Bridges Across Texas-Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation
In 2017 after a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), we established the Bridges Across Texas LSAMP (BAT-LSAMP) Pre-Alliance as a collaboration among six institutions of higher education in Texas – four community colleges (Dallas College [DC], McLennan Community College [MCC], South Plains College [SPC], and Texas Southmost College [TSC]) and two four-year institutions (Texas Tech University [TTU] and the University of North Texas at Dallas [UNTD]). This collaboration represented a demographically diverse and geographically large region that lacked LSAMP support in a state with a growing number of STEM-based career needs and a rapidly changing demographic. However, the number of underrepresented minorities (URMs) earning STEM degrees and supplying workforce needs is still disproportionately low in the state. In the 18-month Pre-Alliance, we conducted surveys and interviews to gather data on barriers faced by URMs (focusing here on Hispanics and African Americans) at two- and four-year institutions and on infrastructure at each partner institution to support a full Alliance. Our Pre-Alliance identified barriers to URM success and persistence in STEM majors.
This new NSF-funded grant (Award ID: 2110048) will use the research and information gathered by our Alliance to continue the mission of increasing the number of underrepresented minorities earning STEM degrees across the state of Texas. This BAT-LSAMP Alliance is a collaboration with five institutions of higher education in Texas - three community colleges (DC, SPC and TSC) along with two four-year institutions (TTU and UNTD). The BAT-LSAMP Alliance will establish a physical undergraduate STEM Center at each institution and work together to connect students and resources, and success across the state. The top priorities will be addressed at each institution: (1) academic advising and support (including tutoring); (2) mentoring (including peer-to-peer and faculty-to-student); (3) STEM-focused materials such as textbooks, access to computers or other technology; and (4) social and peer support to promote a sense of community and belonging. One of the biggest challenges for students transferring from community colleges to four-year institutions is a lack of connection. The grant seeks to help students build relationships with four-year institution students and professors from their first experience at their community college. We posit that using a virtual network that allows students at two-year institutions to access resources at four-year institutions and build networks before transferring will enhance student sense of belonging and, therefore, increase the retention of these students. In addition, four-year institution faculty and staff will build relationships with transfer students through the virtual network, which will provide a support network when two-year institution students transfer.
This site will contain information about the BAT-LSAMP Alliance. For updates for each individual institution and their undergraduate STEM centers, please view the links below:
- Dallas College: Dr. Rebecca Britt, Program Director
- South Plains College: Dr. Laci Alexander, Program Director
- Texas Southmost College: Robert Stone, Co-PI; Martha Casquette, Program Director
- Texas Tech University: Dr. Raegan Higgins, Lead PI; Dr. Jessica Spott, Program Director
- UNT Dallas: Dr. Donna Hamilton, Co-PI
This program is funded by the National Science Foundation, Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, Award # 2110048.