VSU Spearheads $9M Effort to Study Link Between Stem Education/Careers and Historically Black Colleges and Universities

University partners with National Science Foundation to examine success of HBCU’s in STEM.

Virginia State University is pleased to announce a partnership to study best practices that impact STEM persistence and retention at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This collaborative work is being performed by the HBCU STEM Undergraduate Success Research Center, an initiative designed to tell the story behind the disproportionate number of HBCU students who go on to receive terminal degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math. stem-news.png

As a founding partner of the center, known as “STEM-US,” Virginia State University will share the $9 million award from the National Science Foundation. The five-year grant will assist in the ultimate goal of implementing effective interventions that will increase retention across all STEM disciplines and improve graduation rates to above the national average. In doing so, STEM-US will study impactful STEM initiatives at as many as 50 HBCUs, using data-driven and theoretically framed models that consider the students’ prior background and current learning context.                                                                                                                 

The initiative is being led in-part by VSU Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dr. Cheryl Talley. As director of the Center's Analytic Hub, Dr. Talley will promote the theoretical framing for the interventions along with overseeing assessment development and data analysis obtained through partnership with the STEM-US Center’s external HBCU partners. This collaborative effort will train faculty, post-docs, graduate students, and undergraduates from various HBCU campuses on methods to study, identify, replicate and scale best practices for STEM persistence and retention. The work of the center will help to ensure that HBCUs play a leading role in revamping STEM education both locally and nationally.

"Here at Virginia State University, we stand firm in our belief that greater happens here. That means that we open doors for greater access for lifelong learners. This is just one of many objectives that we are looking to achieve with our landmark STEM-US programs," says Dr. Talley. “We are looking to open the door to the STEM field for our future Trojans and any STEM-interested minority student across the country. We want to make sure they have opportunity to be greater and have an equitable pursuit of a career in the STEM world.”

“Virginia State University is known for being home to trailblazers. This is just one of many major accomplishments our STEM disciplines have seen in recent months. From our recently renewed accreditation of our Engineering program to our partnership with Apple for coding and creativity,” said Dr. Donald E. Palm, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. “We are excited to be part of this research and any initiative that will make a difference to minority students across the country who are interested in STEM careers.”

While the Center will be housed at Morehouse College, it is also a collaborative effort between Morehouse, Spelman College and Virginia State University. Professors at all three of the HBCUs will assist in directing the research initiatives.