SUNY Westchester Community College was awarded a $3 million grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of students pursuing degrees in STEM at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). The project will help to further the NSF’s commitment to enhance the quality of undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
Through this grant, SUNY WCC will establish a HSI Resource Hub (HSI-Hub) that will serve as a catalyst for innovative initiatives at 14 regional SUNY and CUNY Community Colleges to enable them to more effectively serve the HSI community and its stakeholders, including the colleges and their administrators, faculty, and students. Collaborators on the project include Mentor-Connect, a project that mentors community colleges in NSF grantsmanship, and the Center for Broadening Participation in STEM from Arizona State University,
The SUNY community colleges that will participate in this program are: Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan and Westchester. The CUNY community colleges participating are: Borough of Manhattan, Bronx, Guttman, Hostos, Kingsborough, LaGuardia and Queensborough. The eleven counties served by these 14 SUNY and CUNY community colleges are home to 87.5% of all Hispanic and 79.8% of all African American New Yorkers.
This 5-year grant will enable the NY HSI-Hub to encourage and expand culturally responsive instruction and grantsmanship at these community college HSIs and emerging HSIs. Research-based instructional models and strategies will guide professional development in culturally responsive methods for college educators. The NY HSI-Hub will also support grantsmanship at participating colleges, fostering the knowledge-base and skill-set to effectively apply for, implement and comply with grants, leveraging the talent within community colleges to overcome common constraints to drive transformation. Participating schools will meet annually to share best practices and successes, which will serve as national models.
“Community Colleges are critical in launching STEM learning and careers among Hispanic and other underrepresented students,” said Dr. Belinda Miles, President of SUNY Westchester Community College. “This grant will have long-lasting and wide-ranging impact on our students and our national economy as we strive to meet the workforce needs of our 21st Century economy with a well-trained, diverse workforce.”
“As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s important to acknowledge that while the number of Hispanic students earning bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields is rising, Hispanic students remain underrepresented in STEM programs and jobs,” said SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. “By establishing the regional HSI Program Resource Hub at SUNY Westchester Community College, SUNY’s first Hispanic Serving Institution and now one of eight in the SUNY system, we are clearly communicating our commitment to increase Hispanic inclusion and student success in STEM programs. I am grateful to SUNY Westchester Community College for leading the regional effort of this program, and to our NSF partners for making this important work possible.”
“CUNY is thrilled to partner with SUNY’s Westchester Community College on this important initiative, and thankful to the NSF for their $3 million award that will advance culturally-responsive STEM teaching at our seven community colleges, all of which have large Hispanic populations,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “Ultimately, this five-year award will help make New York a global leader in creating and attracting jobs in life sciences, health care and public health, increase Latinx representation and success in STEM programs and better prepare CUNY students for jobs in these in-demand fields.”
This project is funded by the National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education (Award No. 2311235).