Education ForumScience Education

Replicating Meyerhoff for inclusive excellence in STEM

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Science  26 Apr 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6438, pp. 335-337
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar5540

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Summary

Ethnic minorities comprise rapidly growing portions of the populations of most developed countries (1) but are underrepresented in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) (2, 3). Efforts to increase diversity in the STEM workforce, important for developing more effective approaches to group problem-solving (46), have been under way in the United States for decades, but widespread impact remains relatively low (3). The Meyerhoff Scholars Program (MYS) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), provides a promising model for increasing retention and academic performance of underrepresented minority (URM) undergraduates in STEM and for preparing those undergraduates to pursue and succeed in graduate and professional programs (7, 8). Although MYS is nearly 30 years old and outcomes for African-American STEM majors have been extensively documented [see (7, 8) and references therein], no other majority university [not meeting the definition of being a minority-serving institution (MSI) (9)] has achieved similar outcomes (10). We describe here some promising early indicators that an interinstitutional partnership approach can help enable MYS-like outcomes at majority universities with different URM compositions, geographies, and institutional sizes and cultures: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and Pennsylvania State University at University Park (PSU).