Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

Historically Black Alabama A&M University has received a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to improve student success in undergraduate and graduate programs in nuclear engineering. New learning models and units on nuclear engineering skill-set development will aim to improve retention and graduation rates in this discipline as well as increase participation of women and underrepresented minorities in the nuclear engineering workforce.

A joint project between Iowa State University and historically Black North Carolina A&T State University has received a $368,695 grant from the National Science Foundation. The project will study microaggressions in college engineering which the researchers believe may be a cause of why there are so few women and minority students in engineering programs. “The project will contribute to diversifying engineering programs through increased awareness of the subtle behaviors that engineering students experience in college,” the grant proposal states. “Creating an environment where minority students feel safe and included allow educating a competitive workforce which will ultimately positively impact our society by incorporating the needs and perspectives of all student groups.”

Researchers from historically Black Florida A&M University and Florida State University College of Engineering have received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop several models that address how the uncertainty of a hurricane track can affect evacuation practices. Additionally, the grant includes an educational component for students at the College of Engineering.

Bates College has received a $1.2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to strengthen the college’s humanities and humanistic social science curriculum and teaching. The grant will fund strategies to create a 21st-century curriculum, support the faculty’s capacity to more effectively teach and mentor a diverse student population, and remove barriers to academic success particularly experienced by students from marginalized groups.

Historically Black Florida A&M University, in collaboration with the University of Florida and the University of Southern California, has received a $16 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to establish a center that will address cancer health equity in Black and Latino populations, while also providing cancer research, education, and training experiences. The grant will promote individual research and career development for underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early-stage investigators.

Historically Black Savannah State University in Georgia has received a $3.92 million seven-year extension of the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) Partnership Grant from the United States Department of Education. The GEAR UP program helps the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System with high school graduation and college enrollment efforts by enabling students to gain the academic skills and motivation necessary to enroll in a postsecondary institution. The program will enroll approximately 700 6th and 7th grader students from DeRenne and Hubert middle schools as a cohort to begin the program this fall. The project will track the group as they matriculate through middle school, high school, and their first year of college.

Historically Black Tuskegee University has received a $458,000 grant from the National Science Foundation that will allow Tuskegee researchers to assess academic success among students studying engineering and other STEM disciplines.  The project will investigate how students develop intellectually from a dualistic view of the world to a realistic understanding of the challenges in context of engineering in particular and STEM in general. The project has already started to collect survey responses from participating first-year students to establish a baseline to see where students are located on the ambiguity spectrum. After the data is collected, researchers will redesign two STEM courses to include real-world problems that will help students develop their critical-thinking skills.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has received a major collaborative research grant from the National Science Foundation’s Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate program. The award is a five-year grant that provides $2.2 million to three institutions, with $663,163 to UNC Charlotte. The goal of the grant is to increase the number of historically underrepresented minority faculty, in specific STEM disciplines and STEM education research fields, by advancing knowledge about pathways to career success. Principal investigator Dr. Yvette Huet and her team, in collaboration with researchers from historically Black North Carolina A&T State University and North Carolina State University, are working to develop, implement, and study a model to create institutional, department-level, and faculty change and promote Ph.D. completion and progression to faculty career among underrepresented doctoral students in STEM disciplines.

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