The University of the Virgin Islands has been awarded two grants, representing $2.3 million, to support teaching and learning in the science, technology, education and math (STEM) fields. The grants, provided through the National Science Foundation’s HBCU Undergraduate Program (HBCU-Up), will make it possible for incoming and existing UVI STEM students to prepare for graduate school, to build a strong foundation for STEM careers, and to become high school science teachers.
A $2 million grant entitled, “UVI’s Comprehensive Approach to Retention and Persistence in STEM,” will be awarded over a period of five years. This project intends to build a strong foundation for incoming UVI STEM students through activities designed to increase the pass rate in developmental courses and to increase student preparedness for calculus through UVI’s Math Behind the Science Summer Bridge Program.
Additionally, the University has been awarded $300,000, over a period of two years, for the “Noyce Capacity Building Project: STEM Teach VI.” This grant is intended to create a new teacher preparation program at UVI. Faculty in the UVI School of Education, the College of Science and Mathematics and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences have identified existing courses and established new ones to supplement the major studies of future teachers with the needed theoretical and practical STEM education training.
UVI College of Science and Mathematics faculty members Drs. Robert Stolz, Steven Greenstein, Angela Adams, Marc Boumedine, Michelle Peterson, Steven Greenstein, Angela Dikou, Linda Thomas and Camille McKayle will participate in the grants. Dr. McKayle, who is dean of the UVI College of Science and Mathematics, is excited about the effect the grants will have on STEM programs at UVI.
“Overall, we want to increase the number of students who are successful in STEM programs,” she said. “We also understand that much of the base for that success starts well before those students enter the University, and so we want to develop a program that recruits some of those STEM students into teaching, and provide them with an innovative approach that incorporates both the science and mathematics content, and the teaching aspect. We are hoping to be the first HBCU to adopt and adapt this highly successful model that began at the University of Texas at Austin.”
In 2000, the National Science Foundation (NSF) established the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program to assist HBCUs in their effort to strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and research capacity as a means to broaden participation in the Nation’s STEM workforce.
HBCU-UP provides awards to develop, implement and study innovative models and approaches for making dramatic improvements in the preparation and success of underrepresented minority students so that they may participate in STEM graduate programs and the workforce.
For further information about STEM education at UVI and the STEM Teach VI program, please contact Dr. Camille McKayle, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at 340-693-1238.