Transcript of Leading Improvements in Higher Education s01e26
Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP), a National Science Foundation program
Stephen Hundley: I'm Stephen Hundley from IUPUI, and this is Leading Improvements in Higher Education, a service of the Assessment Institute in Indianapolis.
Our sponsor for this season is Watermark, the largest global provider of educational intelligence software solutions for higher education.
In this episode, we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP), a grant program of the National Science Foundation serving historically underserved students in the STEM disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Our guests are LeRoy Jones II, Kim Nguyen, and Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy.
LeRoy is Professor of Chemistry and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Chicago State University. Kim is Director for Statewide and Regional Collaborations in the STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute at IUPUI.
Zakiya is Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Science at Louisiana State University. I know you will enjoy learning about the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation on this episode of Leading Improvements in Higher Education.
I am so excited about today's episode because we're going to be discussing the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation and the 30th anniversary of this important program.
I'm pleased that Zakiya, Kim, and LeRoy are with us. I'd like to begin by asking each of you to tell us a little bit about your backgrounds. Briefly share a little bit about what you do in your current role and what led you to this work. We'll start with Zakiya followed by Kim and then LeRoy. Zakiya.
Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy: I'm so thrilled to have this opportunity to participate in this conversation with you today.
So, I grew up in small rural towns in Mississippi in a working-class family. One of the earliest memories that I have is of my mom talking with me about the importance of community and really, what are we going to do to support our communities.
She would tell us that we are blessed and needed to think about how we're going to use these blessings to help others.
Throughout my academic journey in high school and college, I've benefited from summer programs and student development efforts at several agencies, Tougaloo College, Alabama A&M University, and Jackson State University, which is also my alma mater.
These efforts were extremely critical in my development as a scholar and leader and I'm passionate about broadening participation and have dedicated so much of my professional life to this work.
Though I'm a chemist by training with both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemistry, along the way, I realized how I could use my passion to help students find their own paths in science and mathematics.
So, through my work, I've sought to pay it forward by creating opportunities and access for the next generation of scientists.
Currently, I serve as an associate research professor in chemistry education and assist the need for diversity and inclusion in the College of Science at LSU, and among the many hats that I wear, I serve as a co-investigator on an LSAMP Center of Excellence that focuses on engaging faculty and students in international activities and another one that focuses on preparing students for academic careers.
These are the ways that I'm supporting and contributing to the LSAMP community, kind of what passion drives that participation, and really just recognizing how much the community contributed to me and my development as a leader and really trying to pay that forward.
Stephen Hundley: So, Zakiya, thank you for that introduction. Let's now come to Kim to learn about her background. Kim.
Kim Nguyen: My name is Kim Nguyen. I'm currently the Director of the Indiana Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation and also Co-Director of the Louis Stokes Midwest Regional Center of Excellence.
In my day job, I also have a title called Director of Regional and State Collaboration in the Center in the entity of STEM Education and Research at IUPUI.
I came to this role and function as Director of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Indiana simply because my interest in my dissertation for my PhD is on the retention and dropout rate of minority in the STEM field.
In 2003, I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the LSAMP project led by Purdue University and serve as IUPUI campus coordinator for the LSAMP project there.
In the next 10 years, I began to appreciate what the program does and how we have been able to impact the diversity and the demographic of the student holding a STEM degree.
So, in 2014, I led the team at IUPUI to apply for and receive the award from National Science Foundation to establish the Indiana LSAMP, and we are going strong during our fifth year of the first phase of the LSAMP.
During that time, I also served as a co-director with Dr. LeRoy Jones here, initially in the pilot Center of Excellence.
In 2012 and later in 2018, I am directing the Louis Midwest Regional Center of Excellence at IUPUI and the Center we call LSMRCE will be the host of the 30th anniversary of the LSAMP Program.
Stephen Hundley: Kim, thank you for that introduction, and I should acknowledge, of course, Kim Nguyen is a colleague of mine at IUPUI, and in full disclosure, I am fortunate to be one of the co-principal investigators on the Indiana LSAMP project that Kim referenced, and our Chancellor, Nasser Paydar is its principal investigator.
So, we've been talking to Zakiya and Kim, and now we come to LeRoy to hear about his background. LeRoy.
LeRoy Jones II: Well, Stephen, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to participate in this podcast.
I'm certainly thrilled to be on this podcast with my colleague, Zakiya, as well as Kim. I am currently the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in Chicago State University and also a professor of chemistry. I've been here since 2000, so I'm going on 21 years here.
Just a little background on Chicago State--it was founded in 1867, and it's a predominately Black public university in the state of Illinois.
One of the things that I want to note in my role as dean is I direct the largest college encompassing the fine and performing arts and humanities, social behavioral sciences, in STEM disciplines - so right at 50 programs that I manage here at Chicago State.
But the thing that I really want to highlight is the work that I've been doing over the last 21 years with just broadening participation.
And I've been doing this, directing the Illinois LSAMP program as well. As Kim mentioned a little bit earlier, we co-founded the initial pilot Center for the LSMRCE.
Then also here at Chicago State, I founded the Center for STEM Education and Research.
Once again, this program has really helped me to broaden participation of underrepresented and underserved minorities, females, and people with disabilities in STEM.
My journey - what really led me here - goes all the way back to my freshman year when I was in high school.
I took one semester of chemistry, and then four years later, I showed up at my institution, Bradley University, saying that I wanted to be a chemist, and, as you might imagine, I was grossly unprepared.
Most of the students that I was taking class with had taken two or three years of chemistry.
But the key was this Stephen, it wasn't that I wasn't able to do chemistry. The fact of the matter was I just wasn't prepared to compete at the time.
So, my institution allowed me to go down and take nursing chemistry, and the rest is history. I went on and got a Bachelor of Science in chemistry with a minor in religious studies, went off from there, got a PhD again in chemistry, did a postdoc at Caltech, and then I ended up in industry working for Amoco Research Center here in Naperville, Illinois as a research scientist.
But one of the things that I noticed as I was going all the way through, there wasn't a lot of people that looked like me, and in particular, African American males.
So, when I reflect on what actually got me here, I would have to say it's my passion for educating groups or what I call unrealized potential, which can really span across multiple ethnicities.
So, I gain the most gratification by making students aware of opportunities, but more importantly, helping them to realize how their innate abilities align in any given discipline.
That's really my story.
Stephen Hundley: LeRoy, you're talking about educating groups of unrealized potential.
Thank you for that introduction, and LeRoy, let me just stay with you for our next set of questions.
We're going to be talking a lot about an acronym known as LSAMP, and I should remind us that that is the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation. So, LeRoy, what is LSAMP, how did it begin, and why is it important for higher education specifically, and for our broader society?
LeRoy Jones II: Thank you for the question, Stephen. LSAMP is one of many programs nestled in the Division of Human Resource Development in the Directorate of Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation in Alexandria, Virginia.
What's unique about this program is that it was actually authorized by Congress in 1991 to significantly increase the quality and quantity of underrepresented minority students successfully completing STEM B.S. degree programs to diversify the workforce.
When you look at what has happened since 1991, we currently have over 50 active alliances throughout the nation, encompassing more than 600 institutions; and why this is important to higher education is because these programs, over the last 30 years, have actually developed different programs and initiatives that can really serve as a roadmap to institutions of higher education in how to develop support programs for underrepresented minorities and underserved students in STEM.
When we look at the broader society, I think that we would all agree on this podcast that really a diversity of thought is needed to develop the challenging problems that we face daily.
A good example of that is what we were able to accomplish during the pandemic - coming up with that vaccine in a record amount of time.
But the other thing, we have to look at it also on a global scale in order for us to become globally competitive in the 21st century. It's definitely in STEM we have to have a diversity of people at the table working on these problems and different challenges, so that we can be successful moving forward.
Stephen Hundley: LeRoy, I appreciate you giving us a background on the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation and describing the importance of having diversity of thought in the STEM disciplines.
And, of course, those are, broadly, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. So, Zakiya, what are the types of activities or programs that various LSAMPs implement to support underrepresented and underserved students in these STEM disciplines?
Why is an alliances model - and we should note that's the 'A' in the LSAMP - why is the alliances model so critical to broadening participation in STEM?
Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy: As my colleague LeRoy shared, LSAMP has been around for 30 years, and they were authorized by Congress to diversify the STEM workforce.
So, you can imagine that that means recruitment and retention is a huge component of that work. Beyond recruiting students from historically underrepresented and underserved groups into the STEM degree programs, LSAMP has been focused on retaining those students in our STEM ecosystems.
Using evidence-based approaches, many of our alliances had used Tinto's model to develop and implement student retention initiatives. This model has found that academic and social integration into the scientific community are critical for supporting the success of students who are oft times under recognized for their potential and talent for succeeding in a STEM academic or career pathway.
The alliances are incredibly important for this work, because at their foundation, they are a community that is being leveraged to support and advance student success models, such as Tinto's, not just on a single campus which is good, but across networks throughout our country.
That provides the conditions for true collective impact.
We currently have, as LeRoy shared, over 50 alliances with multiple institutions in each alliance. The HBCUs, R1 institutions, tribal colleges, Hispanic institutions, and everything in between.
The diversity of the institutions and the alliances collectively working to develop student-centric efforts to increase the number of individuals from historically underrepresented groups in STEM is absolutely amazing.
Within our alliances, different universities are using slightly different approaches to do this. They have different rationales and are also developing programs that are responsive to the unique institutional context.
And yet all of these efforts are built on evidence-based practices such as Tinto's work.
Some of these strategies include engagement in undergraduate research, mentoring, tutoring services, research-based courses, science communication, international activities, and so much more.
But it's this rich and immersion of students into these really critical learning paradigms that really position these students for success at the undergraduate and graduate levels and prepare those students for careers in STEM.
Stephen Hundley: Zakiya, thank you for talking about the important work of using evidence-informed strategies to support the recruitment, retention, and success of students in the higher education STEM ecosystem as you were mentioning.
You noted the Tinto model, I will just mention that Vincent Tinto is the scholar to whom Zakiya is referring, and we'll provide some links on our website for listeners who would like to learn more about the Tinto model. Our website, of course, assessmentinstitute.IUPUI.edu.
Kim, let's come to you now, and you lead the Louis Stokes Midwest Regional Center of Excellence. What is the purpose of this Center, how does its work support institutions who were funded through the LSAMP program? Kim.
Kim Nguyen: I'm pleased to be the one to follow on the narrative that Dr Wilson Kennedy has discussed about the LSAMP model and how we build various alliances to lead to successful recruiting and retaining of minority students in STEM.
In 2012, the National Science Foundation issued a call for proposals to establish a pilot Center of Excellence.
At that time, the pilot Center Excellence was thought of as serving a regional need of the alliance in the region, so we call that pilot Center the Midwest Center of Excellence with the purpose of serving all the LSAMP in the 15-16 states of the Midwest.
But it turned out that we were the only Center being funded by the National Science Foundation.
And we were asked to serve the national community of LSAMP alliances, so we were established as a pilot to see if that is what the program needed to have; and after five years of the pilot program, National Science Foundation decided it is exactly responding to the needs of the LSAMP community.
The Center can offer a platform for faculty, for students, for research scholars coming together to discuss, learn about best practice for broadening participation. But most of all, it's serving as a vehicle to disseminate information about LSAMP work, as well as broadening participation efforts by the National Science Foundation.
So, at LSMRCE, currently it's the second cycle of the Center of Excellence funding and we serve NSF in two ways. We act as the distribution center for all information that is pertinent to the LSAMP community and students, and we also offer a platform for all of us to come together to share and learn from each other, how to best serve our students, and broadening participation for minorities.
The current Center, LSMRCE, is a collaborative work between IUPUI and Chicago State University in collaboration with the Ohio State University and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab). We are serving to respond to the needs of information sharing, dissemination, and definitely one of the tools that the Center has is an online Broaden Participation Resource Center where all the LSAMP community can check out the resource that is available for their operation.;
We also host a national annual conference where all the students and scholars and administrators come and share our best practices to do our work. Right now, there are over 700,000 students in the LSAMP program across 56 alliances.
So, the LSMRCE, in this particular year, 2021, will be in charge of celebrating and conducting activities that spotlight the success of LSAMP program through our weekly seminar in October, as well as the LSMRCE Conference on October 22 through 24, and we are looking forward to celebrating the 30-year anniversary of LSAMP.
Stephen Hundley: Kim, you, of course, are the Louis Stokes Midwest Regional Center of Excellence Director, and you're remarking on something that is, I would believe, quite remarkable, and that is 700,000 students being served across 56 alliances to broaden participation for underserved and underrepresented students in the STEM disciplines.
I would invite our listeners to learn more about the Center that you, LeRoy, and other colleagues lead; that, again, the Louis Midwest Regional Center of Excellence. That website can be found at LSMRCE.org.
Zakiya, let's turn our attention to you to learn more about faculty members and the role they play in contributing to the success of STEM students, especially those historically underserved by these disciplines. What types of interventions or learning experiences are effective, and what recommendations do you have for STEM faculty wishing to make a difference in the classroom or laboratory setting? Zakiya.
Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy: Thank you so much for this question. Faculty members are important and crucial partners for LSAMP and for developing environments - ecosystems that support the success of students historically underrepresented in STEM.
We would all likely agree that faculty are the arbiters of knowledge. But they also set the tone for the work experiences of our students. If we return to Tinto's work, we understand that academic and social integration are important components our students' development.
We need to be able to foster experiences that help students to build their identities as scientists in a vision and potential for success in these fields.
Recent research has shown that faculty mindsets toward student success - their ideation of who can be successful in our disciplines - have a profound impact on learning outcomes and student academic performance. This means that if students perceive the faculty don't believe that they can be successful, there's less of a chance that they will be successful.
This plays into the work experiences of students in academic and research spaces and our laboratories and other areas; it's so incredibly important.
Faculty set the tone for what is expected in the spaces that they lead. Faculty serve as mentors and coaches, providing key skills necessary for building credentials for a career in science; they are arbiters of access to opportunities.
In this way, the role of faculty is extremely important.
We advocate that our faculty adopt holistic approaches, that they intentionally seek out potential in our students and hold students accountable in developing their potential.
We don't benefit from advancing students who are weak or not challenging students to move and be better to excel at all the things that they do. No one wins when we don't do that.
But we also don't benefit when we underestimate the talent of individuals unrecognized potential and don't work to intentionally build that potential and cultivate their account.
One of the amazing things about the LSAMP community is intentionality around building alliances and partnerships that cultivate the talent of individuals for excellence in STEM.
Stephen Hundley: Zakiya, thank you for talking about the important role faculty play, and you mentioned in particular that faculty set the tone, they serve as mentors, and, importantly, they're the arbiters of access to opportunities for our students - important reminders of really the impact that individual faculty members have on students' lives and their academic and professional success.
So, LeRoy, similarly to you, why is institutional leadership so important for this work?
How can administrators create cultures to attract, retain, educate, and graduate underrepresented and underserved students? LeRoy.
LeRoy Jones II: Stephen, thank you so much for this question.
As a dean of the largest college in Chicago state, I understand firsthand the importance of senior administrators creating this culture to attract, retain, educate, and graduate students in STEM disciplines.
One of the things that I would like to point out to you, which is an aspect of the LSAMP request for proposals, is that the program actually requires that the president or the provost, or some may call the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor, be the principal investigators.
And the reason why this was put in place is because the NSF wanted to ensure institutional leadership buy-in from the very, very top.
So, a lot of times I look at this as it provides, in a sense, what I call a muscle.
And the reason this is important is because often senior leadership is needed to overcome the potential institutional barriers or challenges that actually may prevent the different programs from being successful on campus.
So, for example, I remember when I first started at the university and I was directing the Illinois LSAMP Program, it was one thing for me to go to one of the units on campus for my students and say, hey, I really need for you to do this.
But it's another thing if I go and talk with my dean or the president's office and they go and say, you know what, you really need to move this paperwork for the student so they can receive their stipend to do research in a lab.
So, with that being said, this type of institutional leadership really supports and facilitates the development and implementation of the many things that my colleague Zakiya was talking about a little bit earlier when it comes to the academic and the social and professionalization strategies that are critical to attract, retain, educate, and graduate underrepresented and underserved STEM students.
So, long story short, when you have a senior administration that really buys-in and generally supports these types of programs, it really trickles down to the rest of the university, because it's letting them know that this is important, and this is something that truly the university wants to do in terms of increasing those types of students at our individual institutions.
Stephen Hundley: LeRoy, you're describing the important role that senior leaders play in the LSAMP process, and I would invite listeners to access the request for proposals that LeRoy was mentioning at the National Science Foundation website - that's nsf.gov.
You can search for Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation and, like most government websites, it's quite a long URL to get to that particular program, so we will provide a link at our website, assessmentinstitute.iupui.edu.
Kim, let me come back to you and ask you to put on your hat as one of the alliance leaders, of course, for the Indiana LSAMP alliance.
We note, of course, that you and I are co-principal investigators, along with our Chancellor Nasser Paydar at IUPUI, who is the principal investigator; and a colleague of ours from Ball State University is also involved - Patty Lang. We appreciate her involvement.
So, Kim, you're serving as the Indiana LSAMP alliance director; in your opinion, what makes for an effective, sustainable alliance? What strategies are used to help "lift up," if you will, institutions across the entire alliance?
Kim Nguyen: Thank you, Steven, for asking such a question that flows to my belief of why we are in the LSAMP community.
The communities are formed by various alliances. The alliance is a collective of institutions and individuals committed to a shared purpose, a shared objective, and, therefore, in order to lead an alliance, first and most important is building the relationship.
So, we have not only a shared belief, shared objective, but we have shared responsibility and shared leadership.
So, my role as a director of the Indiana LSAMP led me to be the expert, led me to be the guidance to help the campus champions who are coordinating our on-site program at their particular campus to operate and implement a program that supports students with a student center focus.
Student success is our goal, so I believe, with the support and buy-in of the leadership, and the importance of relationship building based on respect and shared responsibility, it will be the ingredients, the elements, that help a successful and sustainable alliance for the minority participation.
I believe the Indiana LSAMP for the last four years has come close to achieving that goal when we have an external evaluator asking for all the participants in the alliance, how did the partnership go? How do we work together?
And everyone has scored very high on this on the level of partnership, open communication, and shared responsibility. Thank you for the question.
Stephen Hundley: Kim, thank you for reminding us the important role that the alliances play in helping to build relationships across campuses.
Zakiya, let's turn our attention down to the individual student, because ultimately that's the population we're trying to effect and benefit from this work.
So, Zakiya, in what ways have individual students benefited from their involvement in various LSAMP programs? What are some examples of positive outcomes individuals have experienced because of their participation?
Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy: Students in LSAMP programs have benefitted from direct support and really this immersion in an ecosystem of evidence-based practices that have been designed to cultivate their talents as young scientists and engineers. Let me give you an example.
Paid research experiences are particularly impactful for underrepresented students from low- and moderate-income backgrounds who must work during college.
Without these types of developmental experiences, these students will be shut out of building skills necessary to be successful in a STEM academic or career pathway. Academic supports, like supplemental instruction and tutoring, help students to learn.
Mentoring helps students to build social capital and agency to understand what kinds of experiences they need to have to be competitive for things like fellowships, which are crucial for financing graduate study.
Mentoring also supports students at critical junctures in their academic program - even learning how to apply to graduate school.
There's a young woman I know who, as an undergraduate, was an exemplary student, graduating at the top of her major.
In fact, I think she had the top GPA of all the chemistry majors in her class.
No one really told her how to apply to graduate school while she was an undergraduate; everyone assumed she knew what to do. She didn't go to graduate school, and this impacted her career trajectory.
Fundamentally, LSAMP programs demystify what is needed to be successful and help prepare students by providing critical information and support that helps them to envision and navigate their academic and professional pathways in STEM.
This work fundamentally changes lives, and, by that, also changes and can impact generations.
You know, you can imagine what the trajectory looks like for someone that has these types of supports that doesn't come from the background with the social agency and knowledge to be able to navigate these fields; how having access to those kinds of things positions them for themselves, but also for their family.>
Stephen Hundley: Zakiya, thank you. You're reminding us that individual students benefit from support and immersion in evidence-based educational experiences.
For this next question, I'll first come to LeRoy followed by Kim.
2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation or LSAMP. What are some of the lessons learned from the past three decades, and how will this important milestone be recognized and celebrated? LeRoy.
LeRoy Jones II: Stephen thanks for the question. I want to go back to an earlier question that I answered just talking about the importance of institutional leadership.
One of the things that I want to highlight and that I learned over the last 30 years is that support of institutional leadership is critical for these type of diversity programs. When you have the support of your president or your chancellor, it really sets the tone for the rest of the university that the university is in support of increasing numbers of the diversity in the STEM disciplines.
And it really facilitates a higher degree of inclusiveness on campus and acceptance of different types of students in the discipline.
Another thing when I think about lessons learned, one of the things that the LSAMP program has been able to do is to remove the false narrative that underrepresented and underserved populations can't do and excel in STEM disciplines. Earlier when I was introducing myself, I told you a little bit about my story; and in my case, it wasn't that I couldn't do STEM, I just didn't have the proper grounding to be successful in that particular discipline, such as math, the chemistries, and the biologies.
So, the LSAMP program has really provided different support mechanisms to show that if these particular things are put into place, students can not only succeed, but they can excel and move into the STEM workforce or work toward graduate degrees so that they can contribute to the body of knowledge and science.
Stephen Hundley: LeRoy, thanks. You're reminding us of the important lessons learned around support of leadership setting the tone for this work and how providing support programs for student success positions STEM graduates for success in the workforce.
Kim, let me come to you again for some lessons learned from your experiences and how this important milestone will be recognized and celebrated. Kim.
Kim Nguyen: Thank you, LeRoy, for taking us to the benefits that we have seen and the accomplishments that the LSAMP program has achieved for the last 30 years. We have grown to 50 some alliances supporting thousands of students currently. The majority of the PIs as well as program directors are STEM research scientists.
For the last 30 years, we have graduated thousands of underrepresented minority who become leaders in their field. For instance, Dr Jerome Adams, our surgeon general, was one of our LSAMP earlier. We have had thousands of students' careers recorded in the recent LSAMP magazine published in early 2020.
They are trail blazers; they are innovators in various fields. But there was such a lack of publications about our success, about best practices that have been implemented by LSAMP across the country, that in recent five-six years NSF noticed and began to recognize the lack of publication on the success of the LSAMP Programs and practices.
So, the well-established LSAMPs now must include in their leadership team a social research scientist.
Therefore, we can begin to publish papers, going to talks, and do some more dissemination of the program success.
So, one of the lessons learned is that, I, as the director of the LSMRCE, notice we need to give a lift for these scientists and practitioners to publish papers about LSAMP.
Therefore, we are collecting peer reviewed articles to be published in
Frontier in STEM Education.
That collective of the special value about LSAMP best practice and LSAMP achievement will be released in October 2021 as a celebration activity of the LSAMP program on top of our LSMRCE hosting the annual conference in October.
These are some of the activities we are planning to recognize and promote the success of LSAMP and definitely mark the anniversary of the LSAMP. Thank you, Stephen.
Stephen Hundley: Kim, thanks to you and LeRoy for sharing some of the lessons learned and ways that the LSAMP programs will be recognized.
You highlighted the importance, of course, of ongoing dissemination about program successes.
As we conclude our time together, I'd like to ask each of you to talk about some of the future trends you foresee unfolding in the next three to five years related to LSAMPs mission of serving underrepresented and underserved STEM students.
So how should alliances be prepared to address these trends? For this set of questions, we'll first come to Zakiya, then LeRoy, followed by Kim. So Zakiya, consult your crystal ball, and what does the future foresee for you?
Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy: I'm looking into my crystal ball, and I shall tell you what I see.
All kidding aside, I think that a key trend for LSAMP is going to be expanding the development of individuals from underrepresented groups as global scientists.
In recent years, we've had a huge national focus on cyber, and we desperately need to develop talent in this area. But our recent pandemic has inspired a new generation of emerging leaders in science to think about other problems - big problems - that our society faces and unique ways the sciences - not just our technologies and computer science, but also basic and applied sciences - can address those problems.
In some ways, this is our Sputnik moment, and we're not just talking about developing scientists who are contributing in the U.S., but we're talking about developing STEM scholars who are positioned to be game changers on a global scale.
Because the problems that we're facing are not just national, they're global. This requires technical skills, but also global and multicultural competencies. The LSAMP community is well positioned to cultivate the talents of all our underrepresented students for this.
And our alliances are doing this, we just need to expand some of this work; it is a growth area for us.
This needs to be on our radar, and it needs to be a key focal point of our training models across all of our LSAMP alliances and institutions.
If you've been listening to this podcast, I think you would agree with me in saying and thinking that the impacts of LSAMP on higher education in our country have really been incalculable.
I agree with so much of what Kim shared - the lessons learned need to be disseminated. I'm so excited about that upcoming issue in
Frontiers in STEM Education that will highlight empirical studies of work of the alliances.
More of this is needed so that we are continuing to learn from others in our community and positioning those outside of our community to learn from the oft times heroic work that we're doing, so they can also engage in some of these things.
Stephen Hundley: So, Zakiya is challenging us to produce game changers prepared to address the big problems facing societies on a global scale.
So, LeRoy, to you, what does the future look like from your vantage point?
LeRoy Jones II: Steven, thanks for the question.
When I left Amoco and I returned to Chicago State, the push was to really educate underrepresented minorities and underserved populations to encourage them to go into in the STEM.
When I started working in Chicago State, I saw the problem was a little bit deeper than that. So, my Center started to develop programs to deal with postsecondary students to get them into the pipeline.
Well, once again, working with the postsecondary students, I started pushing down into the middle school. So, where I'm going with this is that one of the things that we're going to have to do in the future with our programs is try to figure out a better way to engage the K-12 sector. Two things are happening.
One we're losing too many potential STEM students in the pipeline. But the other thing is that we're seeing where LSAMP really helps to fill the gap is that we're having too many underrepresented minority students and underserved students showing up on campus under prepared for the rigor of the STEM disciplines.
One of the ways that we can actually do this is looking at that K 12 sector and trying to develop more teacher preparation opportunities to minimize the high attrition rates amongst STEM K-12 teachers and make sure that those teachers are equipped with the proper training so that they can help these students succeed in the disciplines as they move toward college.
Stephen Hundley: LeRoy, thank you. You're reminding us, among other things, of the need to foster greater linkages between K-12 and higher education, including a focus on teacher preparation.
Kim, finally to you for this question, what does the future look like from your vantage point?
Kim Nguyen: The future for LSAMP has to be linkages to other sectors of the economy of the US and global, which is career development.
How we can equip our graduate, the LSAMP scholar, with the skill and the knowledge necessary for the growing economy and technology paradigm shift here.
So, I see in the next few years, we, as directors of LSAMP alliances, are responsible to connect, to build bridges, with corporation business and industry to give opportunities for our students to see why they study STEM and what kind of employment opportunities await them in those private sectors, beside those who aspire to become a professor, earning a PhD to be STEM scientists.
We need to diversify the STEM workforce with very highly aware and skills provided to the LSAMP scholars. So, that's what I'm seeing. We are connecting with the world and to make the program a leader as the changer of the STEM economy.
Stephen Hundley: Like Zakiya and LeRoy, Kim is reminding us of a future trend focusing on “connecting to the world.”
As we conclude, I'd like each of you to leave our listeners with a brief final thought, and for the brief final thought, Kim, we'll start with you, followed by Zakiya, and conclude with LeRoy.
So, Kim, what is your brief final thought?
Kim Nguyen: It's the LSAMP Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation cannot sustain without faculty mentoring.
As alliance directors, we need to continue building relationships with the faculty who are mentors, who are role models, for our students who will have the inspiration to succeed in the future.
The work continues to rely on our work and our appreciation of the support we have at our particular institution.
Stephen Hundley: Kim, thank you. Now, Zakiya for your final thought.
Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy: As an undergraduate, I benefited from LSAMP on the campus of Jackson State University.
As an investigator on LSAMP efforts, I am so proud to be contributing to that legacy of LSAMP. We have come so far - such a long way - and yet, as Kim shared, there's so much work to do.
Collectively, the alliances are well positioned to do this work. We need the support of Congress and the National Science Foundation to advance and build upon the legacy of the past to push us forward into our future.
I'm very honored to be a participant, contributor, and a leader in it.
Stephen Hundley: Zakiya, thank you. And, finally, to LeRoy for your final thought.
LeRoy Jones II: Thank you, Stephen. When I think about the LSAMP program over the last 30 years, we have accomplished quite a bit, as my colleagues Kim and Zakiya were saying.
But there's still work to be done in order to affect that Congressional mandate back in 1991.
But, the flip side of it is that our future is very, very bright. One of the things that the pandemic taught us was that, as a society, we're very resilient. We're also a very resourceful nation when we put our minds together to tackle challenging problems.
And a challenging problem is diversifying the STEM workforce. So, with that being said, I am just looking forward to working with my LSAMP colleagues in this broadening participation arena to move the needle in a sense, in diversifying STEM disciplines, in this nation.
I'm proud to be affiliated with the LSAMP program and very proud of all the work that we've been able to accomplish over the last 30 years.
Stephen Hundley: LeRoy, thank you. We've been speaking with LeRoy Jones, II, Zakiya Wilson Kennedy and Kim Nguyen; and, in particular, we've been recognizing and celebrating the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, which is achieving an important milestone in 2021 - its 30th anniversary.
Our episode today has referenced a lot of models, publications, and resources; and we'll provide these, not only in the show notes for this episode, but also on our website. That website can be accessed at assessmentinstitute.iupui.edu. LeRoy, Zakeya, Kim, thanks so much for your time with us today.
LeRoy Jones II: Thank you, Steven, for this opportunity.
Kim Nguyen: Stephen, thank you so much for your great work with this effort and for really bringing us in to highlight the work that we've been doing at LSAMP the last 30 years.
Kim Nguyen: Stephen, thank you for giving us the opportunity to showcase the accomplishments of the LSAMP for the last 30 years.
Stephen Hundley: This has been Leading Improvements in Higher Education, a service of the Assessment Institute in Indianapolis.
Learn more and access other episodes at our website, assessmentinstitute.iupui.edu.
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I'm Stephen Hundley inviting you to join us again for Leading Improvements in Higher Education.