like curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher development have been examined and improved. Districts are now beginning to witness improvements in student performance. Similar results have been achieved by districts working with the College Board's Equity 2000 Program (CITE). A National Scholars Program might seek to include graduates from these school systems in the program by encouraging undergraduate institutions in the consortia to link with these districts. School district curriculum directors and key undergraduate faculty could engage in ongoing discussions focused on student performance. These discussions would create a feedback loop among undergraduate institutions and school systems that would allow junior and senior high schools to receive pertinent information about their students ' performances. Such information would be an important gauge to the efficacy of the education offered at the district level. The potential for developing relationships among content faculty at the junior and senior high school levels and the undergraduate institutions is high. These relationships would further facilitate the interactions between and among the faculty and thus would enhance the possibility of designing an integrated curriculum.
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN information about their academic programs and to begin to take responsibility for communicating curricular expectations. Scientific Societies The involvement of scientific societies can enhance the academic credibility of the program and augment the scientific resources available to students. Linkages with professional societies should be established both at the national level and with individual consortia. In addition, societies offer many benefits, including honorary memberships to students, free registration at national meetings, publicity about the program in society newsletters and at national meetings, travel funds to national and/or regional meetings, and opportunities for scholars to make research presentations. Their members could also contribute by volunteering as mentors for students at all levels of the consortia. In November 1993, the American Association of Physics Teachers and three other physics associations sponsored a conference aimed at improving the retention and recruitment of minorities in physics. Suggestions ranged from improving high school preparation and counseling to asking department chairs to establish a mechanism to assure that minority students "have someone to talk to." The American Physical Society awards scholarships to underrepresented minorities who are undergraduate physics students. Each $2,000 scholarship is sponsored by a corporation and includes a $500 allowance to the college or university physics department. Minority Professional Societies Members of minority professional societies such as the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBChE) and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) are a source of professional role models for minority youth. Local chapter members can serve as mentors to students in the individual consortiums and volunteer to participate in the Visiting National Scholars Seminar Series. Student and faculty networking should be prominent in these activities. For over 20 years, SACNAS has sponsored activities to interest Latino and American Indian students to study science and mathematics. SACNAS organizes a national meeting attended by scientists, teachers, and over 1,000 graduate and undergraduate students. Advanced students are involved in scientific presentations, while others participate in poster sessions. The society has recently initiated an invitational workshop for promising Latino and American Indian undergraduates to assist them in applying to graduate study. Eight junior and senior college students from across the nation are invited to attend a three-day workshop hosted by SACNAS's Board of Directors. The workshops focus on critical review and revision of a student's "Personal Statement," accomplished primarily through one-on-one advising of students by individual board members. Each student's college transcript, as well as any written record of student-conducted research, is also critically reviewed by SACNAS scientists.
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN Business and industry have a long history of supporting initiatives to promote diversity in the scientific and engineering work force. Industry's involvement has been most prominent in undergraduate engineering activities, although it has expanded support to precollege and graduate study. For example, industry was involved in the formation of the Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program in 1970, and since that time industry leaders have been involved in its advisory activities. Industry now contributes substantial funding to MESA as well as in-kind support to its students, such as speakers, summer employment opportunities, field trips, training sessions for MESA teachers, and equipment. Another long-standing initiative is the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering (GEM) which—through an arrangement between university and employer members—identifies and encourages potential minority graduate students to apply to engineering graduate schools. Most of these students attend one of the 19 university members. Students receive financial support, a paid technical internship, and advice and counseling necessary to complete a graduate degree. Since 1977, GEM has supported more than 1,400 minority graduate students, 88 percent of whom have completed a master's degree. From that number, 70 have proceeded to complete a doctorate in engineering. Scholarship support and internships are the most frequent mode of industry investment, but scientists and engineers are now contributing more of their own time and energy to benefit students and classroom practice. More than 20 years ago, industry, in partnership with the National Academy of Engineering and funding from the Sloan Foundation, began a national drive to increase the number of minorities in engineering. Led by the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME) with support from over 200 corporate and foundation donors, their efforts continue today. In 1994 "nearly 2,000 minority students at 87 engineering schools nationwide received NACME scholarships." In addition, there has been a "significant increase in the number of minority students who can expect to receive enhanced support— $12,000 to $20,000 scholarships, academic enrichment, career development, mentoring, summer internships and leadership training—and who will have the opportunity to build productive relationships with their sponsoring companies." The persistence rate of NACME's current Corporate Scholars is 92 percent, and "[a]mong all graduates from the CSP, 84 percent had final grade point averages exceeding 3.0, and half of those exceeded 3.5." Half of NACME's graduates "are enrolled in top-tier M.S. or Ph.D. programs," and "[t]he other half are working at NACME companies" (NACME 1994, 6). Existing Consortia and Organizations A National Scholars Consortium will afford an opportunity to build on and pull together existing individual initiatives in order to enhance their overall effectiveness. This strategy may take advantage of the existence of institutional consortia which, because they already have established working relationships and an administrative infrastructure, could be adapted or expanded to implement a National Scholars consortium. Some organizations may already have in place
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN some of the essential elements of a consortium, while others may have cooperative arrangements that have not targeted minority students. The Committee on Interinstitutional Cooperation (CIC), the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE), the Leadership Alliance, and the Hudson-Mohawk group of colleges are examples of organizations that could develop faculty and student linkages as well as institutional commitment to form the framework of a National Scholars consortium. It would be a requirement for all such organizations to expand their missions in order to qualify as a full-fledged National Scholars consortium. NASA's Programs NASA funds a number of programs that might be coordinated under the auspices of a National Scholars Program. Clearly, the summer research apprenticeship programs for high school youth—SHARP and SHARP Plus—would contribute to a program continuum. The NASA scholars programs are institutionally based programs designed to increase the number of underrepresented minorities pursuing science and engineering careers. In addition, the NASA field centers are a unique resource that would enlarge the educational experiences of consortium students. Two other programs—Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) based at Spelman College and the Morehouse College Strategic Preparedness for Advancing Careers in Engineering (SPACE)—focus on giving high achieving minorities an opportunity to pursue undergraduate studies in science and engineering. A National Scholars consortium could promote interaction between these programs and provide a continuum to doctoral study for their graduates. The Leadership Alliance is a coalition of 23 doctoral institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities that offer graduate study. Member institutions take an active role in fostering an interest in careers in scientific research and teaching among underrepresented minorities. The Alliance seeks to increase the number of minority Ph.D.s, with specific emphasis on mathematics, science, and engineering. The Alliance has developed materials to assist graduate students in selecting Ph.D.-granting programs and in applying to graduate programs. It operates a Summer Research Early Identification Program at 11 universities to encourage highly motivated minority students to consider academic careers in higher education. Students work under the guidance of a faculty member to gain theoretical and practical training in research. Students may also participate in weekly seminars as well as in social and cultural activities. For their participation, students receive a stipend, travel, and room and board. In July 1995, the Alliance convened a symposium at the National Academy of Sciences. It was attended by students and faculty from institutions participating in the Summer Research Program. STRUCTURE: NATIONAL SCHOLARS COORDINATING COUNCIL NASA should provide leadership and oversight for a National Scholars Program, but the operational responsibility for the National Scholars Program should be assigned to a separate entity with strong credibility in the scientific community. This would signal the program's commitment to scientific excellence. The operational entity would be known as the National Scholars Coordinating Council and could be administered by an
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN existing organization or a new independent entity. NASA administers some education programs directly "in-house," but for others it contracts for the administration of the program. We recommend the establishment of a separate entity rather than direct administration of the program for two reasons. First, although NASA can provide leadership and support for the program, it is unlikely to have the funding capacity to operate the program at the scale necessary to achieve its stated goals. Second, a basic assumption of NASA—from the inception of the concept at its 1987 and 1989 conferences in Atlanta and in subsequent congressional legislation—is that the National Scholars Program should be a collaborative effort. An independent organization could act in an entrepreneurial capacity to bring in other partners and to raise funds, activities which would be difficult for NASA to perform. The responsibilities of the National Scholars Coordinating Council would include establishing guidelines for the design of consortia; developing the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the competitive consortia awards process; evaluating proposals; publicizing the program; serving in an entrepreneurial role to establish relationships with other agencies and organizations in order to bring in other partners; developing linkages with relevant national organizations such as disciplinary societies and precollege science programs; fundraising; facilitating movement of students among consortia; providing technical assistance; overseeing the performance of consortium sites; disseminating "best practices"; maintaining a national database; sponsoring an electronic network; and organizing an annual national conference. These charges can be grouped into four broad categories. The first involves planning activities. The National Scholars Coordinating Council, in consultation with NASA, should assemble a group of educators and scientists to discuss and develop guidelines for the program. Selected institutions might be invited to submit requests for planning grants to develop full proposals to establish the National Scholars consortia, and the council would establish a competitive review process to select those applicants who will receive funding to establish a consortium. The second and third categories of responsibilities relate to the daily operation of the program. Specifically, the second set of council responsibilities would revolve around entrepreneurial and dissemination functions that include publicizing program activities, raising money, and recruiting potential national partners to the program. In addition, the council would facilitate collaboration with other federal agencies and national organizations. Providing technical assistance to individual consortium sites and facilitating interactions among students and faculty in the consortia make up the third group. A high priority here will be the matching of college seniors with graduate departments in the consortia. The last set of responsibilities centers on data collection and evaluation requirements which concern monitoring the performance of the individual sites and sharing what has been learned from the experiences of each consortium. The council should establish a national database and an electronic network to foster communication among students and faculty at consortium sites. Ultimately, effective strategies and models developed by the consortia should be highlighted and shared with the wider educational community. An annual conference, organized by the coordinating council, should invite directors, faculty, and students from the consortia to exchange ideas and information
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN about common concerns and promising strategies. Students and faculty will be afforded an opportunity to "network," and students can showcase their talent by presenting their research. The conference would enable junior and senior college students to talk with faculty and students about graduate programs in other consortiums. Conversely, graduate faculty would have an opportunity to meet with potential applicants. Currently there are a number of national annual meetings for minority-targeted programs. The NSF Diversity Conference assembles scientists, educators, and students to inform them about and to obtain feedback on their various education program activities. Students also present their research findings. The annual conference of the Ford Foundation Minority Fellows brings together past and present fellowship recipients. The agenda is developed by the fellows themselves and features distinguished speakers and panel discussions. Consideration might be given to coordinating a scholars meeting with another minority-targeted program or organization by scheduling the scholars' conference immediately preceding or following the annual meeting of a scientific society. DISCUSSION ISSUES In this section we consider issues of program design that elude easy definition. They involve matters of judgment and balance in implementing a consortium. High School Programs The committee deliberated at length about what role the National Scholars Program should play at the high school level. The original intent of the program was to identify promising high school students who were likely to pursue the Ph.D., but at what point in a student 's high school career could that be done? And what role should this program play in increasing the pool of high school students eligible to apply to the National Scholars Program? There are many programs for minority students already working at the pre-college level which involve thousands of students, including MESA, NASA's SHARP, the NIH Minority High School Research Apprenticeships, NSF ACCESS, and others. Although they do not focus specifically on students who may want to pursue a Ph.D., they do identify many well-qualified students interested in enrolling in bachelor's programs in mathematics, science, or engineering, which is the necessary next step. Rather than duplicate or compete with these programs, the committee concluded that the National Scholars Program should begin formally at the point of selection of talented high school seniors applying to college. The existing pre-college programs will form the foundation for the NSP, since it is through these programs that the majority of National Scholars will be identified. The partnerships formed by individual consortiums will not only ease the transition of high school students into college but also strengthen the existing pre-college programs, thereby benefitting all high school participants. It would be prohibitively expensive and also duplicative to create yet another program at the high school level. Student Choice To be a National Scholar, the student must attend a college or university that participates in a National Scholars consortium. The committee has thought extensively about this requirement. Although
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN it places a significant constraint on the individual student's choice, especially at the graduate level, we believe it is essential to the success of the program. The intent of the program is to provide a supportive and continuous educational pathway from college entry through Ph.D. attainment in order to maximize the prospects for student success. To accomplish this, students need to enroll in departments and institutions that are responsive to their individual needs and academic aspirations and where they will benefit from the kinds of support available to National Scholars. Although excellent academic training can be found at any number of institutions, a much smaller number provide the environment of support needed for many minority students to complete their degrees. If this were not the case, the National Scholars Program would not be needed. We do not believe that the program can meet its ambitious goal of doubling the number of minority Ph.D.s by building an elaborate support structure through college and then abandoning that structure in graduate school. National programs which provide fully portable fellowships at the doctoral level have been successful in producing significant numbers of non-minority Ph.D.s in the sciences and engineering, but the record is much less clear for underrepresented minorities. For example, the NSF Graduate Fellowship Program has experienced a significantly higher completion rate than its partner Minority Graduate Fellowship Program. Of the 1979-81 applicants who were awarded fellowships in engineering, mathematics, and physical sciences, only 37 percent of the awardees (19 out of 52) in the Minority Graduate Fellowship Program had completed their Ph.D.s by the end of 1988. In contrast, 60 percent of the awardees (379 out of 630) in the Graduate Fellowship Program had completed their degrees by the same date (NRC 1995a, 26-27). We expect that most students will opt to continue as National Scholars at one of the consortium institutions. The established linkages, student-faculty interactions, thoughtful academic advising, and benefits of being a National Scholar should weigh heavily in favor of students choosing to continue in the National Scholars Program. In addition, we expect to attract many of the top graduate programs into NSP consortia, so the limitation on the student's choice may not be as restrictive as might be assumed. Having said all this, we recognize that some exceptionally confident students with well-defined objectives may prefer to attend programs outside the National Scholars consortia. Again, careful academic advising will be necessary to ensure that each student is aware of and well prepared to enter and succeed in a particular program. If a student enrolls elsewhere, the National Scholars Program will not sever all ties with the student. It will maintain communication with the student by inviting and giving the student support to attend the annual National Scholars Program Conference and by tracking the student's academic and career progress. In order to maintain the momentum of the program and keep it on target towards its numerical goal, students who leave the program to enroll in non-consortium schools could be replaced by new Ph.D. students who were not previously National Scholars. Although the primary target group for the program is high schools students, the committee recognizes that career decisions, especially those requiring a Ph.D., are not made at any one point in a student's lifetime. The educational fabric is a permeable and constantly changing one, and to be successful, the National Scholars Program must accommodate some of this change.
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN Formal Structure Many initiatives succeed because of the personal commitment of a few dedicated, extraordinary individuals. Their efforts may be extremely effective, but when such an individual leaves, the program, all too often, wanes. The linkages among partners in a consortium must be genuine and effective, but they should not depend solely on the goodwill and devotion of a few individuals. For this reason we propose that a National Scholars Program be implemented in a manner that integrates it into the mainstream of institutional operation, requiring the serious commitment of faculty and administrative leadership. There should be a formal, visible institutional structure for a National Scholars Program that ensures genuine and continued commitment to the program. We do not advocate—indeed, we discourage—a complex infrastructure for a National Scholars Program that would involve lengthy contractual agreements between institutions and programs. Excessive bureaucracy can stifle collaboration, flexibility, and creativity. The balance, then, is to determine the degree of structure necessary to implement an effective program in order to ensure its continuation without imposing time-consuming administrative requirements and procedures. A consortium must decide (1) under what circumstances formal agreements between institutions and organizations are essential and what they entail, (2) whether more informal agreements between pertinent departments and programs would suffice, and/or (3) whether certain activities can be carried out by individual staff or faculty without formal authority. To the extent possible, a consortium should rely on tangible evidence of commitment and interactions rather than on impersonal administrative contractual agreements. Critical Mass We accord great weight to the importance of "critical mass" for each consortium as demonstrated by the number of students in the program in the context of the individual departments and the institution and in terms of institutional commitment as reflected by faculty participation, resources, and institutional impacts. Critical mass is important for minority students because it can help them overcome feelings of isolation or a sense of being different in a specific department or in the broader institution (Seymour and Hewitt 1994, 493-501). Minority students who lack peers to talk with may perceive that difficulties they encounter may be unique to them as individuals or as a minority group member, whereas, in reality, other students may be experiencing similar difficulties. The presence of a minority peer group can serve not only to provide social and emotional support but to boost academic achievement. The formation of study groups has been found to be a significant advantage in science and math study. At the same time, they provide the availability of other minority students to whom a new student can turn to for advice and information. We considered whether to recommend numerical minimums for minority student enrollments in order to assure a critical mass in the academic departments that participate in the National Scholars Program. Numerical minimums, however, may be impractical in certain situations. For example, imposing mandatory minimums poses problems in circumstances where there are only a few minority students in a specialized doctoral program or in private liberal arts colleges that have enrolled few minorities in the past. Also, there are alternative ways of assuring that minority students have the crucial peer academic and social support groups. Linking
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN students in the wider institution through disciplinary networks, study groups, or mentor relationships are a few examples. Therefore, we suggest that a consortium applicant be required to demonstrate convincingly that minority scholars will have a critical mass of personal and academic peer support in whatever ways it believes will be most effective and feasible. Legal Issues From the celebrated DeFunis v. Odegaard, 94 S. Ct. 1704 (1974) and Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978) decisions involving admission to professional schools to the more recent Banneker fellowship case— Podberesky v. Kirwan, 38 F.3d 147 (4th Cir. 1994), questions have surfaced about the legality of educational initiatives for underparticipating minorities. More recently, differences in opinion about the desirability and constitutionality of programs that consider race or ethnicity in decisions about eligibility have intensified. In Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, Secretary of Transportation, 115 S. Ct. 2097 (1995), the U.S. Supreme Court, in a major 5-4 decision, ruled that federal programs that use racial or ethnic criteria as a basis for decision making are subject to "strict scrutiny." In a recent Memorandum to General Counsels the U.S. Department of Justice set forth an overview of Adarand and offered guidance to agencies on the legal implications of the decision for federal affirmative action programs (Schmidt 1996). As indicated in the memorandum, "although Adarand was a challenge to a Department of Transportation contracting program, its holding applies to race-based decisionmaking in all areas of federal activity. . . ." (p. 1). "Under Adarand, federal programs that use race or ethnicity as a basis for decisionmaking must be strictly scrutinized to ensure that they promote 'compelling ' governmental interests, and that they are 'narrowly tailored' to serve those interests" (Schmidt 1996, 5). Examples of compelling governmental interests are (1) cases where the federal government is attempting to remedy past discrimination of its own (not general societal discrimination), based either on historical or statistical evidence, or (2) cases where a federal agency may need to use racial considerations to meet its operational needs, e.g., to obtain a diverse workforce. The appropriateness of diversity as a compelling governmental interest—at least in an educational setting—was affirmed by Justice Powell in his controlling opinion in Bakke. He stated that a university could take the race or ethnicity of applicants into account in its admissions process to foster the diversity of its student body, so long as that was not the only factor considered. "[I]n arguing that its universities must be accorded the right to select those students who will contribute the most to the 'robust exchange of ideas,' the [University of California] invokes a countervailing constitutional interest, that of the First Amendment. In this light, [the university] must be viewed as seeking to achieve a goal that is of paramount importance in the fulfillment of its mission" (438 U.S. 313-314). Assuming that the requirement of a compelling governmental interest has been met, any federal agency using race as a basis for decisionmaking must tailor its program in as narrow a way as possible, consistent with meeting its objectives. Actions which the courts have accepted as examples of "narrow tailoring" include the following: The agency has considered ways to achieve the same objective without using race as a criterion;
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THE NATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM: EXCELLENCE WITH DIVERSITY FOR THE FUTURE: PROGRAM DESIGN Race is considered as one of many factors, but not the exclusive one; Any numerical target for diversity is compared to the relevant labor market; The burden on nonminorities is limited; The scope of the program is limited to those with evidence of underparticipation; and The program continues only as long as it is needed. The Department of Justice memorandum also indicates that "affirmative action programs directed by Congress may have more force than those created solely by agencies" (p. 2). Thus, targeted programs that are expressly authorized by Congress may be in a stronger position to withstand legal challenges. Concomitant with the judicial narrowing of permissible affirmative action measures is the reemergence of debate about the fairness of affirmative action. The U.S. Congress, too, has taken up the issue. On July 27, 1995, the Equal Opportunity Act of 1995 was introduced in the Senate and the House of Representatives. It states that the federal government may not "intentionally discriminate against, or may grant a preference to, any individual or group in whole or in part on race, color, national origin, or sex" in connection with employment, contracts, or other federally conducted program or activity. Enactment of this or similar legislation would effectively end federal programs targeted to underparticipating minorities. Although the Adarand decision makes it necessary to evaluate federal programs against the "strict scrutiny" standard, the Department of Justice memorandum emphasized that "the federal government is firmly committed to fair employment practices that open opportunities for all Americans. It is also committed, to ensuring that its workforce draws on the full range of the nation's talent. Affirmative action efforts can advance those vital objectives. Thus, to the extent that they comport with Adarand, such efforts should be continued" (p. 1). The implications for a future National Scholars Program are similarly uncertain. However, a program that awards grants to institutions which then select participants affords a certain degree of flexibility. A program could target institutions that enroll large numbers of minority students, with the program being open to all students at that institution. However, this approach would exclude almost all research universities and many distinguished undergraduate colleges from the National Scholars Program. There may be ways to broaden the eligibility criteria to accomplish similar purposes. For example, in July 1995 the Regents of the University of California decided that the University of California could no longer consider race or ethnicity in hiring or admissions but could take into account past socioeconomic disadvantages. A university study analyzed the potential effect of this change in admissions procedures and estimated that African American freshmen enrollments would likely drop by about 50 percent. The Meyerhoff Program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, has responded to Podbersky v. Kirwan by inviting applications from all "high-achieving high school seniors who have an interest in pursuing doctoral study in the sciences or engineering, and . . . a genuine interest . . . in the advancement of minorities in the sciences and related fields."
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Representative terms from entire chapter: