National Science Foundation
INCLUDES Conference 2017
NSF INCLUDES Conference Abstract
This award supports a conference and related activities which will bring together researchers, higher education administrators, industry representatives, members of professional societies, and other community members to design collective impact initiatives to improve the retention and continuation of Hispanics, women, and other underrepresented groups in STEM fields.
Retention and continuation to the next step in their educational careers is a particular challenge for underrepresented minorities and first-generation students, whether in community college, four-year institutions, or graduate programs (Ishitani 2006, Sowell et al. 2015). The conference focuses explicitly on this critical issue, and will identify potential remedies that can scale across different types of institutions, communities, and underrepresented groups. This conference will employ a collective impact, networked improvement approach to help fill this gap and engage the broader community. This approach offers a means of identifying and agreeing upon shared, measurable objectives, mechanisms for coordination across individuals and organizations, a commitment to contrast and comparison, and an ethic of continuous improvement.
Drawing from the extant literature and recommendations from a wide array of stakeholders, the team will propose measurable strategies for Alliances and the National INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners that have been Underrepresented for Diversity in Engineering and Science) Network that can be implemented, tested, enhanced, and expanded. The workshop team will draw on evidence-based knowledge, leveraging findings from disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields and from differing types of institutions and educational levels to determine whether strategies identified can yield large-scale progress towards INCLUDES goals. Results will inform the INCLUDES Alliances and the backbone organization supporting the Alliances.