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4 PROGRAM DESIGN (STRUCTURE) NATIONAL SCHOLARS CONSORTIA 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, uni- versities, 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. 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. THE CONSORTIUM PARTNERS 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 under- graduate component of a National Scholars Program should have the following educational elements: recruitment and selec- tion procedures, prefreshman summer bridge programs, research participation, academic advising, mentoring, structured teaching. and enrichment activities. ~... . . .. _, Institutions ranging trom operas arts colleges to state universities to research-intensive universities are eligible to provide the undergraduate component of the program, although diversity among the consortia! partners is likely to produce the strongest result. 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 filet doctoral scholars. The academic departments are the loci of decision making and activities for the graduate component of the program. An
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16 individual faculty member should assume overall responsibility for the program. 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. VERTICAL LINKAGES A consortium may choose to have many or only a few partners, but it must establish two essential vertical linkages. The first is a linkage between the precollege and undergraduate levels. The second is between undergraduate and graduate programs. A · · · · - consort~um may connect wit ~ 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. Early identification of minority youth who demonstrate promise is key. High school students who show special talent and interest . . . · · . can be Invites to participate In a summer research activity or in consortium activities on campus in the summer or during the school year' while 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. 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. A National Scholars Program could be a major contributor to precollege initiatives by providing summer research experiences to students in these programs. A primary purpose of establishing linkages between the undergraduate and graduate levels is to enable undergraduate scholars to move smoothly into graduate study. 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. Linkages with professional societies should be established both at the national level and with individual consortia. Societies over 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. In addition' business and industry have a long history of supporting initiatives to promote diversity in the scientific and engineering work force. 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. The operational
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17 entity would be known as the National Scholars Coordinating Council ant! could be administered by an existing organization or a new independent entity. The responsibilities of the National Scholars Coordinating Council would include establishing guidelines for the design of consortia; developing the Request for Proposals REP) 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 orcler to bring in other partners; developing linkages with relevant national organizations, such as disciplinary societies and precollege science programs; fundraising; facilitating the ~nove- ment of students among consortia; providing technical assistance; overseeing the perfor- mance of consortium sites; disseminating "best practices"; maintaining a national database; sponsoring an electronic network; and organizing an annual national conference. DISCUSSION ISSUES 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 identifier 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 NTH Minority High School Research Apprentice- ships' NSF ACCESS' and others. 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. Student Choice To be a National Scholar, the student must attend a college or university that participates in a National Scholars consor- tium. The committee has thought extensively about this requirement. Although 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 ofthe program is to provide a supportive and continuous educational pathway frown 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, in places 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
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18 through college and then abandoning that structure in graduate school. If a student does enroll 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. Legal Issues From the celebrated DeFunis v. Odegoard, 94 S. Ct. 1704 (1974) and Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978) decisions involving admis- sion 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 Constructor*, Inc. v. Pena, Secretary of Transportation, ~ ~ 5 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 offered guidance to agencies on the legal implications of the decision for federal af- firmative action programs. "Under Aclaranci, 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 (~) 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 work force. Although the Adc~ranc! 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 co~n~nitted to fair employment practices that open opportunities for all Americans. It is also committed to ensuring that its work force 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 Adarc~ncl, such efforts should be continued" (p. I).
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