Tuskegee University to participate in $50M science education initiative

10/31/2012


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (October 31, 2012) — The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has selected Tuskegee University as one of 47 colleges and universities in the United States that are the recipients of grants totaling more than $50 million that will enable the schools to work together to create more engaging science classes, bring real-world research experiences to students, and increase the diversity of students who study science.

Tuskegee will receive a total of $1 million from the institute over the next four years in order to provide Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences or CUREs, with the goal of integrating authentic research modules throughout the curriculum. Using microbiology as a foundational discipline, Tuskegee’s proposed program, the MICROBE Project (Microbiological Infusions in Careers, Research Opportunities and Biomedical Education), will allow more students to participate in research with the added benefit of expanding student interest in science-based curriculum and careers. The plan includes a collaborative agreement with Wallace Community College-Selma with the WCCS- Alabama Black Belt High School Bridge Initiative and a summer program initiative, Discovery TREK -Tuskegee Research and Enrichment Kamp.

The plan also includes the purchase of new equipment to improve Tuskegee’s research infrastructure and support for students to gain course-based research experiences while being mentored by university faculty. There is also a teacher education component, which will broaden the participation of students and faculty across Alabama in this initiative. The grant allows for a technical staff member to be hired as well.

This is the largest grant Tuskegee has received from the institute’s Undergraduate Science Education Program under the Colleges and Universities initiative. The institute awarded Tuskegee University grants of $900,000 in 1988, $500,000 in 1993, $600,000 in 1996, $700,000 in 2000, and $1 million in 2012 for combined total funding of $3.7 million.

The partnership with Wallace hopes to increase the participation of underrepresented minority students from Alabama’s Black Belt counties. It is also designed to increase the enrollment of undergraduate science majors by serving as one of several science and research pipelines for Tuskegee University.

The principal investigator for the grant is Luther S. Williams, provost and vice president for academic affairs. According to Williams, this new award is particularly significant because, “its focus on the infusion of authentic research into courses is fully in congruence with the enumerated competencies that attend the recently implemented new undergraduate biology curriculum; of parallel significance is the partnership between Tuskegee and Wallace Community College.”


© 2012 Tuskegee University

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