At the request of the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), the National Research Council (NRC) formed the committee on Review of Army Research Laboratory Programs for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions. This introductory chapter describes the statement of task that guided the work of the committee, the process whereby the committee gathered data and produced this report, and the organization of the report.
The committee’s work was guided by the following statement of task:
An ad hoc committee to be named the Committee on Review of Army Research Laboratory Programs for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions (HBCUs/MIs), to be overseen by the National Research Council’s Laboratory Assessments Board, will be appointed to examine the ways in which HBCUs/MIs have used the ARL funds to enhance the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs at their institutions over the past decade. The committee will also consider which elements among the ARL HBCU/MI programs reflect practices that are effective for assisting HBCUs/MIs in enhancing the STEM programs at the institutions and that could be considered by other Department of Defense agencies for application to their programs. The study will not include examination of: (1) ways in which the HBCUs/MIs have contributed to effective outcomes of ARL projects, nor (2) career developments of students after they complete participation in the programs. The committee will prepare a report that summarizes the findings of its review.
The committee did not review HBCU/MI programs that are funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) but administered by ARL. The committee was not asked to, and did not, review workforce-related aspects of ARL investments in HBCUs/MIs, although workforce-related considerations could be a future goal of ARL’s HBCU/MI programs.
The term “minority institution” includes academic institutions such as the following: historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), and Asian-American and Native American Pacific Islander serving institutions (AANAPISI).
HBCUs are colleges and universities founded before 1964; they were originally intended to provide higher education to African American communities. Although their enrollments are becoming more diverse, the vast majority of HBCUs continue to be predominantly black institutions. HSIs are institutions that receive federal discretionary funding to improve and expand their capacity to serve Hispanic and low-income students. At these colleges and universities, undergraduate students that identify as Hispanic make up at least 25 percent of total enrollment. TCUs are colleges and universities associated with American Indian and Native Alaskan tribes. The federal government provides grants and related assistance to TCUs to enable such institutions to improve and expand their capacity to serve American Indian and Native Alaskan students. AANAPISIs are institutions that receive federal discretionary
funding to improve and expand their capacity to serve Asian-Americans and Native American Pacific Islanders and low-income students. At these colleges and universities, undergraduate students who identify as Asian-American or Native American Pacific Islander make up at least 10 percent of total enrollment.
The set of minority institutions that have received support from ARL, and which were considered by the committee, included those that serve black, Hispanic, and Native American student populations. Throughout this report, the term HBCU/MI is used when these institutions are collectively referred to.
The committee gathered data in three main ways: (1) discussions with representatives of national organizations whose members include minority institutions; (2) discussions with representatives from organizations within the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Office of the Secretary of Defense that sponsor programs supporting minority institutions; and (3) visits with administrators, faculty, and students at selected institutions that have received funding from the ARL under its HBCU/MI support programs. In addition, the members of the committee examined literature relevant to the study and shared information and experiences from their deep knowledge base and backgrounds relevant to the study.
The committee was charged to examine the ways in which HBCUs/MIs have used the ARL funds to enhance the STEM programs at their institutions and to consider which elements among the ARL HBCU/MI programs reflect practices that are effective for assisting HBCUs/MIs in enhancing the STEM programs at the institutions. The examination therefore focused on the practices whereby ARL administers its support to HBCU/MI institutions and the practices by which those institutions secure and apply that support to enhance their STEM programs. ARL provided to the committee detailed descriptions of the available programs and processes whereby they are administered, as well as detailed quantitative data describing the recipients of support under each of its programs, including the funding level in each year for each institution and investigator supported. The HBCU/MI institutions visited by the committee were asked to describe their processes for securing support, administering programs and projects, and using the support to enhance their STEM programs. These institutions provided informative discussions pertinent to these issues, and they often supported their descriptions with anecdotes indicating their perceptions of successes and challenges with respect to STEM enhancement and ARL processes. The institutions did not provide the committee with detailed quantitative data that could be subjected to analysis, and no such quantitative data relating to ARL programs for these institutions were available in the literature. The committee engaged in discussions with representatives of the following national organizations: Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), and the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS).
The committee engaged in discussions with representatives of the following Department of Defense organizations: Army Research Laboratory Outreach Program Office; Army Research Office/ARL Technology Integration and Outreach Division; Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering; Air Force Research Laboratory/Air Force Office of Scientific Research; Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition; Office of Naval Research; and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Naval Sea Systems Command.
The committee visited and engaged in discussions with representatives of the following academic institutions: City University of New York, Hampton University, Howard University, Morgan State University, Navajo Technical University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, and the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. A teleconference discussion was conducted with administrators and faculty at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.
The committee also engaged in discussions with staff at the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities.
This report represents the committee’s consensus findings and recommendations, developed through careful deliberations during four committee meetings and reviewed by a separately appointed Report Review Committee appointed by the NRC.
This chapter discusses the statement of task that guided the committee’s work and the methods of data gathering employed toward developing this report. Chapter 2 discusses the context within which the ARL programs operate. Chapter 3 discusses the general perspectives of the community of minority institutions, and Chapter 4 summarizes the impressions and findings garnered from visits to and discussions with selected minority institutions. Chapter 5 summarizes the committee’s findings pertaining to ARL principal investigator and collaborative research programs for HBCUs/MIs. The committee’s recommendations are presented in Chapter 6. The appendixes provide additional discussion of the impressions and findings garnered from visits to and discussions with selected minority institutions, a summary description of collaborative programs at ARL, biographical information on the committee members, and a list of acronyms found in the report.