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4 Developing a Research Agenda U nderrepresented minoritiesâand all studentsâmust navi- gate a series of experiences in the process of selecting career paths; a research agenda designed to understand which fac- tors influence those decisions also will be complex. In such a cir- cumstance, said National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Elias A. Zerhouni in his keynote address, conclusions should be based on evidence and experimentation, not on belief. âCan you define a testable hypothesis for which you can perform an experiment?â Zer- houni asked. âStep one in making progress is realizing that we need, as a group, to come together with some testable pilots and identify the true drivers without being shy about what the issues are.â Zerhouni mentioned several topics that he believes should be part of a research agenda. For example, mentoring is obviously crucial, he said, but what is it about the mentoring relationship that makes a difference? One interesting question, for example, is what the person being mentored brings to the relationship. âThere is no such thing as one-way mentoring,â Zerhouni said. âMentoring is a two-way activity between the mentee and the mentor. And I think that training the mentees in how to learn and how to be a mentee is just as important as mentoring.â Mentoring experiences could be more effective, said Yolanda S. George of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), if more were known specifically about mentoring in sci- ence, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. 38
DEVELOPING A RESEARCH AGENDA 39 She suggested that information is needed on cross-gender and cross- racial STEM mentoring and on mentoring of people with disabilities interested in STEM disciplines. George also called for more mentor- ing research linked to outcomes, such as entry into STEM college majors, time-to-degree at all degree levels, types of college and uni- versity degrees earned, entry into STEM graduate majors, entry into STEM careers by sectors, and advancements in the STEM workforce. At a more fundamental level, George suggested asking the question, âWhat is the purpose of mentoring?â Students may know that they want to be mentored but may have no idea of what kind of mentor- ing they need or what they want or need from a mentor. Talking one on one with the students a program is designed to serve is an essential part of developing and assessing these pro- grams. âMany of us design these programs without including the people that we are trying to target, to understand where they are coming from,â said Tuajuanda Jordan, senior program officer for science education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). âWe cannot forget the voices of our students when we are trying to define these programs.â Sometimes that means talking with people who are quite different than you and ânot in your immediate com- fort zone,â she observed, but that is the only way to learn what their real concerns are. Another important factor, said Zerhouni, is the timeframe when interventions are most effective. NIH is focused on the world of higher education, but many interventions may be necessary in the pre-college years. The Meyerhoff Scholarship Program at the Uni- versity of Maryland, Baltimore County, for example, brings promis- ing minority students to the campus when they are in the 10th or 11th grade to show them what they could accomplish through hard work in high school. Another critical factor, according to Zerhouni, is the socioeco- nomic status of students. âI have seen terrifically qualified indi- viduals who just could not afford the career in science that you would want them to follow,â he said. Should the amount of financial support be the same for all students, or should it be tailored to an individual and his or her needs? Perhaps financial support should be means-tested rather than the same for everyone. âFor young, up-and-coming, minority, and underrepresented candidates, those dollar questions have a huge impact on their decision-making pro- cess,â said Zerhouni. âWhen you have $100 and that is your last $100 and you are in the lab with people at a different place in the wealth â The Meyerhoff Scholarship Program is discussed in more detail in Chapter 3.
40 UNDERSTANDING INTERVENTIONS curve, it does taint your judgment. . . . I think we need to be sensi- tive to that. That parameter never shows up as explicitly as I would like to see it expressed.â Less tangible but just as influential are the cultural factors involved in the development of a scientist. As Zerhouni related, âThe one thing I learned when I came to Johns Hopkins was that it did not matter how good you were in math or physics or how good your grades were, you knew your success in science was going to depend enormously on your communication skills and your fitting in to the culture of science.â To what extent do minority students fit in with predominantly majority groups, and how do subgroups form within research groups? Effective social science research is needed to explore the environment of the scientific laboratory or school, he said. âThere are many different dimensions to these questions, and we have to be honest about the fact that we may not have performed the science on science that we need to perform,â Zerhouni said. âMaybe our strategies are belief based rather than fact based. I think we need to be humble again and address that.â The research agenda is much larger than can be handled by any one federal agency, said Zerhouni: the mission âis much larger than any one of us.â In pursuing this research, investigators need to be careful not to overlook the important work that has been done in the past. As Carol J. Burger, associate professor in the Center for Interdisciplin- ary Studies and director of the Science and Gender Equity Program at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, pointed out, âThere is already a community of scholars who have been working on this problem of underrepresentation of minorities and women in STEM for many, many years. There is a rich and deep literature. As my major professor in immunology used to tell me: âread, read, read, read, read.ââ An additional challenge for pursuing this kind of research is the question of how to maintain the privacy of their students as research subjects despite the fact that researchers often are studying very small numbers of students. AAASâs Daryl E. Chubin suggested that ways might be found to anonymize some of the data yet still be able to extract information from them, perhaps by employing an outside contractor. âIt seems to me that somebody on the outside [of funding agencies] has got to be able to do it,â said Chubin. â[This approach] may not be as cost effective, but at least we would get the benefit of it.â At the workshop, several points of intervention and stakeholder opportunity were raised. As Howard H. Garrison, planning commit-
DEVELOPING A RESEARCH AGENDA 41 tee member and deputy executive director for policy and director of the Office of Public Affairs at the Federation of American Societ- ies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), said in introducing the final panel, âevery stage matters. We can always point to the person on the other side of us, before us, or after us and say, âif they were doing a better job, my life would be a lot easier. We would have more stu- dents, better students; we would have more professorsâ. . . . All of us, no matter where we are working, whether it is elementary school, high school, college, graduate school or in professional associa- tions, I think there are things that we can do.â The remainder of this chapter summarizes the comments made at the workshop related to different possible points of interventions and stakeholders. A final section addresses the development of a research community dedi- cated to answering these questions. Pre-college Education Because students experience K-12 education first, many propos- als to increase the representations of underrepresented minorities in science focus on that level. Interventions at the K-12 level need to start early, said Nicole Crane of Cabrillo College. âWe have to go have dinner with mom and dad and the younger kids,â she said. âThe issues go way back in recruitment, and that is something that is not as well addressed.â Among the programs that have proven especially successful in recruiting and retaining minorities in the sciences, said Howard Universityâs Orlando L. Taylor, are magnet programs in science, technology, and mathematics. âThere are many [minority students] who never envisioned themselves doing research, but who get that experience [in magnet schools]. Not all of them will go in that direc- tion, but [these schools] have one of the highest percentages of students who go on to get PhDs and who pursue research careers,â said Taylor. Workshop participants described other programs that have been especially successful. For example, the Institute of Leader- ship Excellence and Academic Development (I-LEAD) at the Bank Street College of Education in New York City is working with six Catholic schools in the Bronx and Harlem to identify students from low-income, underserved neighborhoods and steer them toward highly selective colleges and universities instead of less selective institutions. âThe program has been extremely successful in tak- ing students from fairly moderate aspirations to really high aspira- tions,â Michael T. Nettles of Educational Testing Service said. In the
42 UNDERSTANDING INTERVENTIONS class of 2006, all participating students applied to selective colleges and universities, 91 percent were accepted, and 72 percent enrolled, compared with just 35 percent of a comparable set of students who did not participate in the program. Similarly, in the New York Metro Region Leadership Academy established by Prep for Prep, nearly all of the participating students apply to selective colleges and universi- ties, and most attend. âBefore this program existed, these students were underrepresented in rigorous curricula in high school and less likely to take [Advanced Placement] courses,â Nettles said. âNow they are more likely to take them.â Nicholas Ingoglia, associate dean of the Graduate School of Bio- medical Sciences at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) Newark campus, pointed out that many students from underprivileged backgrounds may not have much context for what scientific research even entails. âThey donât even know what research is; they donât know anything. They are bright kids, but they just donât have the information,â he said. The program he described at UMDNJ brings students into the lab and gives them the kind of hands-on experience they were lacking. Nettles argued that the talent pool of students from minority groups underrepresented in the sciences is much larger than most people realize. The challenge is to get these students to aim high. âSetting the goal to do well, go higher, is very often half the battle,â he said. An especially effective way to do that, several workshop par- ticipants said, is through mentoring from students just a few years older than the protÃ©gÃ©s. According to Robert W. Lent of the Uni- versity of Maryland, College Park, âexposing students to folks who look like them and are just a little bit older and who have coped with the same environmental obstacles that the younger students are now facing can be extraordinarily helpfulâperhaps, in part, for reasons of neutralizing stereotype threat, of normalizing the experience, of saying, âhey, you deserve to be here.ââ LaRuth C. McAfee, executive director for education at the Cen- ter for Layered Polymeric Systems at Case Western Reserve Univer- sity, described the Polymers Envoys programs, in which high school students from Cleveland public schools do research in university labs. In addition to participating in academic research, these stu- dents develop demonstrations that they can take into middle school classrooms âto also get [the middle school] kids more excited, and see that their peers, students who were in their place three years ago, are doing this research, and they are successful in these opportuni- ties,â she said.
DEVELOPING A RESEARCH AGENDA 43 One important challenge of these programs is that the desired outcomes will likely be many years down the road. As Ingoglia said, âI donât know if any funding agency is going to want to put money into something that is ten years down the line. I think it is a huge problem.â Undergraduate Education Workshop participants highlighted several programs at the undergraduate level in addition to the Meyerhoff Scholarship Pro- gram at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, discussed above. They include the Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program at the University of California, Davis; programs supported by private organizations such as HHMI and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; and programs supported by federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NIH. These programs exhibit great diversity, which is part of their strength. According to Wanda E. Ward, deputy assistant director for social, behavioral, and economic sciences at NSF, the broad portfolio of programs sponsored by NSF âallows us to connect a multiplicity of efforts from a wide-ranging group of experts who can provide insight from various perspec- tives.â However, many of the successful programs tend to be rel- atively small and expensive, Boston Collegeâs David R. Burgess pointed out, partly because they are comprehensive. âDonât create another programâclone these,â he said. âBut the resources are sub- stantial.â However, other workshop participants cautioned against trying to fit a program that works in one setting into another. According to several workshop participants and speakers, a major problem with existing programs is that they tend not to be institutionalized. Institutions are âunwilling to institutionally sup- port these programs,â said Burgess, âusually because the programs are not a departmental program, and departments have the power.â As a result, these programs can be susceptible to changing priorities and to affirmative action challenges. When programs are supported with âsoft money,â said Chubin, they âwonât be readily sustained, which means that they will only benefit those cohorts of students who happen to be at the right place at the right time. We obviously have to do better than that.â An interesting question that reflects on the efficacy of existing programs is where underrepresented minorities earn their degrees. An analysis conducted by Burgess and his colleagues has shown that African Americans tend to earn baccalaureate degrees in biol- ogy primarily at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)
44 UNDERSTANDING INTERVENTIONS and at research II and comprehensive universities, rather than at research I universities. Hispanics earn their biology degrees at a large and diverse group of mostly public research I universities, while American Indians earn their undergraduate biology degrees predominantly at non-research state universities and at smaller and comprehensive colleges. âIn all cases,â Burgess observed, âit turns out that the minority populations are attending schools and earning their biology degrees in regions of the highest population densi- ties in our country for their communities, which shouldnât be a surprise.â When Burgess looked at where minorities earn doctoral degrees in biology, he noticed an interesting contrast: âIt turns out that 13 of the top producers of Hispanic baccalaureates appear in the top 20 list of Hispanic doctoral-granting institutions. However, only 8 of the 20 top producers of biology black biomedical baccalaureates appear in the top 20.â Further, Hispanics are earning their biology doctorates at top research universities while African Americans are earning their biology doctorates at research II institutions. Programs to increase the number of underrepresented minori- ties who hold faculty positions at top research institutions would be better informed by data on where practicing researchers obtained their degrees, Burgess suggested. For example, he would like to know where the biology faculty at research I universities earned their bachelorâs degrees, where they earned their doctorates, and where they did their postdoctoral work. âEarly analysis says that the faculty in biology at the top 50 funded departments get their bachelorâs and PhDs at highly selective private universities, and at [public] research I universities,â said Burgess, but more detailed information might suggest routes that minorities could follow to faculty positions at leading universities. Several speakers pointed out the value of involving students in research as undergraduates. Taylor, for one, felt that colleges and universities still âhave too few minorities engaged in under- graduate research.â Much still needs to be learned about the most effective ways to structure those research experiences. For example, Nettles reminded the group that research can be inaccessible to stu- â âResearch I,â âResearch II,â and âComprehensiveâ are categories that were used in previous versions of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Although the Carnegie Classification has developed more specific categorizations since 2000, these terms continue to be used colloquially; for example, âresearch Iâ generally refers to the nationâs most prominent research institutions. See <http:// www.carnegiefoundation.org/classifications/> for more information and the current classifications and descriptions.
DEVELOPING A RESEARCH AGENDA 45 dents without adequate outside resources: âSome people canât, for example, afford not to work. If we really want to develop the talent among poor people who really need the income, the program has to include some compensation for their time.â Karen Kashmanian Oates, a member of the planning committee and provost and professor of biochemistry at Harrisburg Univer- sity of Science and Technology, reminded participants to consider the curriculum as well as research experiences. She encouraged the inclusion of âresearchable questions that are based on curriculum, and how we are interacting with our studentsâwhat is their best learning style. We know so much more now than we did ten years ago about how people learn, but as scientists we havenât changed the way we approach our teaching.â One of the breakout discus- sions suggested looking at measures of student learning as well as qualities that are more difficult to measure, such as motivation, persistence, and problem-solving ability. In reporting back on that session, Chubin asked if these are qualities that can be taught or instilled in students. Much is still unknown about the extent to which undergradu- ate research is effective in steering undergraduates toward graduate school and research careers, several workshop participants pointed out. âIf we really understand what is going on, . . . we will have a much better understanding about how to improve those programs or practices, or which elements of them could be extracted at a much lower cost,â said Carol B. Muller, planning committee member and the founder, president, and chief executive officer of MentorNet. After all, many very productive scientists never engaged in research as undergraduates. What were the experiences that caused them eventually to become researchers? George pointed out that many students attend multiple institu- tions and take varying lengths of time to earn their degrees. These pathways should be tracked more effectively, she said, as should the factors that cause pathways to differ. According to Michael Leibowitz, professor and associate dean at UMDNJâs Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, tracking students requires âhard work and creativity and considerable expense, but these things are not impos- sible. If we reward the successful programs and attempt to dissemi- nate their techniques, I think a lot can be done.â Shirley M. Malcom, the director of education and human resources programs at AAAS, suggested looking beyond the gates of the campus. âMost of the time, when people raise the issue of undergraduate research, they only look to those sets of institution- based experiences, as opposed to looking out into the larger commu-
46 UNDERSTANDING INTERVENTIONS nity to see where there may be opportunities in the local crime lab, at the police station, or in an agricultural agency,â she said. Malcom noted that another important form of research that young scientists can do is in the policy arena, so that these individuals will be ready to assume policy roles later in their careers. Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Training The social networks for minorities doing research are critical, perhaps especially at the graduate and postdoctoral level. Jordan talked about being the only African American researcher in a research group. But âat night, when I went to the graduate house, there were many more people who looked like me,â she said. âIt canât be just one person trying to do it all.â McAfee described an activity where the Black Graduate Student Association at her graduate institution established a weekly research discussion: âEveryone sets goals for the next week, everyone gives a quick update on what they have been doing for the past week. So that is also a way where they are still being able to interact with other black grad students, but they are also still helping to achieve their ultimate goal of graduation.â One pressing question that remains unanswered is why minori- ties underrepresented in the sciences do not achieve the same record of research productivity in graduate school as non-minority students and may not participate in as much high-impact research. As Gilda Barabino, professor of biomedical engineering at the Georgia Insti- tute of Technology, said, âeven if you are in a research I institution, [publication] numbers are extremely low. Many times, the reason for that is because you are not getting included in modern collabo- rations, you are not part of the hot project. There is just a multitude of reasons.â Nettles speculated that few minority students experience a âhalo effect,â where particular students may be selected for achievement and ushered through the graduate school processes, with specific projects, deliverables, deadlines, and support. Taylor agreed: âThere is kind of an anointing process in many research environments for graduate students. Students know who the PI or who the lab direc- torâs . . . special persons [are]. Once anointed, it makes a big differ- ence in terms of who gets into certain activities: who is asked to go to a meeting, who hangs out and comes to the home for dinner, and so forth. Those things begin those informal, invisible factors that contribute greatly to the research career.â In part, the selection of favored students reflects a model of graduate training rooted in traditional educational structures. But
DEVELOPING A RESEARCH AGENDA 47 that model may be outmoded, said Walter (Skip) Bollenbacher, pro- fessor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and vice president of Integrated Learning Innovations: âWe have trained scientists the same since we built the university research enterpriseâabout the same time Sputnik went up. It has occurred during all this time of sophisticated science and complex interdis- ciplinary work.â The graduate students most eagerly sought by employers today, Bollenbacher said, are the ones who know how to organize and work in teams and communicate effectively. âWe are training in the 20th-century model, but we live in a 21st-century society.â Several workshop participants warned against painting gradu- ate education with too broad a brush. Different disciplines have quite different approachesâsome are characterized by teams, others by individual researchers, some have close ties to industry, others do not. Taylor speculated that differences such as these may even account for why there are more minorities in the humanities, educa- tion, and the social sciences than in the life sciences and engineering. Northwestern Universityâs Rick McGee observed that the prospects for employment following graduate school are quite different for different disciplines. An engineer may have good job offers, whereas a PhD in molecular biology faces quite a different set of opportuni- ties and challenges. âWe have to stop talking about research careersâ in general, said McGee. We have to make âour questions and our terminology more precise than we have in the past.â The issue of employment following graduate school raised the question of graduate educationâs goals: How should âsuccessâ be defined for a graduate student? Simeon Slovacek, a professor at California State University, Los Angeles, noted that he has a very difficult time hiring minority teachers at the charter schools he has helped organize. Success, he said, should include preparing a minor- ity student to be a teacher, not just to get a research grant. Whatâs needed, he said, is âa better and broader definition of what it is we are considering success in the work that we do in preparing science educators.â Martin M. Chemers, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, made a similar point: âI think we should expand what outcomes we think are success,â he said. âA full-bore attack on the problems we are talking about means [preparing] better high school science teachers, it means putting . . . minority doctors in the community so that if a kid goes to the doctor he can aspire to a medical career. We have to change the whole substrate of society in this area.â It is not possible, as Anthony L. DePass of Long Island
48 UNDERSTANDING INTERVENTIONS UniversityâBrooklyn pointed out, for every graduate student to become a researcher. âIn our looking at what we are trying to improve, we also need to look at exactly what we consider a suc- cessful research career. The numbers alone would dictate that we all cannot be at research I institutions. [Other] career tracks are research-related, and we need to consider those as we move on and decide what other measures of success are.â Redefining success also may help ease one of the most intrac- table problems of graduate education: the stresses apparent in many research environments that make many students, including minori- ties, turn away from research as a career. Bollenbacher said that he received his first R01 grant from the NIH when he was 30. Todayâs beginning researchers receive their first R01 grant when they are in their 40s. The funding rate for grant applications is below 20 per- cent, and, because of budget pressures, even successful applicants are only getting 85 to 90 percent of what they expect, claims Bol- lenbacher. Such a life can be âbrutal,â he said. Researchers need to âlobby more to make this a better life, to make it a life where the PI doesnât work 15 hours a day, seven days a week, and the graduate students and the postdocs watch this and say, âNo way, I am not going to do this.ââ Alyson Reed, executive director of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA), asked about the appeal of a research career. Are these jobs really appealing given the alternatives, she asked. Nettles similarly asked what impression the average student gets of research. âWhen you have a detailed conversationâ about research with stu- dents, said Nettles, âthey see what your life is like, and they donât necessarily want to emulate it: the kind of work, the kind of time, the concentration.â Added Jordan, âjust because you are a scientist does not mean you are not a human. There are certain aspects of your life that we must pay attention to.â Chubin noted that minorities, in particular, often want to give back to their communities and will be less likely to pursue research if a career in science seems to close off this option. âThere are alternatives that will allow them to have work-life balance, and that will be more lucrative and will allow them to fulfill themselves as whole people,â he said. Questions were also raised about whether graduate training is meeting its objectives or if it is offloading some of its components to require more lengthy postdoctoral appointments. âDo we have adequate research training at the PhD?â asked Taylor. âOr have we â R01 is the traditional investigator-initiated research project grant offered by the NIH.
DEVELOPING A RESEARCH AGENDA 49 piled up too many courses and credits such that, when individuals finish the doctorate, they are really not prepared for the world of work, canât work in teams, [and] have had inadequate experience across disciplinary boundaries, so that they now have to go into a postdoctoral experience to get prepared for a research career?â In fact, one of the breakout discussions suggested that there might be researchable questions related to the development of postdocs and faculty or to identify the characteristics of faculty that might contrib- ute to graduate student attrition. A different model would be to hire people into what Taylor termed pre-faculty appointments. A PhD recipient could receive the additional research training that the PhD did not provide as a pre-faculty member, but the tenure clock would not start. Young researchers could start their careers, and after about three years they could begin pursuing tenure. âIf you start off with the presupposi- tion that you will not hire people without a postdoc, and if you donât have some intervention in terms of the way you take care of your hiring, then you will have little opportunity to change the picture,â said Taylor. Changes in hiring practices require a visible commitment from administrators. âThere has to be some kind of institutional leadership by those of us in professional scientific societies and at institutions in terms of the hiring strategy for research I faculty,â said Burgess. He believes faculty members have a tendency to hire people who are like themselves. If minority students feel that they would not be comfortable or fit in at a research I university, they may not want to become faculty there, saying âwe need to somehow have some leadership at our institutions to break this down.â Malcom pointed out that existing laws and policies can be a spur to fairer hiring practices. âWe still have laws on the books, for example, that say we are supposed to bring a diverse pool into a faculty hire,â she said. âThat is not something that a scientific com- munity can do. It can adjust the behavior that says that if you have a whole lot of diverse students and no diverse faculty, that there is a problem with that. But in terms of affecting the behavior of who is in that pool and allowing or not allowing a hire, if you havenât presented a diverse pool, that is an institutional responsibility. It is related to laws that are not being carried out.â Muller, however, issued a caution about the ability of colleges and universities to make profound changes. âDeans and vice presi- dents and provosts and presidents arenât necessarily at liberty to make grand sweeping changes,â she said. âIt is shared governance, but it is more than that. The allegiance of the individual researcher
50 UNDERSTANDING INTERVENTIONS is often much more to his or her discipline and professional connec- tion, not just a single professional society, but to a professional con- nection of colleagues and work and reputation and publishing and so on and so forth, that goes way beyond whatever the institution can hope to offer up. So we really need to be thinking much more broadly about how we deal with the basics of bias, intentional and otherwise, . . . that we all know and have experienced and witnessed for years, but that needs to be addressed more broadly in the com- munities in which we work.â To make substantial changes in the lives of minorities both when they are undergraduates and graduates, institutions need to go through a process of âtransformation,â said several of the work- shop participants. Some of the elements of this transformation will be similar at any institution. According to Jordan, âas you talk about institutional transformation, it is very important that we realize that there is no cookie cutter for the primarily white institutions and not for the HBCUs as well. There are some institutional problems that you will find in an HBCU that will also be at a research I institution.â This process of transformation has to involve administrators as well as faculty: âIt is not just about the faculty designing programs for these target groups. It has to be a community effort that involves the entire institution.â And the transformation process itself has to be monitored using good indicators of change. Funders Federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, professional societ- ies, and other funders of research can contribute to an understand- ing of educational interventions in several ways. They can conduct research on their own or support others to do research. They can examine intervention programs that they have funded or look at larger sets of interventions that may affect a discipline or field of science. They can provide incentives for others to conduct research or offer ways to disseminate the results of researchâsuch as through professional journals or other publications. Reporting on a breakout discussion, NPAâs Reed suggested that professional societies and other nonprofit organizations can collabo- rate with each other to establish a coordinated research agenda and common tools for research. For example, many professional societ- ies support similar interventions, such as travel award programs, fellowship programs, mentoring interactions at meetings, and so on. Reed reported that the breakout group felt that a unified way of studying these interventions could produce valuable information.
DEVELOPING A RESEARCH AGENDA 51 Institutionsâand especially professional societiesâcan reflect the importance of this issue through their leadership structure, gov- ernance, speaking agendas, invitees to meetings, and other policies. Reed reported that the breakout conversation on these issues went beyond minority affairs committees, fellowship programs, or travel awards: âThe interventions should not necessarily be compartmen- talized off to the side somewhere; . . . societies need to think holisti- cally about changing their practices,â she said. Federal agencies have devoted attention to these issues and continue to refine their programs. For example, NSF supports the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP). As Ward explained, LSAMP is built on a dual model of academic integration and disciplinary socialization. An independent evaluation by the Urban Institute showed that underrepresented minorities partici- pating in the program were just as likely to pursue further course work in STEM as non-minority students. The LSAMP is connected to many others at NSF and will now provide support for educational research projects on the baccalaureate attainment of underrepre- sented minorities. Jordan also pointed out the contributions that private philan- thropies can make: âOne of the things that I can do by directing the science education center at Howard Hughes is to engage people in these types of discussions to come there and have these kinds of interactions.â In this way, she said, HHMI can âpartner with not just NIH, but also with NSF and the Sloan Foundation, and then with individuals out there in the field who are doing these kinds of things, and see if we canât move this effort forward on a more national level.â Building the Research Community Educational institutions are not very good at learning from each other, said Chubin. âWe donât transfer very much from one setting to another because we think that our student population is unique, our strengths are unique, our constraints are unique, and that everything has to be home grown. That is not very efficient. It is not very smart. A community could overcome thatâit could share a lot more than what we are currently sharing.â â B.C. Clewell, C. Consentino de Cohen, L. Tsui, L. Forcier, E. Gao, N. Young, N. Deterding, and C. West. 2005. Evaluation of the National Science Foundation Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation Program. The Urban Institute, Washington, D.C. <http://www.urban.org/publications/411301.html>
52 UNDERSTANDING INTERVENTIONS One objective of the workshop was to foster the development of a community of scholars interested in pursuing research related to the involvement of minorities in biomedical and behavioral research. In a final session, participants discussed ways to extend that support beyond the meeting itself. One important emphasis was the dis- semination of funding opportunities, ongoing projects, and research results. For example, as editor of the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, Burger encouraged participants both to read the journal and to submit articles to it. She also emphasized the importance of publishing negative results: why students do not like a project, or why it proved to be difficult to work with a school. Jordan mentioned additional outlets for publication, includ- ing CBEâLife Sciences Education, a collaboration between AAAS and HHMI that results in a monthly forum on science education in the pages of Science, and a similar effort in Nature. Dissemination opportunities also extend well beyond the printed page. An electronic mailing list of past and current award- ees from programs that support research into educational interven- tions would be a way for the community to exchange information. A website on the topic could provide a way to access conference proceedings, abstracts from annual meetings, and other electronic publications. Such a website could provide âa critical review of the literature . . . for those of us who are not experts in those areas,â said Clifton A. Poodry of NIHâs Division of Minority Opportunities in Research, along with what Rutgers Universityâs Barry R. Komisaruk termed a toolbox of data analysis tools. A challenge, said Muller, is âhow can we use the technology available to us to connect us in new and useful waysânot an over- load, not more e-mail than you can deal with, not more listserves than you can deal withâbut to help you connect with a group of people who are doing the things that are of most interest to you.â In that regard, Burger highlighted the importance of exploring new ways of interaction among students, such as Facebook. âIâll speak for myself,â she said, âbut I am so far away from that generation that what I think intuitively is worth nothing when it comes to organiz- ing programs for children and for students. So I think we need to share that information with each other.â Conferences also provide an important venue for disseminating information and results. McAfee described a postdoctoral fellow- ship she did at Stonybrook University supported by the National Academy of Engineeringâs Center for the Advancement of Scholar- ship on Engineering Education (CASEE). She conducted research on the experiences of graduate students in STEM disciplines using an
DEVELOPING A RESEARCH AGENDA 53 interdisciplinary team that combined the expertise of natural and social scientists. McAfee made use of conferences on engineering education, as well as a Gordon Conference on science and technol- ogy policy, to discuss her results. But instead of submitting her presentation to the minority affairs division of the conference, she tried to reach those interested in graduate school more generally, who approached the meeting from a broad perspective. She also mentioned connections that have come about by opportunities such as CASEEâs annual meeting, as well as networks of those engaged in engineering education. Along similar lines, HHMI and NIH, along with Harvard University, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and the University of Washington, convened a series of conversations on diversity in the sciences, drawing in both faculty and administrators at regional meetings. A website and publication is being developed by the HHMI organizers to compile best practices and summarize those discussions. McAfee suggested that such venues can help increase the vis- ibility of these issues and help promote them as valid areas for investigation. Interdisciplinary teams that are formed will not only lead to more effective research projects, but also greater opportuni- ties for publication and dissemination. McAfee also encouraged making use of existing networks; for example, she used the Science Diversity Center in her research, which was established as a place to identify minority-serving institutions that have received federal funding and serves as way to locate institutions with particular facilities and programs. According to Taylor, âMany of us . . . have come together many times over many years to raise questions like this. We all want to do this, but we havenât done it.â So what is different this time? He identified the fact that the researchers who study interventions have recognized the essential need for much greater coordination and communication. âWe havenât been able to get our performance together,â he said. Participants acknowledged that the workshop had been a valu- able first step. The workshop was not just âa one-day meeting that everybody feels good about and goes home afterward,â said FASEBâs Garrison. Rather, the workshop began âestablishing a community that can help carry this work forward.â âhttp://www.hhmi.org/resources/diversity/; http://www.williams.edu/ biology/divsciences/ â http://sciencediversitycenter.org/