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September 30, 2010

Report Cites UMBC as a National Leader in Preparing African American Undergraduates to Complete Ph.D.s in the Natural Sciences and Engineering

Contact:
Anthony Lane
Communications Manager:
Science, Technology and Environment
UMBC
(410) 455-5793
alane@umbc.edu

UMBC is a national leader in efforts to prepare underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in the natural sciences and engineering, according to a new report from the National Research Council.

The congressionally mandated report notes that UMBC is among the top U.S. institutions – and the top producer among predominantly white institutions – for preparing African Americans who went on to complete doctorates in the natural sciences and engineering between 2002 and 2006.

UMBC’s Meyerhoff Scholars Program is recognized in the report as a model of the kind of program needed at universities and colleges across the country to increase the number of underrepresented minorities pursuing careers in the natural sciences and engineering. The Meyerhoff Program is a focused effort to increase diversity in the natural sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields by recruiting, supporting and graduating students who go on to doctoral study.

The report concludes that the U.S. must engage minorities at all levels of STEM education as part of efforts to sustain national leadership in these fields.

“It’s well-documented that the United States needs a strong science and technology work force to maintain global leadership and competitiveness,” said UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski, chair of the committee that produced the report. “The minds and talents of underrepresented minorities are a great untapped resource that the nation can no longer afford to squander. Improving STEM education of our diverse citizenry will strengthen the work force in these fields and boost the U.S. economy.”

The report notes that underrepresented minorities — including African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans — comprised 28.5 percent of the nation’s population in 2006, but they made up just over nine percent of the college-educated science and engineering workforce the same year. To start closing this gap, the report recommends:

• Higher education institutions should create programs that provide underrepresented minorities in STEM subjects with strong financial, academic and social support.
• K-12 STEM teachers need better preparation, and high school programs need to emphasize college readiness.
• Long-term, schools need to offer stronger programs that develop reading and mathematics skills and creativity in preschool through third grade, and strengthen the quality of K-12 mathematics and science education for underrepresented minorities.

The full report can be viewed or purchased at the website for the National Academies, http://www.nationalacademies.org/.

For more on the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, and other programs at UMBC designed to increase the number of minorities in STEM fields or improve K-12 STEM education, visit this page.

Nov. 4 video of Hrabowski speaking about the report to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

Media Coverage

New York Times editorial

Science

Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Baltimore Sun

Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC

ScienceInsider blog

BlackEngineer.com

Posted by alane at September 30, 2010 5:53 PM