NACME BLOG

The 2013 NACME Symposium Research and Policy Journal

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I am delighted to announce that the 2013 NACME Symposium Research and Policy Journal has been completed and is now available for download on nacme.org. This impressive document contains original research and introduces strategies that represent the kind of out-of-the-box thinking required to address the obstacles and opposition facing underrepresented minority students in STEM education and careers.

NACME’s decision to hold this event in our nation’s capital was intended to connect our outstanding research efforts and programs to the need for legislative action that would ensure impact. Policymakers require enhanced links between research and policy in order to avoid the kind of policies that are unlikely to attain their objectives.

The 2013 NACME Symposium Research and Policy Journal features research-based practices that are required to move the needle on advancing more successful underrepresented minority women and men into STEM education and careers. All speakers from the 2013 NACME National Symposium contributed to this journal, connecting their work in education, policy, and the workforce to the theme for this event, which was "Take Action: Changing STEM Education for Underrepresented Minorities through Research and Policy." Below are some of the countless highlights from this compilation:

Catalyzing the Pre-Engineering Pathway for URM Students – Vince Bertram, President and CEO of Project Lead the Way, highlighted several promising practices for K-12 education, including identifying and developing role models and internship opportunities with corporations, and exposing students to hands-on, engaging STEM curricula that will help them develop a richer understanding of their subject material. Kenneth Hill, President and CEO of the Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program, focused on the importance of early intervention efforts between ages one through eight to properly develop the future STEM workforce. Bill Taylor, Associate Vice President of Network Engagement and Growth at the National Academy Foundation, highlighted how a high school career academy model holds the promise of increasing the number of underrepresented minorities who seek STEM careers.

The College Affordability Crisis – Justin Draeger, President of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, discussed important policy considerations in light of the current academic landscape, including the need to change how students repay their loans if the current debt levels persist. Tina Farrenkopf, Director of Programs at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), examined the full circle of support model as a means of developing American Indian and Alaska Native talent in the STEM fields. Michele Lezama, Executive Director of The National GEM Consortium, discussed the disparity in student debt levels for underrepresented minorities in comparison to their peers, and the importance of providing funding to those individuals in need. Finally, Dr. Chad Womack, National Director of STEM Initiatives at UNCF, discussed the importance of empowering our youth to become innovators and entrepreneurs that will transform society.

The Mathematics Conundrum – Robert Moses, Founder and President of The Algebra Project, highlighted several interventions aimed at middle and high school students, including one that aims to enable students who enter high school performing in the lowest quartile on state or national mathematics achievement tests to graduate on time and to take credit-bearing college mathematics courses. Gregg Fleisher, Chief Academic Officer at the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), showed the success of NMSI schools in improving student achievement, including a demonstrable increase in AP qualifying scores in English, math, and science for all students, including URMs. Vanessa Hill, Professor at Springfield Technical Community College, highlighted an approach that focuses on at-risk courses as opposed to at-risk students, and examines the role of the teacher in those courses with a high rate of failure. Finally, Dr. Nathan Klingbeil, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor at Wright State University, summarized the results of a first-year engineering course that substantially mitigated the effect of incoming math preparation on student success in engineering, which has the potential to double the graduation rate of engineering students at open access institutions.

Innovations in STEM Teaching and Learning – Dr. Jacqueline Fleming, Independent Researcher, highlighted several cutting-edge methods of teaching 21st Century students, including subliminal messages in PowerPoint slides and subliminal prompts in human-computer interaction, that have the potential to enhance the current classroom environment. Dr. Etta Hollins, Professor and Endowed Chair at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, focused on the concept of cultural congruence in instruction, which can facilitate deep knowing for K-12 underrepresented students. Dr. Jamie Bracey, Director of STEM Education, Outreach & Research and Founding Director of Pennsylvania MESA at Temple University’s College of Engineering, argued that STEM learning is not culture neutral, and that students’ engagement and motivation to persist in these subjects is tied to their sense of belonging and membership in these fields. Finally, Dr. Kelly Mack, Vice President for Undergraduate STEM Education, and Executive Director of Project Kaleidoscope, of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, recommended a departure from the traditional “fix-the-student” model of reform, and instead focuses on addressing the infrastructural barriers that are preventing URM success in the STEM subjects.

Keynote Speaker – Dr. Willard Daggett, Founder and Chairman of the International Center for Leadership in Education, provided a framework for teachers and organizational and instructional leaders to inform and guide learning and instruction.

Shaping Engineering Public Policy – Marilyn Berry Thompson, Chair of Federal Practice at MWW Group, highlighted NACME’s federal policy recommendations, including making certain that non-profit entities are recognized in federal legislation, making federal funds available for URM STEM scholars, and providing research opportunities for URM STEM scholars in federally designated centers of excellence and corporations. I discussed the paradigm shift that is occurring in the way we look at STEM teaching and learning with students of color, which should influence federal funding and STEM policy. Finally, Theodore Shaw, Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University, discussed the historical context and implications of the Fisher vs. University of Texas, Austin case.

Ensuring a Diverse Engineering Workforce – Dr. Anthony Carnevale, Professor and Director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, discussed the barriers that exist for pursuing a STEM career, including social structure, the structure of the labor market, and the values and interests of youth. Stephen Barkanic, Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer for the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF), highlighted several promising initiatives, including the BHEF STEM Higher Education and Workforce Project, which aims to increase undergraduate student retention in the STEM disciplines and develop a national network to scale evidence-based practices through collaborations, along with several other needed objectives. Sue Barsamian, Vice President of Global Operations, Software, at the Hewlett-Packard Company, discussed connecting philanthropic goals to corporate objectives and missions, and provided a framework for mapping philanthropic initiatives to ROI. Finally, Mary Wright, Program Director for Jobs for the Future, highlighted the importance of community colleges, and recommends that these institutions utilize real-time labor market information to improve the information, counseling, and outreach they provide to students.

The 2013 NACME Symposium Research and Policy Journal serves as a call to action for policymakers to embrace the proven, effective approaches targeted to this hidden workforce of young men and women who have traditionally been underrepresented in STEM education and careers. We are extremely proud of its content, and encourage you download a copy and share it among your network.