Integrating STEM at Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University has a number of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) educational outreach programs that overlap in the area of recruiting new students and in the mentoring of STEM students from underrepresented groups. Through an ”Integrated STEM Initiative on the South Plains” (ISISP), Texas Tech is providing increased resources and institutional support for K-12 outreach, recruitment, and mentoring, thereby enhancing and supporting the existing STEM educational outreach programs.
The major focus of ISISP is to build a long term base whereby K-12 students across the South Plains are attracted to study STEM disciplines at Texas Tech. ISISP provides administrative support for existing outreach and mentoring programs through an outreach faculty member and a recruiter who visits K-12 schools and community colleges throughout west Texas for the purpose of presenting STEM activities and increasing participation in Texas Tech’s currently funded projects. The ultimate goal is to provide greater coordination and coherency among ongoing programs so STEM and Education faculty who participate in these activities are being formally linked together as a TTU outreach network and Texas Tech University administration has committed to a dialogue on the nature of faculty reward for outreach work. Strong institutional support for ISISP comes from the President of Texas Tech, the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and the Vice President for Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement.
By integrating the activities of multiple projects, ISISP is:
- Increasing the number of high quality, diverse high school and community college students who enroll as STEM majors at TTU.
- Creating functioning math clubs at 20 K-12 schools across west Texas.
- Creating summer math academies at 10 K-12 schools across west Texas.
- Creating a long term STEM recruitment specialist at TTU whose activities would be coordinated with the Center for Undergraduate Research, with the College of Arts & Sciences, and with TTU’s Division of Institutional Diversity and Community Engagement, which has oversight of academic programs for recruiting, assimilating, and retaining students from underserved populations.
- Creating a long term Coordinator of Outreach at TTU.
- Increasing the number of baccalaureate STEM degrees earned at TTU by students from underrepresented groups.
- Exceeding recruitment goals articulated for the existing STEM programs.
- Eliminating overlap between TTU outreach programs.
- Establishing a formal proposal for the administration at TTU for the recognition and reward of outreach work as part of the tenure and promotion process.
- Creating a formal pathway within each participating school to progress from high school to a college degree in the STEM disciplines.
The “Integrated STEM Initiative on the South Plains” brings together NSF/EHR awards from the GK-12, MSP, Noyce Scholarship and S-STEM programs, as well as other work, around the Innovation through Institutional Integration integrative themes for broadening participation and critical educational junctures.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0930257. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
PI: Lawrence Schovanec
Co-PI: Jaclyn Cañas-Carrell
Co-PI: Jerry Dwyer
Professor of Mathematics
Coordinator of STEM Outreach
Director, STEM Center for Outreach, Research & Education