news

LTU boosts STEM opportunities through $300,000 grant

Release Date: June 24, 2014
shamirweb.jpg

                    Lior Shamir

Lawrence Technological University has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) for curriculum development that will increase diversity and equity in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

LTU was one of 20 universities and colleges nationwide – and the only one in Michigan – to receive the three-year grant through the AAC&U initiative, Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM (TIDES).

The initiative will support curriculum and faculty development activities to develop models for broader institutional change for the advancement of evidence-based and culturally competent teaching in STEM, particularly in the computer and information science domains.

LTU met the criteria for the TIDES grant program through a:

• High level of institutional readiness.
• Demonstrated commitment to sustaining project activities.
• Targeted focus on increasing the number of women and underrepresented minorities in the undergraduate computer/information science disciplines.
• Innovative linking of computer/information sciences with other STEM and non-STEM courses.

Assistant Professor Lior Shamir of LTU’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science is the principal investigator (PI) for the grant, and Dean of Arts and Sciences Hsiao-Ping Moore and Assistant Professor of Psychology Franco Delogu are the co-PIs.

LTU’s College of Arts and Sciences has started to integrate course-based undergraduate research as a way to introduce more students to research earlier in their collegiate careers. Instead of waiting until their senior year to conduct research as part of a senior project, some LTU students will now do research in connection with course assignments.

“Course-based undergraduate research is an emerging approach to improve retention in STEM, especially for underrepresented minority and female students,” Shamir said. “Integrating research into undergraduate courses will significantly transform STEM education at LTU.”

Under the terms of the TIDES grant, in the next three years LTU will:

• Provide STEM faculty with opportunities to become proficient in incorporating culturally sensitive pedagogies into STEM courses.
• Develop interdisciplinary courses that include the computer/information science disciplines.
• Engage in course implementation that is grounded in evidence-based pedagogies that are culturally sensitive.

“It is critically important for higher education to find ways to increase success in STEM fields for both women and all students from underserved communities,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider.

The TIDES initiatives is funded by a $4.9 million grant to AAC&U from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. See www.aacu.org/pkal/tides/index.cfm for more information about the TIDES project.